New transportation alternatives have made it easier than ever to not own a car, but for some households that’s just not an option. People living in rural areas have fewer choices for public transportation and depend on personal car ownership. Still, one of the transportation industry’s biggest names believes that even if every house can’t kick the car habit, they can at least kick the multiple car habit. One of Lyft’s co-founders John Zimmer sat down at the CES 2018 technology trade show this week to discuss his plans for the company and his vision of the future. According to Zimmer, the age of multi-car households could soon some to an end. Ride sharing apps have become many people’s sole source of car-based transportation.
Zimmer recently told The Verge that in light of ride sharing apps like Lyft, not only are more and more people are turning away from cars entirely, other households are cutting back to just one car:
Americans are moving away from car ownership. And so the fact that we’re seeing these types of statistics I think is very encouraging, and I will be encouraging people to ask themselves: ‘Do we really need that second car?’ This is a pretty large behavior change.
To help facilitate that process, the ride-sharing app is introducing a new service called Lyft Line which enables multiple commuters headed in the same direction to ride together at a reduced rate. The company hopes this can encourage more car commuters to ditch their cars in favor of money-and-Earth-saving ride sharing.
According to Zimmer, Lyft’s proprietary data indicates a growing number of Americans no longer see the need to own a vehicle. In 2017 alone, almost 250,000 Lyft users were able to shed a vehicle thanks to ride-sharing apps, while half of all Lyft users reported using their personal cars less thanks to Lyft. A quarter of all Lyft passengers also said that owning a vehicle is less important to them these days.
Zimmer also added that he average American household spends around $9000 a year on each of their vehicles (NerdWallet pegs the number at $8,469 per year) — so if you have two vehicles, you could be shelling out close to $20,000 each year just on the costs of owning those cars.
“You know the average American household spends $9,000 per year per vehicle. But most people just think about their $200 car payment.”
Given that wages are stagnating, it’s easy to see why more and more Americans aren’t buying cars. If every two-car household in America cut back to just one car, those households would save a combined $1 trillion on car expenses in one year. Is cutting back to one car and getting creative with our commutes the way to pull millennials out of the crushing debt slavery our generation has been burdened with?