Car Ownership and Car Use: A Psychological Perspective

Janet Veldstra, Berfu Ünal*, Linda Steg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionaryAcademicpeer-review


Car use has a negative impact on the environment and quality of life. CO2-emissions resulting from car-use contribute to global warming, and the particulate matters released to the air reduces the quality of air, thereby posing health threats. Despite these negative consequences, many people still prefer to own and use a car. In the current chapter we discuss what motivates people to own and use a car, by focusing on symbolic, instrumental, affective and environmental motives. Next, we focus on key psychological factors that might explain car ownership and car-use, such as individual, social and perceptual factors. We provide key literature on how these psychological factors could also be used to change behaviour of people to cease car use. Finally, we discuss different transport policies that aim at making people reduce their car-use, such as push and pull measures, and reason when and how these policies could be most effective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Transportation
EditorsRoger Vickerman
ISBN (Electronic)9780081026724
ISBN (Print)9780081026717
Publication statusPublished - 13-Mar-2021


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