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Could owning a car be a thing of the past?

October 23, 2017 | By | In News
Undated file photo of cars parked in a residential street. Vehicle thefts in England and Wales have increased by almost a third in just three years, new figures show.

As cities clamp down on vehicle use, it could spell the end of car ownership as we know it. The Guardian newspaper has conducted research into the fact that as drivers are more penalised for driving older, more polluting, cars they are less inclined to want car ownership.

This could also be behind the increased usage of other means of transport such as the Tube, as well as demand for the upcoming HS2 train line.

Awareness of alternative forms of transport has been increased since the government announced the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2040. In fact, before then Oxford will ban such cars from some of its streets as early as 2020.

Paris is also set to ban all but electric cars form the city by 2030.

Another popular alternative to driving yourself is car sharing, which is also something that has been happening in cities across the world, such as London, for some years. As cities become larger and the population expands, it is inevitable people will need a source of transport that is convenient and not time consuming.

Other factors that will affect transport choices are new traffic charges. Today, for example, Transport for London (TfL) has announced a new charge for drivers of cars that are more than 11 years old. Motorists with these older cars will pay £10 on top of the congestion charge to drive in certain areas of London. With the cost rising to as much as £21.50 per day to use a car, it is expected that people are more likely to use public transport or other means of transport than pay such a considerable sum of money each day.

It also seems priorities have changed. According to The Guardian, in 1993, 48 per cent of 17-24-year-olds held a driving licence. As of 2016 that figure had dropped to just 31 per cent – and it shows no sign of letting up.

This could be blamed on a number of factors from convenience of public transport to the constant war against the combustion engine in favour of going electric. Whatever the reasons, there is evidence to suggest that eventually people will rent vehicles from companies for however long they need it and use public transport the rest of the time, taking away ownership.

Automakers such as Lynk & Co and Polestar have already begun creating cars that will be rented by people rather than bought – a sort of pay as you go type of driving.

Companies like Uber are also prime examples of alternative transport. The cost per mile to travel in an UberX across New York is $1.50, while car ownership in the city costs $3 per mile. That means car ownership over a year could cost double what it would cost to hire an UberX – a considerable cost.

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