The image of teenagers who simply don’t care about driving is often painted by the people who believe that the “time of cars” is over and we are slowly drifting away from our cars. Especially here in Finland’s capital area it seems that public transport and many other ways of commuting are being promoted so hard that it almost makes driving seem like a bad option. This, in addition to the aggressive climate politics lately, surely affects the attitudes negatively towards driving a car. Nevertheless, this is the truth only on paper and in anti-car infomercials. In reality, my commute to school of about 9km, home and school both being in the metropolitan area, takes over 50minutes via public transport and under ten minutes using a car. I can only imagine what the situation is like outside the Helsinki metropolitan area.
First of all, according to my observations, people my age aren’t usually strictly for, or against driving a car. Instead, teenagers usually have opinions from every possible angle. Sure, I know some people who are even refusing to do their driver’s license because of climate reasons or because they live in the heart of the city and they don’t need a car to get around in their daily lives. On the whole, I’d say that the most common opinion is that driving a car isn’t more interesting as an experience than some other activity like riding a bike, but there are many advantages that are definitely recognized with driving a car. Nobody likes to stand at a bus stop in the middle of the winter on a cold morning in a blizzard. This can be proved by the countless wet and irritated students at the lobby of our school on a January morning who don’t have access to a car for one reason or another. It doesn’t help their irritation, that the students with access to a car walk in the door dry and ready for the day’s work.
On the contrary to the “public opinion”, in my view driving has in fact raised its popularity among young women. The old assumption was that cars are somehow boys’ toys, and that it wasn’t “girly” to be interested in motor vehicles. Yet, I’ve noticed that a huge number of girls that I know can’t wait to have their license. I’ve also heard numerous girls talking about their dream cars and how they can’t wait to have their license, and this is a very positive thing in my opinion.
The young are generally very aware of the climate change problem, and it has undeniably lowered the eagerness to own a V12. Therefore, the common opinion among teenagers is that we need to avoid making anymore emissions than we have to, but many are not ready to give up their cars. They are willing todo many things for the environment and deeply care about it. Many are recycling, buying things used instead of new and have reduced their driving or even switched to more economical cars, but would not be willing to give up their cars completely. Electric cars are considered very interesting because of their low emissions and generally high power, but the charging infrastructure and battery ranges worries many in making the decision to buy one. After all, the young are definitely intrigued by everything new that the car industry has to offer, but there definitely still is the “old” urge to hear the engine growling under you. If we are able to lower the carbon footprint while we’re at it, great!
To sum it up, I believe that cars are not going anywhere if the young have any say to it anyway, and we do. Some people have drawn the conclusion that cars aren’t a necessary part of their life for one reason or another, and that is completely fine. However, the upsides are there and they are recognized, and that is why many are still dreaming of owning that sports car someday. I’m so happy that many girls have also joined this way of thinking and consequently, there is still a vast amount of enthusiasm towards cruising the open highway with the music cranked all the way up and your best friends on the backseat.