Be it stagnating salaries, escalating prices, or interest in environmentalism, America is slowly but surely turning away from traditional car ownership. It should hardly be surprising that older generations of Americans are buying cars at higher rates — they have both the disposable income and the need for wheels — but millennials and the yet-unnamed generation younger than them (gen z, generation alpha, linksters, etc.) are not showing the same vehicle purchasing inclination. Even as millennials migrate to their late 20s and early 30s, they only claim about 28 percent of new car purchases despite comprising more than a third of the population.
The reason? Young people don’t need to own cars when they can use someone else’s.
Ride and carsharing services have taken the world by storm. In America specifically, carsharing is revolutionizing how people view the concept of transportation, encouraging most people to eschew traditional vehicle ownership in favor of options within the sharing economy. Thanks to extant and emerging technology, including smartphones and autonomous vehicles, there are more benefits to sharing a car than owning one. Here are a few other reasons carsharing should soon replace car ownership.
Compared to boomers at the same stage of life, millennials earn dramatically lower salaries. Thus, any solution that lowers their expenditures while maintaining their quality of life is advantageous.
Carsharing certainly eliminates many costs of personal transportation and significantly reduces many more, making it an ideal solution for most young city dwellers. For one, carsharing fully removes costs concerning car purchases. Additionally, drivers no longer assume the responsibility of paying for maintenance or parking, which in some densely populated cities can be exorbitant, and some carsharing services do not charge for fuel, which is another major expense.
Instead, carshare users typically pay a small monthly rate to retain access to the carshare’s fleet and an hourly rate when driving. Drivers are responsible for tolls and tickets incurred while on the road, but they would be in their own vehicles, anyway. Though exact rates vary from service to service — as well as from city to city and day to day — most investigations have found that carsharing is outrageously cheaper than personal ownership.
Most drivers prefer cars to other modes of transportation — such as buses and trains — for the sake of time. Rather than traveling to a station and waiting for transport, drivers can simply get in their cars and go. Unfortunately, it is hardly so easy. Most cities suffer extreme traffic, especially during the times of day most commuters want to go somewhere. As a result, even those who own their cars are forced to endure delays.
The solution to traffic is simple: reduce the number of cars on the road. Fortunately, carsharing accomplishes this. Several studies have shown that the introduction of carsharing programs to cities has encouraged many people to abandon car ownership, thereby alleviating many roadways of serious congestion. The reason for this is that carshare users don’t rely on sharing every time they need to move; instead, for average commutes, they opt for walking, cycling, or other transport options, and only for long-distance or unique travel do they use a car. As more people adopt carsharing, the effects on traffic will be even more pronounced — as will the health of the population and the environment.
It is undeniable that cars produce bad emissions. In cities where car traffic is heavy, the air is choked by yellow-gray smog that has severe impacts on health and well-being. In these urban environments, respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis are dramatically more common, and high concentrations of exhaust can even cause cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The more we can do to reduce emissions, the better.
Further, vehicle use is detrimental to the environment in several ways. First, emissions are an unequivocal cause of climate change: Greenhouse gases are increasing global temperatures, which is melting ice caps; changing ocean currents and wind streams; and generating more intense natural disasters, like hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes. Additionally, cars require significant environmental destruction for the building and maintenance of roads, parking structures, and manufacturing plants. The fewer cars there are, the better.
Carsharing accomplishes both of these goals, and it assists in improving global health in additional ways. For example, many carshare users use more physical means of transportation, such as walking and cycling, which strengthens their bodies. Plus, carsharing fleets can adopt emerging green vehicle technologies sooner, thereby advancing a greater number of vehicles sooner than personal owners would be able to.
All-around, carsharing seems like a more logical choice than traditional vehicle ownership, which is why millennials and younger generations are choosing this option in droves.