Millennials Say Cars a Costly Hassle, but They Still Want Them, Survey Finds

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Millennials may not be as unconventional as some think, at least when it comes to their attitudes about cars. Like most people, they find them to be a necessary but costly expense.

A new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet reveals how millennials feel about their vehicles: They’re surprised by costs despite planning for them, they find owning a car to be a hassle, and yet most plan on buying another within the next five years.

The nationally representative poll surveyed 2,025 U.S. adults, 1,819 of whom were car owners. Of the 454 respondents who were millennials — defined as ages 18 to 34 in this survey — 80% owned a vehicle.

Although 92% of car-owning millennials said they considered all of the costs of car ownership before purchasing, 64% were surprised at vehicle maintenance costs and 68% were surprised at the cost of auto insurance.

Their shock over insurance premiums is understandable. An analysis of NerdWallet data found that 26-year-olds pay 15% more, on average, than 40-year-olds for the same coverage.

According to the survey, these costs may be causing some stress — 43% of millennials who own cars think it’s a hassle to do so, compared with 28% of those 45 and older. But this hassle isn’t keeping millennials off the car lots. Just 12% regret buying their car, and 73% of those who already own a car plan on purchasing another in the next five years.

Elizabeth Renter is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: elizabeth@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ElizabethRenter.