In recent years numerous studies and anecdotal evidence have led most to believe that so-called Millennials, the generation born between approximately 1977 and the 1995, have less interest in owning or driving vehicles than Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers.
A 2013 study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute found that Baby Boomers were more likely to purchase a new vehicle than Millennials, also frequently referred to as Gen-Yers. A study conducted by the Detroit Free Press dug deeper to find the reasons for Millennial’s apathy toward car ownership. Thirty-one percent said it was easier to depend on others for their transportation needs, and 37 percent said they were simply too busy with other things to go through the process of finding a buying a new vehicle.
A new study by Deloitte, however, suggests that Millennials are indeed interested in owning automobiles – specifically “green” automobiles.
According to the study, most of these younger drivers are planning to purchase or lease a new vehicle within the next five years. Over half said they plan to lease or own an alternative energy vehicle. Twenty-seven percent of respondents see a hybrid vehicle in their future. Of those, eight percent said they’re considering a plug-in hybrid, while seven percent would choose a battery-powered hybrid. Another seven percent said they would like to own or lease a compressed natural gas powered car, while only six percent said they’d choose a diesel-powered vehicle. Four percent expressed an interest in fuel cell-powered autos.
The study is good news for the federal government which has invested millions of dollars in alternative energy research and development in recent years. California-based Tesla Motors received $465 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop its all-electric vehicles, including the Roadster and Model S which was just chosen as the best overall vehicle available in America by Consumer Reports. Tesla’s customers also benefit from generous federal and state tax incentives that can reduce the price of their purchases by upwards of $13,000.
Many industry experts now believe the combination of tax incentives and a new wave of eco-conscious Millennials demanding alternative powertrain automobiles could at last tip the balance in favor of green automakers.