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NEW YORK (
MainStreet) -- Zachary Gayle, an unemployed 18-year-old in New York City, says he doesn't have enough money to buy a car--not that he's bothered by the fact.
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"If I had the funds, I would not get a car," he said. "A car is, like, the worst thing you can invest in. You buy it, and it just loses value immediately after you drive it off of the lot...I'm not going to buy a car, probably ever."
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A third of all licensed drivers in the U.S. were under 30 in 1983, a figure that's dropped to 22% today despite the 80 million strong Millennial population, according to University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. Even the miles driven plummeted: those between 16 and 34 years old averaged 10,300 miles annually as recently as 2001, a figure that dropped to 7,900 annually come 2009. And forget about teens: whereas 69% of 17-year-olds were licensed back in 1983, only 50% were in 2008.
The initial sunk cost is not chump change: driver's education, once free, now costs between $200 and $800, and to add a teenage driver onto your insurance policy can cost upwards of $2,500 a year--not to mention the $30,000 average for a new car. But that hefty premium alone can't explain this pattern of Millennials who are balking at the prospect of driving.
Social Media Transportation
One contributing factor to this trend stems from the fact that 41% of Millennials in the U.S. want to live in cities, where public transportation and bike sharing programs reduce the need for a personal automobile. What's more, people are able to connect through social media instead of in-person, making the acquisition of the car less a rite of passage.
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