Buying Your First Car? Here’s What You Need To Know

On Monday, June 5th, 2017

Photo: Negative Space

The number of young people who are driving today is not nearly as great as it was in previous generations. Research conducted in the United States shows that the number of 16-year-olds with a license decreased 47% between 1983 and 2014. The reasons for this are varied. It may be that young people are more concerned about the environment than Baby Boomers ever were. The toll that cars take on air quality is serious, and it may be that a lot of people do not consider the ease and convenience of driving their own car to be enough to justify the environmental expense. A poll run by the McCombs School of Business Energy Management and Innovation Center found that it is, in fact. the case that young people consider the environment to be more of an issue than older people. Another reason why young people may not be wanting to drive quite as early is that with the digital revolution, their social lives are more concentrated on online interactions rather than spending time with each other in person. Research conducted at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) found that the percentage of young drivers is inversely proportional to the percentage of Internet users. However, one of the other important factors that may dissuade a young person from investing in a car is just how expensive it is.

For teenagers who are just now becoming old enough to get a licence, or university students in their early twenties, the financial crash of 2008 may have severely impacted their capacity to start their career in quite the way they may have wished to; the reality is that to get a car, you need a job. Not only that, the costs of running a car have increased way beyond the rates of inflation. Between 2007 and 2011, the cost of running a car rose by an average of £1,556. The cost of fuel increased by £160 in 2010 alone. That is not to mention the rising prices of car insurance, which has increased to prohibitively expensive levels for a lot of young, working people. All of these expenses only become relevant once you have got your license, which has also become more expensive. The average lesson now costs £25, with a practical test costing about £75 and a theory test £31.

If you are thinking about buying your first car, you may be wondering about what other options you have. Perhaps you rent your home and imagine that leasing a car each month would be similarly easy. There are lots of places that can offer you good deals, like, but it is probably not cheaper in the long run, just as getting a mortgage is a better way to spend your money rather than renting.

You may also be wondering if you should buy a new car or an older one. New cars are more expensive initially, but they require less maintenance overall, so you save money on replacing parts and having work done on it. Whatever car you buy, it will depreciate in value by 11% as soon as you drive it away. After one year, it will have lost 25% of its value. You should, therefore, choose carefully.

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