The original claim was that an average working person couldn't pay cash, rather than get a loan, for a reliable vehicle until late in life. A mechanically reliable vehicle can be had for $5k. According to the BLS, the average income for 20-24 (years old) is ~$2500 per month. Save just 8% of that for 3 years, and someone would have over $7k to buy a used reliable vehicle at the age of 23 (assuming you started working at 20). For $7k, they could buy a Mitsubishi Mirage still under warranty with less than 30k miles, or a Nissan Versa/Ford Focus with less than 50k miles. I just used my car as an example, which I'd drive cross country at any given moment, but it has been extremely well maintained. I am not suggesting that most 20 year old vehicles should be purchased for long distance commuters. I'm just saying that an average (not late in life) working person does not have to get a loan to buy reliable transportation. ETA: My grandson bought Ford Focus for "long distance" commuting (about 35 miles each way), rather than drive his 2500 diesel pickup. I think he paid <$2K for it, and ended up putting about another $600-$700 in it over two years. It kept 30k miles off of his truck, saved him about $4,000 in fuel expenses, and he sold it for about what he paid for it. It was a ragged-out POS, it did leave him on the side of the road once. ETA: I asked him about it tonight. He bought it for $400. He put another $1000 in it for two years (tires, brakes, battery, tie rods), so $1400. Two years later, the water pump went out on the way to work. He was working the night shift, so he left it on the side of the interstate (I-55, near Brooks Road, at about 6:00p; and called a coworker to pick him up. He called the tow truck to meet him at 7:30a. When he got there, the tires/wheels and battery were stolen. The tow truck driver offered him $500, as is, where is. He took the offer.