Survey: More Americans Questioning Car Ownership

More Americans are wondering if car ownership is necessary, according to a new survey released by Zipcar, a car-sharing network, and conducted by Wakefield Research.

According to the survey, monthly car payments near record numbers, interest rates at the highest level in nearly 15 years, and the financial burdens of gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance are leading to the growing concern over car ownership.

“The traditional American idea of owning a car – receiving the gift of new keys at 16, as a graduation surprise, or to drive around a city – is dead,” said Angelo Adams, head of Zipcar. “Car owners are feeling the stress of car ownership and are increasingly adopting affordable transportation options easily accessible at their fingertips. Why waste time and money on a car that sits unused and parked most of the time?”

While each generation envisions decreasing car ownership in the future, having access to a vehicle is still critical: nearly all Americans (95%) depend on a car at least sometimes, including more than 4-in-5 (84%) who depend on one often or all the time. Nearly as many college students (93%) say the same.

And yet, 45% of Gen Z and 51% of Millennials are more eager to go car-free than Gen X (28%) and Boomers (21%). Almost half of college students (45%) say they would be at least somewhat likely to go without a vehicle by 2030, and nearly 3 in 5 (59%) already know someone in a similar situation who travels fine without owning a car, the survey said.

Additionally, almost a third of adults (31%) believe owning a car isn’t necessary to get where they want to go, and 16% would rather have sustainable, on-demand travel options than a personal car, including 29% of Gen Z and 20% of Millennials.

The survey also found that many believe cities should also limit personal vehicles: more than a third say cities should ban private cars in some areas. Gen Z (49%) and Millennials (45%) are more likely to say cities should ban private cars in some areas than Gen X (31%) and Boomers (27%). In comparison, some (6%) want to ban private cars from cities altogether, decreasing congestion, carbon emissions, and parking competition.

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at

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