These days, more and more articles are popping up online about how millennials don't seem to care as much about owning a vehicle. They claim that we're driving less not just because of economical reasons, but for societal ones as well. The big argument at stake is that we're living life more for the experiences than for possessions. Does that mean it's cool to not have a car anymore? Even with gas constantly hovering near $4 a gallon, I would argue against that (as would my odometer)!
For every teenager and young adult we read about who is cherishing the benefits of going car-free, there are just as many who are earning their licenses and eagerly waiting to own a vehicle, or getting excited to buy a car with their first "real world" job. This rings true when you consider that not everyone in America has access to efficient mass-transit systems where restaurants, shopping, and other amenities are a short distance away. Would we like those things to be closer? Sure! Those who are attached to their cars are not all that different from the car free advocates. We still rely on technology to socialize and plan our outings, but realize that trying to do so without our vehicles is not always an option when you have friends spread out over urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Another thing to consider is just how many activities and places of interest are centered around driving to the destination. In St. Louis, for example, we love going on float trips in the summer, visiting theme parks like Six Flags, and spending time in Forest Park. All of those activities are made immensely easier by owning a car, whether you're transporting inner tubes, food for a picnic, or several kids!
Instead of focusing on the idea of going completely car free, it would be more realistic (and beneficial) for all of us to encourage the growth of bike paths and walkable neighborhoods in the areas where we live, and also promote more businesses that are located near those spots. This will give us a reason to drive less, but also one that most car-free advocates support the most: it helps to bring the sense of community back to our neighborhoods, whether we choose to get there by foot, bike, or in a Prius.