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How to Save Car Culture as We Know It, Before It's Too Late

From ride-hailing to buses to bike-sharing apps, the future of car culture looks a little fragile.


Facebook: Chicago Transit Authority

Cars—can we even, amirite? Okay, enough texty meme-type talk. Through the advent of ride-sharing apps, bike-sharing programs, and expanded public transportation services around the country, American car culture is set up for a huge fall with Generations Y (ages 22-37) & Z (ages 10-21).

The car industry looks to Millennials and the generation after it to be the next potential car buyers, but with the gig economy making remote work more available and the accessibility to everything within a couple clicks or swipes, people don't really need to leave their home as much as they used to. So it begs the question, why buy a car?

But there are still reasons to get into a new or new-to-you ride, for any generation. Here's how car culture can be saved or at least receive a stay of execution.

Give Them What They Want

Cars are a benefit to anyone and everyone, that much is true. Just because someone under the age of 40 might not have a regular reason to get out of the house doesn't mean they wouldn't benefit from having a car help them out. A huge thing is fuel efficiency, and, according to USA Today, the average car and truck that will be sold by 2025 is slated to average about 55 mpg. That's great right? Well, there still needs to be a bigger push to get Millennials and Gen Z's off their phones and into a car to save the auto industry.

Recently it was reported that GM is developing a ride-sharing service for its Cadillac cars. This means that someone can own a car and rent it out during the day, like a ZipCar, and get money back. That's a huge incentive for a younger driver who wants to save a little money and basically turn their car into a business. It's still trendy, it still allows them to look at their phone (because they're not driving), and they can make some cash, like the gig economy they love aspiring to.

Tech AF

The Day reported that more than half of Millennials said they would in fact buy a car, just as long as it has some solidly trending upgrades. Even though autonomous cars are having their issues with crashing as of late, Millennial drivers and younger are up for self-driving tech in a new car. What's more, drivers of all ages are leaning on more tech-focused features including onboard computers and infotainment systems.

Personalized Sales

Heading to the dealership is not the best thing in the world. Everyone can probably attest to that. But in order to buy a car you have to go through someone or something, right? The traditional hassle of purchasing a car has been turning people away, but the advent of personalized car shopping is picking up speed.

Companies like Carvana are bringing the car to the buyer, literally, with the click of a few buttons. No hassle, no humans, no worries. What's more even local dealerships are getting into this kind of car-buying method spearheaded by a company like Tesla, which doesn't work with third-party dealerships, instead promoting a direct-to-buyer purchase opportunity.

Besides personalization and a few added features, car culture is on thin ice or at least headed that way. Car companies are finding ways to stay trendy while also churning out vehicles that are dependable. We're currently in the sit-and-wait period. Will car culture be safe, change, or just meet its demise? If car-buying does go out the window, in 25 years the roads will either look like how they were before cars were being sold or it'll look like Mad Max: Fury Road.

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