Get rid of your car, you don’t need it, says Jeremy Clarkson

PeakCarJeremyClarksonSundayTimes17May2015

In today’s Sunday Times Jeremy Clarkson spends the majority of a Porsche review banging on about Millennials falling out of love with motor-cars.

Soon almost no one will want to buy a car … Cars are enjoying their last hurrah, burning brightly as suns do just before they fizzle out. [Today’s] young people are simply not interested in cars at all. My son is … 19 and has not bothered to take his driving test. His argument is a simple one. There’s a coach that stops right outside his flat in London and it takes him, in a blizzard of wi-fi, to and from Oxford. For £11.

If he wants to go somewhere else, he can use a train or something called “a bus”. An Uber cab is never more than a few clicks away, and there’s always a Boris bike for short trips on level ground when it’s not too cold or hot or wet. He can move about without worrying about breath tests or speeding fines or parking tickets or no-claims bonuses. My son therefore thinks he’s free simply because he doesn’t have a car.

And there’s no point going on about the open road and the wind in your hair and the snarl of a straight six because he just doesn’t see cars this way. With good reason. When he was little he spent two hours a day on the school run strapped into a primary-coloured child’s seat, in the back of a Volvo, in an endless jam. There’s no way this was going to engender any motoring-related dreams. He wasn’t sitting there in a goo of expectation, thinking, “Hmm, when I’m big I will do this as well.”

And if you sell something as a practical proposition, it had better actually be practical. Which, as we’ve established, a car isn’t. Nor is a fridge, for that matter, since you have a supermarket on every street corner now that can keep everything chilled until you need it. Free up the space in your kitchen. Get rid. And free up the space in your garage while you’re at it. Because you don’t need a car. Not really. Not these days.

Is this yet another example of “peak car”? Or, at the very least, “peak Clarkson”? And, if so, why build more roads when we likely won’t need them?

I’ll be using Clarkson’s view of the car’s last hurrah in my forthcoming talks …

Carlton Reid Tour Dates

9 comments

  1. I am a dedicated cycling activist and a car collector. What Jeremy says, and coming from him, is fantastic for cycling. But it is sad for our generation, adoring the sound of a straight six Jaguar, or enjoying the power of a modified four cylinder car…. What he says about his son is absolutely true. As for supercars, well, I am just not interested anymore!

    Since both my wife and I now cycle to work, friends, funerals, the shops, coffee, etc, the spiders are spinning around the wheels of my collection of Peugeot cars….

  2. For eons all transport by water, fishing, etc. was in sail propelled boats and ships. Then about a hundred years ago along came internal combustion engines (following steam). And the sail propelled vessels disappeared. Well, not quite. Today there are all those yachts. And more technical advancement than in the previous several thousand years. Apparently we will eagerly spend far more on our toys than on our tools. I have been a cycling enthusiast all my life (70 years). But I have also enjoyed motorbikes and the occasional car. It may seem heresy, but I propose that the end of automobiles as daily transport very well might herald a new golden age of motor sport. My motto is walking, bikes, buses and trains for transport…..motor vehicles for sport.

  3. Pingback: Get rid of your car, you don’t need it, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times | Ban Private Cars in London

  4. When my eldest Granddaugher was 18 (now 22) I offered to pay for driving lessons for her. She refused, and instead asked me to buy her a brand new Dutch style sit up and beg bike, which I did. She fought hard against pressure from her Mother to learn to drive. She insisted there was no point because she didn’t want or need a car. In the end she gave in and learned to drive. I bought her a car on her passing first time. That car then sat in the driveway for 2 years before my GD finally changed jobs and had to start using the car to get further out to her new job. Even now she only uses the car for work.

    My youngest GD was the totally opposite. She cycled until she was 17 and had passed her driving test within months. She loves her car and the freedom it gives her. Her bike now sits gathering cobwebs in the shed.

    My own personal transport is a trike and I also refuse to waste money on a car or driving.

  5. I see this in microcosm in my own building.

    Twenty years ago when we moved in there were almost fist-fights in the garage over the allocated parking spaces. Each flat had at least one car, all spaces taken, and when folk had visitors over as well there were always more cars than spaces.

    Now, the building is still fully occupied, but a good half of the spaces are simply empty. The only ones driving regularly are the middle-aged to elderly who drive everywhere by default. The younger generation just aren’t bothered.

  6. Just be wary. Clarkson did a program where he rode round part of London on a bike. It was nothing but a Piss Take. He wobbled about looking even more stupid than usual while being protected by camera cars from the traffic that real cyclists face. It was intended to mock cyclists. I suspect this is more of a ploy to reignite the idolatry of the tin god car of which he is the self appointed high priest.

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