December 22, 2015

"But America’s much-sung-about love affair with the automobile has grown cold...."

"Personal-vehicle ownership isn’t going away. Some people will own and cherish cars. But those people and their cars will be considered classics.... Twenty-five years from now, the only people still owning cars will be hobbyists, hot rodders and Flat Earth dissenters. Everyone else will be happy to share."

Do you think sharing is the future?

77 comments:

Char Char Binks said...

I'd have no car at all if I could manage to do without it, and I'd be happy.

MathMom said...

Not gonna read this, because it is probably written by someone who lives where there is dense housing and mass transit. I grew up in Idaho, my husband in Nebraska, we live in Texas. You have a car, or you don't have a life, in any of these places. And sharing is nice, if you want to...but not everyone is going to put in time at the community garden then go their workday at the co-op.

Will Cate said...

I'm not believing that for a moment.

Tank said...

Mostly, no.

john mosby said...

I don't really understand how car sharing will significantly reduce the number of cars used for commuting. You have n people commuting during a given day, and because of the time/distance factors involved, you pretty much need n separate cars, whether they are owned by the commuters or by a car-sharing firm. Even with a modern spread-out rush hour, you might have one guy leaving Melville LI for the city at 5 am, but how is that car going to get back out the LIE for the guy who leaves at 7:30? And most major metro areas don't have 3 equally-sized shifts, so having the graveyard guy drive the car back isn't really a plan....

JSM

PatHMV said...

These people fundamentally don't understand human nature. There will always be a large segment of the population that wants more elbow room, more freedom from their busybody neighbors.

The people who write articles like this, who think like this, seem to believe in far more homogeneity among the human race than their penchant for "diversity" would lead you to think. They want to force everybody to be the same, or at least believe that there is some one single ideal way of life to which we all must or will strive, other than perhaps a few outliers. That's just not the case.

khesanh0802 said...

A big load of "horse puckey', clearly written by someone who lives in an urban area. How many people are going to be sharing rides from Madison to Peawaukee on any given day; and since when have Americans (in general) been willing to give up their autonomy? This is similar to all the great plans for urban renewal that never, ever happen.

Jake said...

No.

David said...

"Do you think sharing is the the future?"

Not for me.

rhhardin said...

Bicycling is the future. My 2yo Yaris has 500 miles on it. My bicycle in the same period has 16,000 miles.

alan markus said...

15 years ago we were being told that at some future time we would all be living in gated communities., that the "haves" and the "have nots" would live in separate worlds.

FleetUSA said...

Sounds like a good subject for a special AA wacky poll.

Mark Langsdorf said...

Even living in an urban area, I wouldn't want to share a car. The person who had the car last could have had any number of disgusting habits, from smoking to changing their baby in the back seat to littering it with the stinky fast food left overs. Shared cars are going to be tragedy of the commons.

The other problem with car sharing is I hope to retire out to the countryside, and waiting 30 minutes for a car doesn't sound appealing. Much less having to hope you can get a car in an emergency, such as when our neighborhood nearly burned down a couple of years ago. If you're in California and there's wildfires, you can try to leave the area if you have a car you own. If you're car sharing, you can hope that you've got a good place in the priority queue.

Sure, it may be more expensive to own a car that's only going to be used in special circumstances and emergencies. But it's hardly the most expensive piece of insurance I'll be paying for.

Rick said...

Do you think sharing is the the future?

It is but while some people project 15 years I think it's more likely to be 50.

We own vehicles not because renting a car is too expensive but because paying a driver is too expensive. Drivers cost 2-3 times the vehicle cost per year. Currently the pricing mechanism tells most of us a car unused 92% of the time is still cheaper than hiring a driver for the 8% of time we drive / ride. Once we eliminate the driver cost an entirely different pricing model drives decisions. Taxis become driverless Uber at 1/4 of the current cost. Plus if you don't have reliable service in your area you buy the car and become the driverless Uber servicer in your area.

The economics are such that it will drive change.

Hagar said...

No.

PB said...

Idiots. It won't be sharing, it will be renting from massive corporations, but "sharing" sounds so positive and isn't that what socialism is all about? Positivity and sharing and caring? (gag).

The great theme of increasing governmental regulations is the extinguishing of individual/small companies as the regulations push the overhead to enormous levels. Currently sharing is the big thing, but government will come along to help and extinguish these individual players and only large corporations will be able to provide the service.



campy said...

Smart by leftie standards; iow stupid.

jr565 said...

Yeah, and when Hurricane Katrina hit, then the argument was "George Bush is racist beause no one in NO could get out because they didnt' have cars!" as if George Bush was responsible for buying them cars.
Didn't have cars. Sounds like it was a detriment. So, in the event of the next hurricane I guess the hobbyists will be driving to safety while the people with no cars are crowded in a Superdome cursing at Republicans for what they said shouldn't exist.

LYNNDH said...

Sure would be hard to get around here in Colorado if most people did not own a vehicle. The person who wrote that would have a coronary out here if they saw the number of Pickup Trucks and SUV's.

jr565 said...

People in big cities sometimes never get licenses. They are missing out on the freedom of being able to drive out of the city when you feel like it,as opposed to relying on planes and trains.
They are missing out.

Rumpletweezer said...

Amazing how many grown-ups have no idea how the world works. It's not complicated. My car is there when I want to go somewhere. It takes me from where I am to where I want to go. Public or shared transportation can't do that. The automobile is one of history's amazing success stories.

JAORE said...

The need/desire for door to door convenience, even in urban areas is the bane of mass transit. (And NO mass transit comes close to meeting expenses from the fare box.)

But let's suppose we have shareable cars littered all about an urban area where you can hop in, swipe a card and drive. How is that working out for the bike sharing programs? Not well, except as read in articles written by true believers.

Sharing cars make it worse. First of all, the bike is only short range, inner city transportation (yeah, I know the some of the tiny handful that commute too. But how many miles if that?) So how to get to and from home? Oh yeah, we all will give up our suburban or country side homes too in the dreams of the planners. Except us flat earthers, I suppose.

Then there is the difference in cleanliness in a car versus bike. Some keep their own cars immaculate. Others look like a dumpster with better wheels. Want to share the dumpster mobile?

Also, bikes come with a rider-provided fuel supply. Cars do not. I'm also sure the author envisions all electric cars with chargers on every corner. Sure, why not.

There is more. But I tired o the urban planner utopias when I worked with them and I tire more easily now. It boils down to everyone SHOULD make the same life style choices I do (or would want others to make even if I do not) or we will coerce you to do so.

Ghaaaaah, putzes.

jr565 said...

LIBERALS love affair with cars have grown cold. LIberals are idiots.

Harold said...

I suppose it will be popular with young people who don't have families and live in high density urban areas.

Birkel said...

Are the "right people" finally going to be in charge of this communism?
I am led to believe communism would work.just fine if only the "right people" were in charge.

Also, the Laws of supply and demand will need to be repealed.

So, no...

rehajm said...

First week of micro you're taught about property rights and how humans valus public vs private space.

Conclusions: The quoted person never took micro or was napping or cutting class. Also is not a user of car sharing program like Zipcar.

Smilin' Jack said...

Everyone else will be happy to share."

Do you think sharing is the the future?


In the radiant future everyone will be happy sharing the commute to the commune. They will have ways to make you happy.

robinintn said...

What a nasty, manipulative person.

Gahrie said...

Everyone else will be happy to share."

1) Bullshit

2) Hasn't he heard of the tragedy of the commons?

Original Mike said...

"You don’t pay for the car. You pay for the miles. And only the miles. ... These transactions will move through the glowing bowels of your monthly credit accounts, and you won’t even feel them."

Let me guess. We'll all save $2,000/yr.

"Rates of motor-vehicle licensure are already plummeting among young Americans. The obligations and costs of transportation—an average 17% of household budgets—are driving them out of automobility altogether."

That's because they don't have jobs.

MountainMan said...

I might use a shared vehicle in a dense urban area where it might make sense, but those cities usually already have mass transit so I don't see the advantage. I have two homes, one in a small town in the Appalachians and one in the far north suburbs of Atlanta and I can't ever see not owning my own car. I carry a lot of things in my car that I may want to use on a moment's notice. My vehicles are very personal. This reads like the typical liberal centrally-planned, collectivist untopia.

Laura said...

What then was the purpose of the automotive industry bailout dear central planners?

Temujin said...

There are two things at play here. First- we're into the 3rd generation of those who think doing small things can save the planet. ("think globally, act locally"). So- ride sharing is right up there with ways to lower the number of cars on the road. The reality of that is that these people are typically young. Young enough to not have a job that requires driving to. Young enough to not have children. Young enough to be willing to be part of a collective-think on how to live.
Second- we are being told by demographers and futurists that the growth of society is toward the urban areas. They tell us that everyone, going forward, is going to want to live in urban areas: on top of each other, with growth to go UP, not OUT. We are told that constantly. If this were the case, then fewer autos would be true. However, the reality is that this is the case only for the young (see above). The growth in our metro areas continues to be across all segments, with the greatest growth in the suburbs and the exurbs. Urban areas are also growing, but less than the outer rings.

If you're going to live in an outer ring, you'll want and need a car. In fact, one could surmise that- you CHOOSE to live in the outer ring because you like the idea of open space, independence, moving around, and….driving. In 25 years, we may be more manipulated than in the past and less likely to be independent, but I suspect there will be a very strong independent class who will find that driving is a skill that allows for freedom. And freedom will be a very big commodity.
Like many other things- climate change for instance- those who tell us how to live, ask us to do as they say…not as they do. I would suspect Al Gore has more than 3 cars and 1 jet. Ride share, Al?

Yancey Ward said...

I think it likely car-sharing will grow, but it is more likely to take the form of increased Uber/Lyft-like properties where the riders don't own the autos jointly. However, most automobiles are going to be owned, or leased, by the individual riders for as long as autos exist, I believe. That is fundamental human nature at work.

tim in vermont said...

Computers were supposed to be the same way. How many people share a computer even though they have all sorts of features to make them shareable.

CWJ said...

"..hobbyists, hot rodders and Flat Earth dissenters."

Since at different times I'm one or more of all three, I'm happy this prediction will leave me unaffected.

BTW, as far as predicting the future goes, don't we have to have flying cars before we move on to sharing them? The article has seriously jumped the gun.

traditionalguy said...

They mean that Big machines that display conspicuous consumption of control of power are Patriarchy itself. The androgynous modern family just wants a group hug. And no more Assault Weapons either.

MadisonMan said...

If you like your car, you can keep your car.

Clyde said...

Two words: Public restrooms.

Still want to share that car?

Roger Sweeny said...

As the old saying goes, "Everybody's property is nobody's property." There are going to be real problems with maintenance, cleanliness, etc. Unless there are agreed standards and some sort of enforcement mechanism.

SukieTawdry said...

I look for "the commons" to contract, not expand.

Sammy Finkelman said...

First, let's see it work with bikes.

campy said...

In 8 years you righties won't need cars since everything in Camp Hillary! will be walking distance.

Just Mike said...

Right...because people love to share so much, as evidenced by...by... ...*runs away*

john mosby said...

Tradguy: You've hit on something obliquely there: Gun sharing! Just the sort of 'nudge' policy that will gradually reduce the number of guns in circulation. Plus, it helps solve the problem of commuting with your gun then arriving at a gun-free workplace, school, or store. Win-win!

JSM

Dustin said...

I think this is a one-size-fits-all fallacy.

In a city where parking is difficult, or for those who go out to drink, ride sharing is awesome and a boon to society.

For places where parking is easy to come by and for whom driving is always easy and often pleasant, sharing a car's seat with the sweat and germs of hundreds of strangers is bizarre. Normal cars themselves aren't expensive. $2k per year. it's the other stuff, like a place to put it, that is expensive, so sharing the car can make sense in some situations.

I like the freedom in having a car under my control that I could take to Alaska right now if I wanted to, that is maintained by me so I know it will make the trip. That only me and mine have ever driven or been inside. That is a place to store a few extra things I might need away from home. If this car drove itself it would actually increase my chances of living far from an urban center (sleeping or surfing the internet during my hour commute), increasing the chances of keeping my own car instead of sharing it.

Meanwhile, the same technology upgrades will have the opposite impact on a new yorker who will be use the self driving car instead of a manned taxi or mass transit, and the car will rarely park except for service. In both cases, we are safer and happier.

Rick said...

MadisonMan said...
If you like your car, you can keep your car.


I suspect this has an expiration date. Speeds and driving congestion can be materially increased if vehicles are coordinated. To achieve this though humans will have to be excluded. I predict highways and center cities will be off limits to human drivers, and later driving will only be possible on recreational tracks - like we use horses today.

Luckily I'll be dead before that happens. But there might be people alive today who see it.

Tank said...


jr565 said...

LIBERALS love affair with cars have grown cold. LIberals are idiots.


I live in northern NJ which is mostly liberal, and most people I know are liberals. No one is giving up any of their cars, their giant SUVs or their pickup trucks. Get real.

And all of them, in their 5,000 square foot houses, are real concerned about global warming. Real concerned. Really, I mean it.

You can't drive down the side streets anymore because the damn SUVs parked on both sides of the street take up the whole street. They can't fit in the driveway because Mom and Dad and Sis and Bro all have their own cars.

Yeah, they're giving them up.

Soon.

cubanbob said...

Keep electing Democrats at all levels of government and eventually the Commissars will make it so. In the meantime while the idiocy of the authors piece is annoying it is disturbing that he gets paid for such nonsense. Automated Uber buses for the masses and chauffeured limousines for the Vanguard of the Proletariat.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Era of Lice dawns.

People's cars are pretty dirty. Imagine if people viewed their cars as relatively disposable.

A future of sharing and caring and communal filth.

Freeman Hunt said...

People with kids are not going to be cool with reinstalling car seats every time they leave the house.

Michael said...

The lefties want this sharing desperately. Sharing and choo choos, another form of sharing. The idea is to pack us all into easily manageable places where we can drink espresso and wear berets and be told what to do.

Sal said...

I can't wait for the future NYT article on the pervasive racism in car-sharing.

JHapp said...

Families share cars already. The author must be pretty far to the left to have missed that.

Peter said...

"The utilization rate of automobiles in the U.S. is about 5%."

BUT the life of an internal combustion engine before it needs a major overhaul is perhaps 3,000 hours. So if you had 100% utilization, a car would last less than half a year.

Which means, the economics of self-driving cars don't change all that much: if you use one every day, it'll cost you less to buy one than to rent or lease, but if you only use one occasionally you'll be better off renting.

MadisonMan said...

We are part of a car-sharing service (ZipCar), and to date we haven't run into anything messy in the car. The only thing I remember reading in the agreement was to return them with >1/4 tank of gas. Only used the service about 5 or 6 times this year (we're a one-car family -- and sometimes you need a 2nd car), usually when I'm visiting the Dad back home.

Peter said...

What driverless cars will eliminate is mass transit.

The problem with mass transit is it seldom provides a one-seat trip. Even if there's a fast train available, the entire trip becomes a walk to a bus stop, bus to train, the fast train, then a bus to near one's destination and another walk.

And that takes too long (with waits between each vehicle, and roundabout routing) and it's particularly inconvenient if one has packages to carry or intermediate stops.

A driverless car can provide that one-seat trip. Yes, it may cost more, but urban transit (with its costly infrastructure and union workforce) isn't so cheap either, especially after you add government subsidies to what goes into the farebox.

jr565 said...

"Everyone else will be happy to share."
What the author is asking for already exists. Its called Uber. You want to "share" in my ride? Pay me.

eric said...

I know this is going to work because it worked with house sharing. They've since stopped having to build new homes because the geniuses in New York share space during the work week.

iowan2 said...

The world, and leftist in the US, hate the freedom America has. The ongoing transformation of America into a cookie cutter society of the population living in controllable urban centers is just getting started. City planning has been ceded to the federal govt, a continuing increasing share of road $'s will go to urban projects. Suburban and rural $'s will continue to dry up, forcing the population to where the $'s are spent. Need $150 million for city street job? Sure, oh yea, as long as 20% is diverted into bike lanes on those streets with connectors to bike paths.

So, this Utopian vision of ride sharing fits right into it. Of course a car wont show up in 20 minutes to get you across town to the theater and restaurant you want to go to. But the govt approved entertainment is within a short bus ride, so all is well. Cars will be taxed, parking will be taxed, fuel will be taxed license will go up drastically. All of these govt forces will crush anyone foolish enough to live a fee life. We all want to live in urban centers, you just dont know it yet.

damikesc said...

Truth be known, I'd KILL to be able to use public transportation.

Except...it's not readily available where I live and, in places where it is available, union activity makes getting that ride less than a sure thing.

readering said...

The big problem with car sharing is that cars are delicate instruments and the rate of car repair varies on how they are treated. Ask any rental car company how its inventory is treated. So the tragedy of the commons will prevent car sharing from becoming ubiquitous unless cars get a lot sturdier and simpler to maintain.

holdfast said...

"Rates of motor-vehicle licensure are already plummeting among young Americans. The obligations and costs of transportation—an average 17% of household budgets—are driving them out of automobility altogether."

That's because they don't have jobs.


True, and they also have iPhones and social media. As teenagers all we wanted was to get in a car and get away from our parents - house parties, pit parties or even just going for a long drive to pretty much nowhere. Suburban teenagers today aren't like that. It's not that they like mass transit - it's just that they either get the helicopter parents to drive them, or they just don't go out.

Rick said...

Freeman Hunt said...
People with kids are not going to be cool with reinstalling car seats every time they leave the house.


This isn't necessary. With Uber you designate the necessary features like child seats or boosters or 4WD or whatever and dispatch filters for your requests. There's no reason to believe future services won't have the same features.

I think some people are hung up on the "sharing" concept. This is sharing as in Uber sharing - where you still pay.

TreeJoe said...

My experiences are based upon living in the suburban area around Philadelphia, working out of a new york city office, and being a car nut myself.

I agree that vehicle ownership will go down. The advent of:

- near-real-time service availability - whether it be bike rental or car sharing - combined with
- the current hyper density of many major population centers and
- the tendency for such urban centers to promote policies creating large expenses to own & operate a vehicle in the urban center

Mean that car ownership has become more of a restriction than a freedom for many.

The reality is that near many major urban centers, you can carpool, Uber, bike, whatever to a local transit center a few miles away and then travel around a city or to any other major city for a similar cost - or less - than doing so with a car.

The best reasons to own a car, outside of hobby/personal preference, are when you need to transit between significant distances, routinely, that are not otherwise connected or convenient to achieve without a personal vehicle.

It shouldn't be a surprise that those needs and situations are becoming less frequent.

TreeJoe said...

Peter said, "BUT the life of an internal combustion engine before it needs a major overhaul is perhaps 3,000 hours. So if you had 100% utilization, a car would last less than half a year."

This is completely false - it may have been true as of the 1970s american engineering targets, but it is not at all true today.

Further, the bulk of engine life is consumed during start-up and warm-up activities as well as idling. The LEAST wear occurs when a car is at operating temp and running in normal conditions - i.e. well utilized. For example, a trucker engine (Yes it is different) is going to have a much higher utilization rate and can be expected to last 10,000-20,000 hours between any significant overhaul work (i.e. 40-50 hours a week, every week, for 4-5 years). This is true of many passenger vehicles/gasoline engines as well with similar utilization.

And "major overhaul" might just be 10-20 hours worth of engine work too.

JSD said...

Uber: Good afternoon Mr. Kerouac. Can I help you?
Jack: Hey man, I need a car
Uber: Please enter the itinerary on your smartphone along with your method of payment.
Jack: We don’t know where we’re going, we just want to see America. The good, the bad, everything.
Uber: Overnight car use requires an “Extended Use” contract.
Jack: Uhhh, it’s going to take more than one night. We got a lot of places to go and people to see. It might take a couple…maybe…three or more months.
Uber: Extended use requires a deposit of $15,000
Jack: I don’t have that much bread. Can’t you hook me up with an old junk car?
Uber: No, all non-ecofriendly cars have been taken out of service. We could provide you with a Prius Peapod. However, it can only travel 120 miles between charging.
Jack: 120 miles? Do you realize how long will that take us to reach California?
Uber: Well, ”America – The Road Trip” is now playing at the IMAX. That’s a very ecofriendly option.
Jack: No! We want to see the real America before it disappears.
Uber: Sorry, that’s not allowed

Peter said...

If you have a lawn then you probably own a lawnmower (unless you pay a lawn service take care of it for you).

It is possible to rent lawnmowers, yet even though your utilization of your lawnmower is low, you don't. Why not?

Well, there's the inconvenience: you'd have to drive to the rental business to pick it up, and bring it back when you're done with it. But even if you ignore the inconvenience, it costs too much. For example, $46./day to rent a self-propelled, walk-behind mower. Unless you intend to use it only a few times, buying will be far less expensive.

Some rental costs just seem too high: for example, it can cost more to rent a bicycle for a day than to rent a car for a day. And even those urban "bike share" programs cost more than just using your own bicycle (of comparable quality); they survive (when they do) if using your own bike isn't an option, perhaps because you can't take it on a subway or bus, or it's too likely to get stolen where you'd have to leave it.

Rental economics often don't work very well, even for things you don't use very often (perhaps because rental businesses have a great many expenses which must be accounted for). And for driverless rental cars to work, the cost has to be reasonable compared with owning a car, or, there must be some reason (such as scarce parking) why owning is not practical.

ken in tx said...

Sartre said--in a play--"Hell is other people." Daniel Boone said, "If you can see your neighbor's chimney smoke, It's time to move." Davy Crockett said, "Public can go to hell, I'm going to Texas." All of these are examples of people not wanting to spend a lot of time sharing with other people. Maybe women like to share, until they have their first kid. Then the selfish gene comes out. Human nature does not really change. Lysenkoism and New Soviet Man is a myth.

Scott Gustafson said...

According to AAA, the annual cost of owning and operating a car (medium sedan) is 58 cents per mile. That is based on 15,000 miles per year which is probably high. Uber runs about 95 cents while taxis are a bit more. Eliminate the cost of the driver and a driverless Uber/taxi might be able to compete.

A major problem with this is deadheading. Driving your own vehicle and keeping it with you eliminates deadheading. Uber and taxis try to minimize deadheading while mass transit deadheads almost half the time.

To make up for deadheading, driverless vehicles will need to cost about 30% less per mile than ownership while mass transit needs to come in at about half.

I'm not seeing that happening anytime soon.

tim in vermont said...

Freeman Hunt has a point. Bedbugs!

If you live in a large apartment building, it makes perfect sense to have a smaller lot full of share vehicles, if you live in a suburb and would have to walk a half a mile in -10 F temps to get to your ride to work so you can then scrape off the windshield and warm up the car? Maybe not...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Everyone else will be happy to share.

Hear that you vast unwashed, you flyover rubes, you downward-sloping forehead losers?

You WILL be happy to share.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Freedom's just another word for dependin' on the state
Sharing, not owning's the way to be
If feelin' good means drivin' cars then you gotta move
Just move it on and out away from me
Move it out beyond the NYC

Dude1394 said...

Urbanites think everyone is an urbanite.

I expect folks will still own a car, it will just last forever.

The Godfather said...

I lived in NYC for 3 years while I was in law school, and I used public transportation (which wasn't bad, but Mayor Lindsay really screwed it up). But I still had a car.

I spent most of my working life in the Washington, DC area, and I used public transportation as much as possible (thank you, taxpayers in Utah and New Mexico for paying for DC's Metro system). But I still had a car.

Now I live in a small Southern village with no significant public transit. And I still have a car.

I think the truth is that WE HAVE TO HAVE A CAR if we can afford it, because of the freedom that it provides us. If car-sharing satisfies our needs at a lower cost, that's great. But if THE GOVERNMENT tries to force it on us, we'll revolt.

Conserve Liberty said...

Sure, as long as wherever they park them is close to wherever I am whenever I'm there, and there's a guarantee that a Share-Car will ALWAYS be wherever that is whenever I want one.

Otherwise, not so much.*



* These thinkers can't imagine what it means to live in the 90% of America NOT described as the Eastern Seaboard.

Joe said...

The issue with car sharing isn't cleanliness, it's usage. In short, I'd likely still be driving my 1999 Civic had my two oldest not learned to drive with it. My oldest (who now owns and drive it) was especially hard on it. To the point where I won't let anyone drive my new civic. (I made one exception for my best friend, who is a better driver than I, for a drive to lunch one day.)

Incidentally, this isn't just people starting too fast or too slow from stop lights (yes, starting too slow is bad for your car) but things like changing the oil on time, keeping the tires at the right pressure, not "creeping" at stop lights, and so on.