Since the return to a semblance of normal life after the pandemic lockdown, rising demand for vehicles, electronic parts shortages and shipping delays have driven up prices for new and used cars alike. This leaves low-income people at a particular disadvantage, Evelyn Blumenberg, an urban planning professor at UCLA Luskin, told the Tampa Bay Times. “Low-income houses just do better with a car,” she said. “It’s higher rates of employment, better neighborhoods.” Blumenberg pointed to her research linking cars to stability — even in regions with robust public transit — and showing that losing a car can spell disaster for people whose finances are stretched thin. Preliminary research data also show more people taking out auto loans, with higher dollar amounts, in lower-income neighborhoods that are historically home to cash buyers, says Blumenberg, who is director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies.