Once upon a time, it was the ultimate symbol of freedom. Young people couldn’t wait to be able to buy their first car, no matter how old or beat-up. It meant independence and connection to the world, and the end of relying on someone else to drive you around.

Funny, how time changes things.

Now, millennials are opting for ride sharing services like Uber – getting driven around in someone else’s car – and peer-to-peer car rental such as Car Next Door, rather than owning their own vehicle.

This evolution of our relationship with transport is fascinating. Firstly, it’s a radical change in one of the defining milestones of being young and finally having money. Car ownership has always been a significant financial outlay, but we paid it because it was the most convenient and cost-effective option for getting around. However, now there are alternatives that are more convenient and cost effective, and owning a car is now more of a burden than a liberation.

Secondly, it’s a sign of the increasing mobility of the things we use to drive for. There has been a rapid expansion of food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Menulog, our groceries come to us via Coles and Woolworths delivery services, and Amazon delivers… well, almost everything else.

Is it just about convenience?

Ease is a big reason why millennials are finding ride sharing and car borrowing more attractive. But there are several other factors that stack the cards against car ownership.

Young professionals living in big cities are looking at around $7500 per year to own a car. They’d rather save that money and use it for travelling or living closer to the city. In addition, just getting a licence is a financial challenge, especially considering the 120 supervised driving hours necessary to sit for a drivers’ licence.

Millennials also recognise the environmental impact of adding more cars to the road and are open to using public transport or cycling to get around.

Also, the rise of contract and temporary work means it is illogical for millennials to tie themselves to a car loan in case their circumstances change.

For millennials, car ownership has certainly become optional, as they’re able to meet their transport needs in increasingly cheaper and more efficient ways.