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Can You Live Without a Privately Owned Car?

Certain things make up the rites of passage into adulthood. Your first real boyfriend/girlfriend. Shaving because you need to shave. Things like that. However, no rite is more profound than buying your first car! So, it surprised us to learn that Gen Z-ers (and even some Millennials) are pondering another path. They say the numbers don’t add up. Are they right? Money Examiners looks at the pros and cons of life without a personal vehicle.

Pro #1: Obvious Savings: Factoring the national average car payment of $326 a year, insurance premiums, registration, gas, and upkeep, a car costs $7,500 a year. Gen Z pays higher insurance rates due to their age. If cost was the sole criteria, we should all dump the car.

Con #1: Building and Repairing Credit: The best route to good credit getting started or better credit if life goes awry is a successful car loan. No other method is faster or more effective.

Pro #2: Rideshare Rewards: In 2016, Uber started “UberVIP.” That requires ten rides in a 30-day span while maintaining high ratings. (Uber drivers rate passengers, and vice versa.) Once there, for everyday Uber prices, you’re in an “UberVIP!” It’s Uber’s highest-rated pilots in a nicer vehicle.

Con #2: Dependability Matters: What if Lyft or Uber raise rates? Or, what if your passenger rating falls and drivers turn you down? Then, your car sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

Pro #3: It is Safer to Ride: Be honest. You’ve texted at a red light. Heck, I know one guy who texts with one hand and eats a burger with the other. You’re safer in a rideshare than driving next to such a lunatic.

Con #3: Distance Issues: Lyft’s maximum range is 60 miles, while Uber asks you to declare the trip length in advance, making it harder to get a driver. Your car loves going 120 miles to In ‘N Out for lunch.

Pro #4: Your Productivity Will Soar: Meet my friend, Max. When he took his car to work Max listened to music while the landscape rolled past. With Uber-commute, he adds 500 productive minutes to his week. Sometimes Max chooses to not work in the car. Instead, he relaxes as the landscape rolls past. But, he gets to the office prepared for his day, arriving home rested. Max wishes he had long ago started living without his car.

Con #4: The Benefit of Solitude: Maybe you cherish alone time on the way to work. Perhaps the ride home is your time processing that a co-worker is more a bully than a friend. Or, the solitude in your own vehicle can be where you plan a return trip to a special romantic vacation. Yeahhhh…

Pro #5: It Pops a Bubble That Needs Popping: We’ve become an isolated society while connecting with thousands on social media. It’s troublesome, psychologically. In a rideshare, you’ll meet interesting people for face-to-face interaction. That may be just what you are missing. So, living without a private car fulfills yet another need, and one you didn’t even know about.

Con #5: Maybe You Enjoy Driving: Going forward, this one may settle the matter. If you really like to drive, getting rid of the privately owned car might not be an option. Oh, you can purchase a handful of Lyft, bus, and plane tickets with that $7,500 annually. Perhaps though, when you start up that V-8, just hearing the throaty rumble returns you to the days of your own emerging adulthood.

Five pros and five cons mean there isn’t a universally right answer to this question. But, you will discover the right answer for you.