Young Americans are driving less than their elders. According to a US study, millennials are waiting longer to get their driver's licenses, while some are choosing not to drive altogether. Particularly those who live in large cities.
Will the practice of having a car disappear as the younger generations reach adulthood? While this hypothesis seems unlikely, young people from the generation of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are less likely to own a car than individuals belonging to Generation X (1965 to 1980), according to a new study conducted in the United States.
According to the research, young people born after the 1980s drive 8% less than Generation X and 9% less than those born between 1956 and 1964 (Baby Boomers). Based on data from eight national surveys, the study followed several participants divided into three age groups and counted their daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) over time.
There are several reasons for this diminishing attraction to steering wheels and pedals. For example, cars are no longer always considered indispensable for fulfilling professional and personal obligations. As one might expect, this is especially the case among young people living in large cities.
As a result, young urbanites prefer public transportation or active modes of getting around such as walking and biking over driving. According to the study, the average daily vehicle mileage of an American living in an urban area is 38% lower than that of people living outside cities.
"Public policies should be designed to nurture the shifting trend of reduced automobility from the older to the younger generations," the study concludes. The research does not mention any ecological reasons for this diminishing interest in cars, but it can be suggested that the desire to reduce one's carbon footprint and to pollute less also weighs in the balance.
While "car culture" in the US remains strong, this huge difference between the generations already goes back a few years, as several US surveys conducted from 2012 to the present have shown.