Going forward, technology and huge generational shifts may result in less car ownership and fewer and fewer miles driven, at least in rich countries, according to the Economist. Americans are getting their driver’s licenses later or sometimes not at all, and young people in Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Canada, France, and other countries are also in no hurry to get behind the wheel. The trend is directly correlated to increased usage of the Internet and social media: In countries where young people are on the web a lot (and can therefore “connect” virtually, without driving anywhere), the percentage of youth that bother to get driver’s licenses is below normal.
Whereas millennials tend to view automobiles as mere appliances—unnecessary, pricey ones that they’ll try to avoid, via car sharing and a shift to urban living—the oldest drivers on the road came of age in the era of car culture and the U.S. highway system. Today, there’s a higher portion of drivers than are 70+ than 18-year-olds with licenses.