A Quarter of Americans Spend Over 15% of Take-Home Pay on Monthly Car Payments; Two-Thirds of Drivers Report Rising Auto Expenses Force Them to Cut Spending Elsewhere
PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Jerry, the superapp for car owners, today releases the findings from its 2023 State of the American Driver Report, its second-annual study that offers a comprehensive, data-driven look into the current state of the car ownership experience. It reveals the full extent of the financial burden American car owners face and breaks down their shifting pandemic-era purchasing patterns.
Jerry's 2023 State of the American Driver Report analyzes results from a national survey of more than 1,200 American drivers across all 50 states and four generations – Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. Two-thirds of respondents confirm that rising car costs forced them to cut spending in other categories, including groceries, restaurants, clothing, entertainment and vacations.
A whopping 24% of drivers expect to shop for a car in 2023, and a majority (61%) of those who plan to shop remain loyal to traditional dealerships versus online retailers. Nearly half (49%) of American drivers are interested in buying or leasing an electric vehicle as their next car, a 10% jump from last year motivated mainly by the record high gas prices they paid in 2022. Meanwhile, the slight majority cite concerns over inconvenience of charging and high vehicle prices as their primary reason to stick with gas-powered vehicles.
Key report findings include:
- Those who are buying aren't getting what they actually want – A third of drivers surveyed who bought a vehicle in 2022 said they ended up buying used instead of new because of limited supply. A quarter said they bought a make or model that wasn't their first choice.
- High prices and interest rates are weighing on 2023 shopping plans – About a quarter of drivers said they plan to shop for a new or used vehicle in 2023, similar to numbers seen a year earlier. About half of respondents said they don't plan to shop for a new vehicle at all, and others said lower prices and interest rates would change their mind.
- Unhealthy amounts of household income are going to car expenses – Nearly a quarter of American drivers spend more than 15% of their take-home pay on car payments. About two-thirds said the cost of owning a car forced them to cut spending in other areas in 2022. A quarter said they cut back on groceries, while nearly a third spent less on family vacations.
- Insurance costs are rising but policyholders aren't taking action – Rising car insurance premiums forced nearly a quarter of Americans to take out less coverage than they wanted in 2022. Yet 63% didn't shop around for better deals.
- High gas prices spark increased EV interest – After a year in which gas prices reached a record high, nearly half (49%) of American drivers said they are interested in getting an EV as their next vehicle, up from 39% in 2021. Saving money on gas remains the most commonly cited reason for their interest in EVs.
- Preference for Tesla may be waning – Tesla remains the top choice of EV among American drivers, but about two-thirds say another brand would now be their first choice. Ford, Chevrolet and Hyundai are the top picks after Tesla.
- Diehard ICE buyers remain – Still, a slight majority of Americans (51%) say they have no interest in buying or leasing an EV for their next vehicle, pointing to the inconvenience of charging and high vehicle prices as their top reasons.
- The roads are more dangerous – Nearly a third of Americans say driving has become more dangerous since COVID. In 2022, nearly one in five witnessed a driver get out of their car to confront someone in another vehicle. One in five men and nearly one in 10 women say they sometimes keep a loaded handgun within reach while driving.
"The disruption we're experiencing in the car market is likely to continue for at least another year or two," says Henry Hoenig, Jerry data journalist and study author. "Supply-chain problems that have hit vehicle production are not fully resolved and the supply of newer used vehicles likely won't return to normal until at least 2025. This means used-car prices will probably remain elevated, even if they fall somewhat from the recent highs. There's never been more need or demand for Americans to find savings on all their car expenses."
While nearly a quarter of Americans report spending more than 15% of their household's monthly after-tax income on their monthly car payment – before accounting for insurance, gas, repairs, or maintenance – ways to save do still exist. The Jerry app saves both time and money on car expenses. Customers who use Jerry to buy car insurance save, on average, more than $800 a year. Customers who refinance their car loan with Jerry, on average, reduce their monthly payment by $134.
"One of the easiest ways to find savings on some of your larger car expenses, like insurance, is to shop around. Our survey shows that more than half of Americans simply never do," Hoenig added. "Shopping for insurance isn't nearly as antiquated and complex as it once was. Those past, negative experiences are most likely what's been stopping them. We've rebuilt the customer experience from the ground up to do virtually all the work for customers, for free, and in minutes. The savings potential is out there and we hope that what we do makes an even more meaningful difference in many American's lives right now."
The report was released on Jan. 4 in conjunction with Jerry Chief Financial Officer Ed Chung's participation in the Acxiom "Innovations in Data About People" panel at 10 a.m. PT in Las Vegas Convention Center's West Hall, room W219, during CES 2023.
Methodology: Jerry's 2023 State of the American Driver report is based on data from a nationally representative survey of 1,257 respondents conducted in November 2022 using a platform and audience from Pollfish. Results were filtered to include only respondents who own or lease a vehicle and drive regularly, and were blended for age, gender and state. More information about Pollfish and its audiences can be found on its website.
About Jerry: Jerry saves you time and money on your car expenses. Jerry first launched its AI- and machine-learning-based car insurance comparison service in 2019 and today serves more than 3 million customers as a licensed insurance broker and an authorized auto refinance provider. For more information, to save money on car insurance or reduce monthly auto loan payments by refinancing, visit getjerry.com or download the Jerry app in the App Store or Google Play.