Study: 1 in 5 young car owners think owning a car is wasteful

October 14, 2022

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At Bolt, we’re on a mission to fight for better cities and against private cars by offering a better alternative to every purpose a private car serves.

Our first City Vision research study in Berlin showed that a 7% drop in private vehicles in the German capital would open up 8.2 km2 of accessible public space — equal to 3.5 Tiergarten parks. 

We’re not anti-car; we’re just pro-people 

The majority of car trips are made alone, and private cars are only used 4% of the time. That’s why we believe that everyone doesn’t need to own a car. And our latest research in the UK proved that we’re not the only ones. 

We commissioned a One Poll survey of 1,500 UK car owners aged 18–39 about their transport choices and views on private car ownership. Here’s what we found out: 

Over half don’t depend on private cars 

28% of those surveyed said they’d give up their car if alternative modes of transport improved and there was a wider availability of car clubs, e-scooters, and e-bikes. This correlates with the fact that 55% of respondents believe having a car is useful for occasional access but don’t depend on it. 

And finally, 21% of those surveyed think owning a car is wasteful and should be discouraged by governments. 

Affordability and convenience deemed most important

In the study, we asked what was most important when making transport choices. Affordability (55%), convenience (54%), and safety (51%) came out on top. 

The findings show that many car owners are considering whether a private car makes financial sense, with 34% revealing that the rising cost of living could push them towards giving up their cars. 

What people say across regions 

Sustainability is the most important factor when making transport choices for those in the East Midlands (70%) compared to the national average of 48%. People from Scotland would most likely give up their private car due to the environmental impact (35%) than any other region, closely followed by the North East (28%). 

People from the East of England are most dependent on their private car (72%) but would consider giving it up more than any other region. On the other hand, people from the South West are the least dependent on their vehicles (24%).  

Rising petrol costs are a huge concern 

British car owners aged 35–39 are the least dependent on their private car (32%), but say that rising petrol costs would be the biggest reason to give it up. 

The group most dependent on private cars were 18-23 years old (49%). They were also the least worried about affordability compared to any other age group (45%). 

And lastly, those aged 24–29 have considered giving up their private car in the last year (9%) more than any other age group. 

An alternative to private car ownership

We believe in a world with fewer private cars on the road, fewer parking spaces, and less pollution to make our cities more liveable. 

See our other research on transport and mobility in the UK and our first City Vision Research for more insights on how we’re making this a reality.

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