Driving—that iconic American pastime—is less important to young people than ever, according to a survey by Zipcar. In fact, people aged 18-34 would sooner give up their cars than their cell phones or computers.
Why is the Millennial generation abandoning the automobile? Most (80 percent) say paying for gas, maintenance and parking is too tough on their wallets. They have environmental concerns as well—44 percent are actively trying to reduce how much they drive.
The study correlates Internet access with driving less. Young people are more likely than other age groups to use mobile phones and computers to shop and socialize without leaving home. When they do go out, the availability of ride-sharing, car-sharing and public transit means they drive less. A quarter of Millennials have reduced their driving frequency thanks to smartphone apps that can tell them when the next bus is coming or where the closest shared vehicle is.
Zipcar primarily surveyed licensed drivers, but that group is also dwindling. The New York Times reports the number of 18-year-olds with a driver’s licenses has also dropped off. “Whether members of the Millennial generation will start buying more cars once they have kids to take to soccer practice and school plays remains an open question,” the article says.