The Finances of Teen Drivers

Does the car-related cash flow spring from student's or parent's pocketbooks?


Da'Jai Wesson

Junior Dazia Sorensen stands by car in the high school parking lot. She bought her car by herself when she first turned 16. Sorensen makes all the payments on her car, with the occasional help from her parents.

Da'Jai Wesson, Editor

Being a teen entails many new responsibilities, especially when the privilege of driving is involved. Car insurance, gas, and repairs are all among the added finances. But the question is whose responsibility is it to pay for those finances, and who does? The parents, or the students? 

A recent poll taken by various Atlantic high schoolers showed that 76% of students do not pay for their own car insurance. The poll also showed that 7% pay for a portion of the insurance, and 17% pay for all of it. Another poll taken by AHS students showed that 22% of students don’t pay for their own gas, 24% pay for it sometimes, and 53% of students pay for all of it. These are common ratios across the United States, which can be found in an article on The Zebra. Most parents pay for their children’s car finances, including anything from gas, insurance or speeding tickets based on their yearly income. The statistics show that the higher the yearly income of the parents, the higher the percentage of parents who pay for their child’s car expenses is. 

As mentioned previously, 17% of students at AHS pay for their own car insurance. Junior Dazia Sorensen is included in this 17%, along with the 53% that pay for their own gas. Sorensen is fully financially responsible for everything regarding her car and has been since last August when she purchased it herself. Sorensen considers this to be beneficial for her, and for her future. “It gives me more of a sense of responsibility,” she said, explaining that it teaches her how to make better financial decisions. “I think it will teach me how life will be like as an adult.” Although her parents make her carry this responsibility, they always offer her help when she needs it. “Sometimes I need help making the payments for everything,” she said. Regardless, Sorensen thinks all teens should be responsible for their car payments, as it’s something that she believes should be worked for. “I don’t think everything should just be given to you.”