Lang: Getting Driver's License Unimportant to Many Millennials
Sept. 26, 2018—According to auto industry expert Jim Lang’s latest aftermarket iReport, a growing number of Americans aged 18-34 years old have chosen not to get a driver’s license. That fact could have serious implications for both vehicle use and aftermarket volume in the U.S.
Lang’s research indicated that, from 2008-18, the number of licensed drivers in the U.S. increased 8 percent, climbing to 225 million. That number, though, is a slower rate of growth during the preceding 10-year period (1998-2008), when the population of licensed drivers across the country climbed more than 12 percent.
In the mid-1980s, approximately 93 percent of Americans aged 18-34 years had a driver’s license, but that number is decreasing with each passing decade. Among the strongest factors in changing the attitudes of young Americans toward vehicle use are environmental concerns, because many younger Americans view driving as being detrimental to the environment. Ride-sharing is still another reason why less young Americans drive these days; the unprecedented growth of ride-sharing provides a transportation alternative to many young Americans who simply do not see the need to have a driver’s license as a result.
In 2000, 14 percent of Americans aged 18-34 years didn’t have a driver’s license. Lang Marketing estimates that approximately 21 percent of Americans 18-34 years old didn’t have a driver’s license in 2015.
In Lang’s estimation, the changing attitudes of Americans toward vehicles have important implications for vehicle ownership, vehicle use, and future aftermarket volume and growth and, thus, bare close watching in the near term.