CarGurus Survey Finds College Grads Will Drive Smart Financial Decisions

Millennials show reasonable car shopping expectations but uninformed about added costs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 5, 2016 -- CarGurus (, the most popular car shopping website in the US, today released a survey showing that this year's college graduates are showing signs of financial responsibility in their attitudes towards car purchasing and commuting. The survey showed that college graduates plan to buy moderately-priced used cars, and there is a strong trend towards financial independence with very few of them expecting that their parents will pay for the purchase.

Key survey findings include:

You're not getting a Porsche, dude

This year's college graduates are independent and responsible when it comes to buying a car.

  • 57 percent of those students getting a new car will pay for the entire purchase
  • Only 13 percent of those getting a new car expect that their parents will buy them one
  • 67 percent of those getting a new car plan to purchase a used car
  • 46 percent of those getting a car expect to spend $15,000 or less

Baby, I'm going to drive my car

The survey also found that many grads are planning to commute to their job by car.

  • 71 percent plan to drive their car to work, rather than use public transportation
  • 58 percent of those surveyed will have a job in a city
  • 40 percent plan to live in the city after graduation

Knowing is half the battle

These young adults are realistic about car costs, but they also showed that they have more to learn when it comes to car ownership costs. While the average auto insurance cost for this age group is close to $2,000:

  • 25 percent think auto insurance will cost $250 or less per year
  • 28 percent think auto insurance will cost $500 per year

Sharing may be for caring, but it's not for commuting

While car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are wildly popular, this year’s grads do not have plans to use them as a replacement for buying a car.

  • Just 1 percent of those with a job after graduation said they will use a ride-sharing service to commute

"We are pleasantly surprised to learn that today's college students have relatively rational and moderate expectations toward the cars they'll buy after graduating and how much they plan to spend," said CarGurus Editor Steve Halloran. "We also found that this group has a lot to learn about car ownership costs, but our survey demonstrates they clearly want to be financially independent and make sound decisions."

CarGurus conducted this survey using Google Consumer Surveys and analyzed responses from 300 college students that plan to graduate within the next year.

About CarGurus

Founded in 2007 by Langley Steinert, co-founder of TripAdvisor, CarGurus is a leading online automotive shopping destination focused on bringing transparency and efficiency to the car research and shopping experience. The site uses technology and market data analysis to help millions of automotive shoppers search for cars and quickly identify the best deals from top-rated dealers in their local area. Today, the site serves more than 20 million unique monthly users and more than 15,000 car dealerships, and ranks #1 among car shopping websites in the U.S. by daily unique visitor traffic. CarGurus also has sites in the UK and Canada.

Brian Kramer