While economic and use value alone could explain why it is so difficult for people to live without cars, the health crisis has highlighted other reasons why this might be the case. In the 2017 survey “I love my car”, 9 out of 10 people associated cars with freedom. This is still the case four years later. 47% even believe that the heath crisis has boosted the incomparable freedom that cars offer (Fig. 29).
So they represent freedom, but they also serve as a place of refuge. Indeed, 76% say that when they are in their car they feel protected from the outside world. Again, this is a feeling that has intensified over the course of the crisis according to 46% of respondents.
The familiar pairing formed by China and Turkey are joined by Poland, Brazil and France in espousing these values of freedom and protection (Fig. 30). The Dutch are the least likely, by some distance, to view their vehicles as a place of refuge, a further sign that cars play a less crucial role in the daily lives of people in the Netherlands.