Can one have too many cars? Well, as a used car dealer my knee jerk reaction is…, never! I mean I have around 20-30 at all times and seldom drive the same one two days in a row, it’s great! Ok, I get that I might possibly be a little tiny bit bias but still, is that something that people are concerned with? Should we be considering the risks of owning too many cars or is there even such a thing?
It’s easy to imagine that most people own 2, maybe 3 cars each, considering the variety of styles available, and the level of importance most Americans place on their automobiles. However, the peak amount of cars per household in 2006 was only about 2.05. That number correlates roughly with the economy’s highs and lows as you might expect and the recession of the late 2000’s created a bottomless pit decaying into 2010 bringing that number down to a little over 1.8. The lasting effects of this were pedestrians choosing public transportation and carpooling over driving, some ultimately relocating to cities where no personal transportation was even necessary. Some of you here in Hampton Roads may remember the “big move” to northern Virginia beginning around 2012. Also, generation Y (millennials) who as consumers showed much less interest in car ownership due to conservation concerns and affordability also helped drive the percentage of car owners down.
This all makes perfect sense and predictably, these numbers have rebounded with the economy’s upward climb. However, there are some noticeable behavioral changes in the average car buyer. Americans today have fewer light-duty vehicles, drive less, and are consuming less fuel. Hmmm, more car but less motoring over all tells me we’re onto something. We want our cars to last, we want comfort and convenience and saving money is higher than ever on our priority list. Once bitten twice shy? You could say that car enthusiasts today are justifiably more discriminating. The economy, fuel prices, and the negatives of consumption are great teachers. In addition to a greater economy, many of those Gen Y millennials are in their 30’s now. They’re getting older and at a stage in life where salaries are higher and guess what… kids are on the way! The percentage of car owning millennials has gone from 14 to over 29. The fact is we need transportation and though specific demographics are bound to hoof it and others will take trains and busses, the majority of Americans love their cars.
So what do the studies say? The total number of cars per household falls naturally around 2, going up slightly as kids reach adulthood and prepare to leave the nest. What we also know is that heavier duty vehicles are more popular and that car owners are spending more responsibly using less fuel, and driving shorter distances. So how many cars are cool you ask? Well, look in your driveway… that’s about right 🙂
Schmitz, Matt. “How many cars does the average American own?” CARS.COM CARS.com. 15 March 2017. Web. 8, 20,2018 https://www.cars.com/articles/how-many-cars-does-the-average-american-own-1420694459157/