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Young Americans Reportedly Buying Fewer Cars

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Leave it to CNN to ask the questions that are really important and gripping the nation. For example, why aren’t more young people buying cars?

According to a CNN report, young people, age 18-34, are buying fewer new cars. Reports show that new car ownership among the younger set has decreased by 30% in the last five years. But the “reasons” they’ve come up with for the decline are completely bogus.

Some say the economy is mostly to blame — that the young aren’t buying because they’ve been particularly hard hit by the recession.

But others say the trend could be part of larger social shifts.

One reason is demographic: The re-urbanization of America is giving more people access to public transportation. The advent of Zipcar and other car-on-demand businesses is eliminating the need to own and insure an expensive vehicle that often isn’t driven much.

But mostly it’s the explosion of social media. Car ownership just may not be as socially important as it used to be. “What we used to do in cars, young people are now doing online,” said one analyst at a recent oil conference.

The ability to meet and interact with people on the Internet is largely replacing the need to hop in a car and cruise down the strip.

OK, you lost me at the “social media is making kids not buy cars” nonsense. There is no amount of social media that can replace kids getting together and meeting their friends face-to-face. I’d still drive 50 miles outside of town to meet with my best friend, even though we both have Facebook and Skype and all those other “social media” outlet.

The REAL reason young people aren’t buying cars is simple: they can’t find jobs to pay for a new car. The job market is still horrible, particularly for recent college grads and the “younger” set. It’s getting tougher and tougher for people fresh out of college to get a decent job, even with a Master’s degree. So iIs it really such a big shock that they aren’t buying cars right now?

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