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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    New Study Shows Zero-Car Families Are On The Rise

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    October 9, 2013

    Don't own a vehicle? You are not alone. In fact, the number of people who don't own a vehicle is increasing.

    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released a brief that states the number of American households that don't own a vehicle has seen a uptick. Starting in 1960, the number of households that didn't own a vehicle declined steadily, reaching a low of 8.7 percent in 2007. But since that time, the share has been rising. In 2011, the latest year for which data is available, the share had risen to 9.3 percent.

    While the economic fallout from the recession plays a key role, authors of the brief say there are other factors in play.

    "Changes in alternatives to travel, such as communication substituting for travel and renewed interest in and availability of options such as transit, bike and walk, helped dampen interest in expanding auto ownership," the brief stated.

    This correlates to data released back in February by Federal Highway Administration which showed the number of vehicle miles traveled peaked in the U.S. in 2004. Since then, the number of vehicle miles traveled has declined steadily.

    Another factor in play is persistent narrative that Millennials don't own vehicles since they cannot afford one.

    Source: AASHTO, Aol Autos

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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    Interesting story, I think the fall in ownership is due to the crazy prices for Gas, Cost of a car, Insurance and people willing to live like a sardine in congested cities. Yet for those that live active life's you will find a car is a necessity.

    I would be wanting to know where this trend really is, east coast, west coast, mid west? I think some areas are for sure seeing a decline in ownership and yet other areas are not. I think that would play a significant roll in the accuracy of this study.

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    ah, to be held hostage by transit. yet, the cost of a vehicle is exhorbitant. the system gets engineered that way so you pay hard for your freedom. And if you don't get a car you still pay. Transit fees ain't cheap either. Once they get people hooked on that they can jack the price of that up but then subsidize it for a select group.

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    Interesting story, I think the fall in ownership is due to the crazy prices for Gas, Cost of a car, Insurance and people willing to live like a sardine in congested cities. Yet for those that live active life's you will find a car is a necessity.

    I would be wanting to know where this trend really is, east coast, west coast, mid west? I think some areas are for sure seeing a decline in ownership and yet other areas are not. I think that would play a significant roll in the accuracy of this study.

    Pretty much....we now have the highest insurance rates in the US here...makes you rethink more cars quick. Though the cost of ownership has gone through the roof...many of us pay twice (maybe even three) times more than we did a few years ago...

    I'd bet this fact alone has much to do with it....

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    I would bet in many urban areas it is a big factor when you combine it with the other high expenses involved in living in the city. If you can walk to work, or take a 40 minute ride on transit to work, then why pay $200 a month on insurance for a car you only drive once a week? Especially with services like Zip car and its competitors. My wife's car just gathers dust since we've moved across the street from the subway station. Such a waste of money and depreciation expense.

    Interesting side question: are insurance rates killing car ownership rates?

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    Interesting side question: are insurance rates killing car ownership rates?

    we insure 2 cars full coverage 250 deductible for 120 bucks a month at state farm. but, we have been incident and ticket free for the most part. same co. for 25 years or so. to me, that is not bad, especially in comparison to fuel, car payments and maintenance.

    when i was selling, we had to make sure insurance was set up before the car is delivered. teens and the under 25 set are getting hit hard. Maybe rightfully so because of bambi texting and driving, and in general a lot of teens not having to much clue how to drive......the insurance company should be able to charge a rate commensurate with the risk. But still, 200/mo to insure some of these folks........too much. Especially since you can't just get a 1000 dollar beater to reliably drive any more. It's 3,4,5 thou for a decent beater or minimum 200-250 car payments if you can get credit for an already ancient car.

    Our two car payments are 600/mo total. gas is amounting to 5-600 a month now with me putting 25k miles a year on. Running one car for a lot of folks, gas plus car payment plus insurance is like 700 a month. For some, they have to pay for parking too. That's too much.

    Your gas bill used to be much less than your car payment. SOme people now even with average driving, gas is 3-4 hundred a month.

    Of course, 30k for an average car is ridiculous. So is having 40k student loans upon leaving college. As is health care premiums, etc.

    Something has to give, cars are giving for a lot of folks. There is almost no cheap way to drive anymore. And don't say bikes. They don't work in blizzards.

    I would bet in many urban areas it is a big factor when you combine it with the other high expenses involved in living in the city. If you can walk to work, or take a 40 minute ride on transit to work, then why pay $200 a month on insurance for a car you only drive once a week? Especially with services like Zip car and its competitors. My wife's car just gathers dust since we've moved across the street from the subway station. Such a waste of money and depreciation expense.

    Interesting side question: are insurance rates killing car ownership rates?

    to me, if you have a big transit bill, then it is tough to also make that car payment.

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    I have found staying with the same insurance company for a long time actually does not help you in getting cheaper rates, I have found changing companies and having them compete against each other has allowed me to keep strong solid insurance with very low rates. Right now I am in year 4 at Costco and their Ameriprise Insurance beats everyone else when I go and get quotes.

    For 4 SUV's, I am paying just about 600 a month, I suggest you shop around as I think you can get cheaper insurance especially once you taking other factors into account like also covering your home insurance or if renting, renters insurance.

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    We found the same thing actually. When we went to add the Encore to our policy, the net result was going to be $2400 a year. That is too much for a 31 year old car, a 10 year old paid off crossover, and a new crossover. It was his policy and he had been with them for 9 years... I switched us to Allstate, who our house and rental properties are insured through, and cut that down to $1100 a year. We pay the 6-month bill in full for an additional discount, but less than $100 a month to cover 3 cars was fine with me.

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