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Is Driving Getting Too Expensive?

Teenage Boy Taking A Driving Lesson
Catherine Yeulet

From babysitting to fast food joints, teenagers tend to find a way to make themselves a little bit of money. Or at least that was what I thought.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I do not actually have kids myself. All the child experiences in my life come from seeing friends with their young kids or my sister and her teenage sons.

In fact her eldest just turned sixteen last week. What was typically a monumental birthday.

Woman showing keys
Warren Goldswain

I distinctly remember turning sixteen. I was beyond excited to get my license, have some freedom and feel like I was an adult (though looking back clearly I was no where close!).

I had prepared for that day. I was been working part-time jobs or doing some baby-sitting to save some money. I had my driver’s ed class already under my belt, since you could take it two months before you were sixteen. My permit paperwork was filled out and ready to go. I wanted to be behind the wheel!

And yet when I excitedly asked my nephew if he was taking driver’s ed or looking into it at all, I got a resounding NO.

He was not remotely interested in being able to drive. Let me tell you I was shocked.

Seems to him the cost of getting the license, paying for insurance (cause now you have to be insured whether you have a car of your own to drive or not), putting gas into the vehicle he uses, plus the driver’s ed and driving school classes to help lower insurance costs was all simply not worth it.

Driving was just too expensive for him to want to do it!

In his 16-year-old mind there was no point in giving up all his free time to work a part-time job for minimum wage and then use all that money to pay for insurance and gas getting to and from that job.

Driving has gotten so expensive for teenagers that many just aren’t interested in doing it. And ultimately not interested in having a job.

Maybe this is just a single example, though I’ve gotten the impression from others that this is becoming more common.

Kids don’t want to be bothered getting a job that cuts into hangout, facebook, internet, etc time just so they can get behind the wheel of a car.

And with the cost of registering, insuring, and gassing a vehicle getting more and more expensive every year are we pricing kids out of a right of passage?

Teen texts while driving
Pawel Gaul

I know teenagers aren’t the safest people on the roads anyway, so maybe this trend will ultimately be a good thing.

Having a whole generation wait until they are mentally and financially more responsible for what they do on the roadways could make us all safer, but I felt a little sad that he was so disinterested in something I had looked so forward to not all that long ago.

So does the cost of owning a car make it feel like driving just isn’t worth it sometimes?

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