Firstly, can you live without a car?
Within Greater London, it is not uncommon to live on a car-free estate.
Move out to virtually anywhere else though and reliance on rural buses makes it impossible. Go north, and with the exception of a few city center dwellers, a car is essential.
There is no doubt that statistically less young people are driving. In the 1990’s, over 80% drove by the age of 30 whereas now this figure is more like aged 45. Men are travelling less miles per year so demand for cars will fall as use tails off.
Housing, rented or bought, is more expensive than ever, with no indication of it slowing down. Something simply has to give, so if you can forgo the second most expensive thing, the car, you will do. More miles than ever are travelled on trains, more people shop online for it to be delivered and more people work from home. But it cannot be that simple, can it?
Our experience is that demand for eco-car leasing is growing quickly with people buying into electric and hybrid cars and restricting themselves to fewer and shorter journeys.
But government statistics say that traffic has risen every year. So have the non-drivers been replaced by delivery vans? If that is the case, for all the government’s efforts to get people into public transport, the upshot has been an increase in road use and by vehicles that actually produce higher emissions than the small cars that they have replaced.
This is failure by any measure.
In the big cities, you can live without a car. That though is a small minority of the UK and cars remain vital to the bulk of us. Instead of trying to plan the car out of our future, let’s hope the government supports the eco-car industry with grants and supports for clean cars and vans.