The End Of Private Car Ownership

Estimated read time 6 min read

Are your days of owning a car numbered?

There’s been considerable talk in certain circles recently about the end of private car ownership. While some talk about such a possibility excitedly, for others it’s a doomsday scenario which helps the government complete its authoritarian control over citizens’ movements. Whatever your take on such a plan, what right now might just be talk could turn into reality as the rubber hits the road.

Watch police in Florida get into a chase and shootout with a mother caught in the crossfire.

A WEF Pipe Dream

As we’ve covered before, the World Economic Forum has openly called for the end of private car ownership, as well as private property in general. Even though the plan sits out in the open, including an article published on the WEF website all but spelling out wrenching your car from your cold, dead hands if necessary, some people will argue it’s just a conspiracy theory.

In particular, the article published in July 2022 titled “3 circular economy approaches to reduce demand for critical metals” goes through the mental gymnastics about why governments can’t allow private citizens to continue driving their own vehicles, if you’re looking for a specific example. There are many others, for example “Goodbye car ownership, hello clean air: welcome to the future of transport” published December 16, 2016.

You might have already guessed the stated reason for this push: it’s all to save the environment, because of course your car is destroying the planet and everything on it. With so much at stake, it’s only fair extreme measures are used to avoid such a horrendous fate.

The WEF solution to privately-owned cars is communal EVs. After all, your car spends most of its time parked, so you’re really just wasting it, or so goes the argument. Anyone who knows vehicles is aware if one is driving around constantly it will obviously wear out faster. For that and many other reasons, it’s hard to take the WEF’s solution seriously.  

Cars As Luxury Items

For the champagne and limousine crowd, the idea of new cars becoming a luxury item only the select few can afford seems to fill them with absolute glee. That attitude was on full display in an article published by The Hill on April 5, 2023 titled quite plainly “New cars have become luxury items.” This is clearly more conditioning for the consumer class, but such a high-class fantasy has been around for some time.

NPR ran an article on November 4, 2022 titled “It’s not just buying a car – owning one is getting pricier, too” which enumerates how much of a financial burden vehicle ownership has become. Perhaps part of the problem is that in ye olden days many car owners changed their own oil and brake pads, as well as taking care of other simple maintenance tasks themselves. Today, people shell out quite a bit of money for someone to install wiper blades and a cabin air filter on their vehicle because as a society we have become rather helpless. It’s almost like discouraging people from doing their own automotive maintenance is artificially inflating the cost of vehicle ownership.

Back on June 22, 2017 Forbes published an article titled “What Will Car Ownership Look Like In The Future?” In it, “low-carbon innovation analyst” Michael Barnard claims that by 2030 vehicle ownership will plummet by 80% with only 44 million private passenger vehicles in the US versus the roughly 247 million on that road then. He goes on to espouse the values of EV rideshare solutions and the financial savings those would supposedly supply to Americans.

Going back further, on December 23, 2015, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Private car ownership is on the road to becoming a rarity” and as you can guess by that headline, it’s all about how in a future utopian society private vehicles will only be owned by the elite.

Car Price Inflation

In recent years, new car prices have spiraled out of control, putting many lower-income individuals in quite the pinch. Back on April 5, 2023 Edmunds covered this topic in an article titled “Where Did All the Cheap Cars Go?” pointing out that it’s basically impossible to find a new car for $20,000 or under, arguing that soon it could become difficult to find anything for $25,000 or less.

In that same article, Edmunds points out how full-size SUVs have been helping drive price inflation with 94% purchased in March 2023 going for over $60,000 versus just 54% exceeding that amount a mere five years before.

While the poor certainly have been feeling the market pressure, so have those in the middle class. Extending out loan terms and other tricks can only soften the blow so much before consumers realize the new car market is moving beyond their reach.

A similar phenomenon has been going on with the used car market. Many people looking for a deal have given up out of frustration or taken on a car loan that threatens to burst their budget.

We also covered not too long ago how many media outlets have been hyping up vehicle prices both in the used and new markets in what almost seems like a bizarre attempt to convince consumers they’ll have to continue shelling out obnoxious amounts for a car or start taking the bus to work. For example, The Hill ran a story on April 5, 2023, titled “Affordable car options dwindle” that painted a bleak picture of the future for private vehicle ownership. The problem with this angle is that data indicates both markets are heading down, not up, which is great news.

The question you have to ask is why would any media outlet want the public to believe car prices will never return to normal or the way they were before everything turned crazy during covid? There are many potential answers, including some journalists entertaining a dream society where private vehicle ownership has disappeared, replaced by a utopia of communal cars.

With free market forces causing car prices to deflate, the dreams of some automotive communalists obviously will as well. That doesn’t mean schemes about how to convince people to ditch their cars, maybe even by force, aren’t still being formulated and deployed.


Owning a car is viewed by many as one of the many freedoms we enjoy. While the love affair between Americans and their cars seems to irk some, the majority of this country likes the fact they can go where they want when they want without issues. Relying on a car sharing service, public transportation, or anything else communal involves many compromises that diminish this freedom. Even though car ownership is expensive, most people view it as a solid trade-off for the ability to move around freely.

Images via Ford, GM, Stellantis

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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