“It’s a matter of mind-set far more than affordability,” says William Draves, president of Learning Resources Network, an association that studies consumer trends and provides education and training services.
“This generation focuses its buying on computers, BlackBerrys, music and software and views commuting a few hours by car a huge productivity waste when they can work using PDAs while taking the bus and train,” says Draves.
Moreover, in survey after survey, Gen Yers say that they believe cars are damaging to the environment. Even hybrid electric vehicles don’t seem to be changing young consumers’ attitudes much.
Living in China, I see my neighbors craving their first car, saving and borrowing heavily to buy as soon as they can. Then they sit in traffic for hours when their old bicycles would serve as more practical transportation. The car as status symbol is alive and well here.
Though I have a typically American love of cars, I have found that living without one really simplifies one’s life and certainly costs less. I am glad to see some of the US is becoming a practical place to live without a car, and I hope China will soon get back to their bicycle culture.