When I moved to Thailand seven years ago, I sold my car and haven’t owned one since. Now, new studies show Generation Y, the generation of young people under age 30, isn’t buying cars either – in record numbers. Unlike older Americans, Generation Yers don’t buy as many cars and don’t even drive that much. For many reasons, Generation Yers, like myself, see cars more as a negative than a positive – something to avoid purchasing at all costs. If you too are considering not buying a car, or selling the car you already have, here are the main reasons I, and many Generation Yers, believe are the best ones for not buying a car.
Cars Are Too Expensive – When I lived in the US, with a car payment, car insurance, gas, maintenance and cleaning, I spent more than $650 a month on my car. $650 I could have put to better use. In Thailand, where I now live, my transportation costs are around $100 a month. That includes taking taxis to most of my destinations, using the sky train and underground, and with an occasional motorcycle taxi ride thrown in.
Even in the United States, if you use public transportation, your costs would be a fraction of what you spend on owning a car. Cars depreciate the minute you drive them off the lot and, with the hundreds of dollars you pump into them every month, they are a waste of money.
You Waste Time Driving Cars – I spend most of my time in taxis or on public transportation. That’s time that, if I owned a car, I would waste sitting behind its wheel, often in major traffic jams. Now, even if I’m in a traffic jam in a taxi in Bangkok, I spend my time reading a book, talking to my friends on the phone, or working on my netbook writing more articles – all things I couldn’t do if I was driving. I also don’t waste time having to clean my car, put gas in it, or sit in a garage waiting room while it gets its six-monthly tune-up.
The amount of time I save every day, that I spend doing things I enjoy while I let the taxi driver deal with the traffic and the resultant stress, is time I would never have if I owned a car. It’s also a huge reason for me not to buy a car ever again.
Generation Yers too are realizing the same thing. They would rather spend time and money on public transportation, where they can enjoy reading a book, catching up on work or using their PDA, rather than waste time and money behind the wheel of a car in traffic.
Cars Cause Pollution – One of the biggest reasons Generation Yers aren’t buying cars is because cars are one of the largest contributors of pollution on the planet. People all over the world put pollutants into the air simply by driving their cars, often going to places they could walk to if they didn’t insist on driving their cars.
I walk to many places around Bangkok, places I would probably drive to if I had a car. Walking there instead gives me a great opportunity for exercise as well as a time to notice what’s going on around me. All while saving money on gas and not adding to the world’s horrendous pollution problem.
Money Spent on a Car Can Be Spent On Better Things – Since I stopped spending over $650 a month on a car, I have more disposable income to do other things. I’ve also noticed, my friends who own cars always seem to have much less money than I do, even if they’re making the same amount.
The money I spent on my car every month in the US was around $8,000 a year. Even deducting the $100 I currently spend on public transportation, that still leaves me with $6,800 a year more than I had when I was a car owner. That extra money now goes to my retirement fund (around $4,000 a year) and the other $2,800 is spent on trips to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Europe or the USA.
In today’s economy, where everyone is trying to save money, unless you absolutely have to have a car for your job or for a large family, in many instance it makes no sense to own one. So many Generation Yers now are showing how smart they are by choosing not to buy a car, let’s hope people from other generations follow their lead. You’ll have more money, a lot more time and the planet will have less pollution. All good reasons to embrace a car-less lifestyle. Believe me, you’ll love it.
Generation Y Giving Cars a Pass – Yahoo