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Socar Survey Shows Growing Awareness of Societal Costs of Car Ownership

Photo by Carl Kho / Unsplash

South Korean car-sharing platform Socar (KRX: 403550) has revealed in its "2023 Private Car Perception Survey" that nine out of ten car owners use their vehicles for less than two hours daily, leaving them parked more than 90% of the time.

The survey also found that 59.6% of respondents acknowledged the societal costs of car ownership, such as traffic congestion and environmental issues, with 43.8% seeing car sharing as a viable alternative to owning a second car.

The survey included 1,200 Korean adults aged 25-54 who had driven a car in the past year. Socar found that 68% of car owners use their vehicles less than 10 hours per week, highlighting the underutilization of private cars.

A significant number of respondents also highlighted the problems associated with car ownership.

Nearly 60% believe that car ownership leads to unnecessary social costs, and this perception was more prevalent in non-Seoul metropolitan areas (62.4%) than in Seoul metropolitan areas (57.8%).

Reasons for not planning to buy a car in the future included financial burden (31%), low usage (28.2%), easy access to public transportation (27.5%), and parking stress (26.8%).

The Socar study also showed a change in the perception of car sharing.

Among car owners and non-owners, 61.4% agreed that car sharing is a necessary social service, while 8.4% disagreed. In addition, 43.8% agreed to replace a second car.

The cost of car ownership was also a vital issue in the survey.

The average car purchase price was KRW 34 million (approximately $25,400), and the monthly maintenance cost was KRW 340,000 (roughly $254).

On an annual basis, this means that more than KRW 4 million is spent on maintaining a car.

Socar CEO Jaeuk Park said, "For the past 12 years, Socar has been striving to provide convenient mobility services for everyone while minimizing the unnecessary social costs of car ownership.

He added that the company will continue to innovate to meet customers' needs across generations and regions.