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Reasons People Put Off Owning Cars


It has been reported that around 95% of US households own at least one car – certainly an impressive figure. However, not everyone does own a car and there are quite a few reasons why someone might either be reluctant to get one or be put off owning one altogether. For instance, the cost of things such as car insurance, gas and car maintenance can add up and, when you consider that the cost of running a car is somewhere around $7000 a year, you can see why running a vehicle is such a big commitment.

So, what are some of the reasons people are put off owning cars?


As mentioned above, $7000 is a lot of money and many people simply don’t have that amount of cash to spare. It’s thought that the average American spends around 15% of their total income on transportation, much of that on cars and the costs associated with driving. It’s certainly fair to say that the costs of motoring are enough to put people off; gas prices seem to be on a general upward trend and with many people struggling to get by in a difficult economic climate, owning a car is understandably not always the highest of priorities.

The environment

Of course, some people make a specific decision not to drive a car because they don’t like the impact it has on the environment. The vast majority of journeys in the US involve a car – even journeys short enough that really, we could probably walk the distance without any trouble – and the impact of this adds up. It’s thought that most ozone pollution is caused by motor vehicles and so being a conscientious objector is something that some people take very seriously.


It’s safe to say that cars can be complicated. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to buying one. If you’re someone who owns a car, you’ll be familiar with all the administration and issues that go along with it. For instance, as well as buying the car and taking care of all the associated paperwork, you also need to think of issues such as car insurance. You’re required by law to have this and it is definitely worthwhile having, but how do you know which insurance to get?

For example, which insurance company should you choose? How comprehensive does your cover need to be? How do you know if you’re getting a good deal on your quotes? As well as all this, there’s also the small matter of choosing the car itself. Unless you’re mega clued up on motoring issues, it can often be something of a baffling process.

However, despite all these valid reasons for being put off car ownership, the fact is that most of us will own one at some point in our lives. They’re just so useful, aren’t they? So, getting the best possible deals on our cars is definitely worth it. Shop around for things like car insurance to make sure you get good value for money and, if you’re concerned about the environment, have a look at hybrid cars to see how you could reduce your carbon footprint. It could make a big difference.

How many cars do you own? Have you ever considered doing wthout one of them?

This has been a guest post from James. I hope you enjoyed it!

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Hey James. My wife needs a car to get back and from work but hates to do it. Actually she might just hate work and love the car. 🙂

  2. We own 3 cars. We both need our own car, and the third car is a classic and is going up in value by a lot. We bought it at around $4K (2.5 years ago) and it’s now worth nearly $20K. So we’re keeping it as a nice little investment and a splurge item.

    • Nice job on investing in that 3rd car! I typically would advise against “investing” in a car, but that growth from 4k to 20k is huge! Congrats on a great decision.

  3. I take public transit to work but it’s a practical decision, not an ideological one. Cars have been a massive benefit overall, though one can question the wisdom of the government subsidization of free highways and streets.

    • Practicality is always a good reason to do things. I kind of which I had an option to take the train or something, but we don’t live in a big city, so it’s just not a possibility. I bet you save a ton of money since you don’t have to pay for vehicle maintenance, insurance, or gas!

  4. Not currently, but that’s because I don’t need it. But I’ve owned a few. Mainly they helped me do my job (delivery and such). So in that regard, it always was seen as a tool to own one. Oh, and the first car I owned made it all the way through college across the state (independence and all).

    • Yeah, I guess having a car would be pretty essential when it comes to delivery. Sounds like you’re a pretty logical guy – I bet you’re doing just fine for yourself. 🙂

  5. We own two cars, but could probably get by with one since we live 1/2 block from where I work and my wife runs her flower business out of the house. But, since both vehicles are paid for, I will keep my ’78 Chevy Flatbed truck – it’s a fun one to drive and is used to pick stuff up and drop things off:).

    • I don’t think two cars are too many, especially in you have a bunch of kids!

  6. I own 2 cars, but would love to give one up. I hope to have just one car in retirement.

    • When I retire, I would plan to have one car as well. It’s just the cheapest way to go!

  7. We own 2 cars, because my wife I and work at different jobs and at different times. Plus there is no public transportation here.

    Cars are expensive to own, I wish we could do with just one car! 🙂

    • Yep, sounds a lot like our situation. I wish I could go back to owning one car too!!

  8. Dave & I have shared his 2001 Honda Accord going on 2 years now. We chose the apartment we currently live in because it’s next door to Dave’s work so he just walks 5 minutes and he’s there! I never thought this would be possible, but we’ve got the gym, 2 grocery stores, the library, and our bank all within 0.5 miles. I commute 40 min to Detroit about 8x/month for my job at a hospital and I just got a job offer today to work as a Dietitian part time for the health department, so now I get to work closer to home too! My dad fixes up cars for fun so I got a saab convertible for my birthday, but we sold it to pay off student loans because it was so unnecessary (dad was proud of our decision, not offended). it was also weird asking “which car should we drive today?”) It will be weird down the road if we get 2 cars.

    • I love the comment Jessica! It’s awesome driving just one car isn’t it? We have two right now, but if it becomes a possibility in the future, I could see us owning just one again. It’s much cheaper that way!

  9. I live in the most car-loving city of all (LA) and my husband and I only own one car. Thankfully, I ride my bike a lot and he works from home so we really don’t need an additional vehicle very often. I’m also happy to say we just paid off our car in full, so the costs now boil down to just fuel, maintenance, and registration. Whoo hoo! I think we’ll stay a one-car family for a while. 😉

    • That’s awesome that you can be a one car family. Hold onto that life as long as you can! 🙂

  10. We currently have two cars and we will keep them so that we have mobility once we have a family. However, we are working on driving them less. We currently car pool to work and are looking to bike and take the train in the spring once it’s ready here. We also try to walk to places when we can. Where I live winters can get really cold, like -40 so a car is sometimes a safety measure.

    • Carpooling is a great idea Miss T! I work at a large company, so there must be someone that lives by me! I’ll have to look into that.

  11. I will be selling my vehicle in April and won’t purchase a new one for…well, as long as I can put it off, really. To ensure that this will be possible, I’ve been walking to work a few times a week. It is astonishing how many people find this strange. Especially since I live less than a mile from work and there’s a grocery store across the street from that!
    That being said, I probably wouldn’t go without a vehicle for any amount of time if I didn’t have a boyfriend with a vehicle that I can use to take trips to see family or to make a large grocery run.

    • Being without a car completely could be tough, but think about the savings! It would be huge! Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

  12. We have three (count ’em…three) cars. Once my two children leave home in 18 months, we’ll be down to two. At that point, there’s a good chance we could drop down to one….

    • Sounds like you have some nice financial savings on the way! 🙂

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