National Reading Month (& Why People Aren't Owning Cars)

Mar 05, 2015
Budgeting, Financial Literacy, Purchase Decisions, Article

Hey there, it’s Jessica from NGPF. While most all of our blog posts are written by Tim, I’m doing a special series during the month of March for National Reading Month! I’m a few days late to the party, but each day I’ll do a quick write-up of one of my favorite nonfiction personal finance articles from our curriculum. Without further ado…

4 Big Reasons People Are Giving Up Cars

What is it? After sharing some historical statistics on car ownership in the US, author Micheline Maynard describes the top four reasons Americans give for not owning cars.

Why is it cool? I like this article because every time we’ve done our Salary-Based Budget activity with students, they’re overwhelmed by how expensive car ownership is. Even when they’re choosing to buy an inexpensive used car in cash, there’s still gas, insurance, and maintenance, which can quickly add up against a starting salary. This article opens the possibility of going car-free, as nearly 1 in 10 US households currently does.

Questions I Might Ask: 

  1. For comprehension:
    • How does the most recent percentage of car-free families compare to the all-time low?
    • What are the top four reasons people are going without cars?
    • How does car ownership change with population density? Why might that be the case?
  2. To personally connect:
    • How many cars does your family own? How does it impact the way your family travels?
    • When you’re an independent adult, do you anticipate owning a car? Why or why not?
  3. To bring in outside knowledge:
    • What car-free alternatives exist right now?
    • How do you decide whether car ownership is a good financial decision?

Where is it in the NGPF collection? It’s resource 4 in “The Cost of Commuting” in our Budgeting unit.

About the Author

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.