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New York is one of the few American cities where you don’t have to own a car. But during the pandemic, there were lots of trend stories — see Vice, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times — written about how the city’s residents were abandoning mass transit for car ownership. And, like the stories about the residents “fleeing to the suburbs,” it seems at first to make sense on some intuitive level. To support it, car dealers have given breathless accounts of barren showrooms and lots, and the state’s DMV registry reports an 18 percent increase in original car registrations over June and July compared to the same time last year. Used cars are so hot right now that they’re actually appreciating in value. But is New York City becoming a car town in a way it never has been before?

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