World Economic Forum has not said private vehicle ownership should be restricted to ‘elites’

20 September 2022
What was claimed

The World Economic Forum published a paper calling for an end to private car ownership, and under its plans only the elite will own vehicles and enjoy individual travel.

Our verdict

The article cited as the source for this claim explores alternatives to private car ownership, but it does not call for an end to private vehicle ownership, or for private vehicles to be restricted to “elites”.

A Facebook post claims that the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a paper calling for an end to private car ownership, and that under its plans “only the elite will own vehicles and enjoy individual travel”.

The post shares a link to a post published by news blog Neon Nettle on 22 July 2022, with the headline: “World Economic Forum Calls to End ‘Wasteful’ Private Car Ownership”.

The article in question quotes an article shared on the WEF website on 18 July 2022, titled: “3 circular economy approaches to reduce demand for critical minerals.”

Among the approaches explored in the article is a transition from “owning to using”, with car sharing platforms given as an example of how to “reduce ownership of idle equipment and thus material usage”. It also talks about the “mindset needed to redesign cities to reduce private vehicles and other usage”.

However, at no point does the article call for “an end to private car ownership” or for individual travel and vehicle ownership to be limited to “elites”. The word “wasteful” also does not appear anywhere in the article, despite being placed in quotation marks in the headline of the Neon Nettle post.

Full Fact approached Neon Nettle for comment about its article, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

The WEF previously wrote about alternatives to private cars in a 2016 article titled “Goodbye car ownership, hello clean air: welcome to the future of transport”, which envisioned a future in which “economically independent” autonomous vehicles could be rented out to drivers. This article does appear to suggest that private car ownership could be significantly reduced, but makes no mention of private vehicles being restricted to “elites”.

There are a number of conspiracy theories relating to the WEF circulating on social media, many of which suggest that the organisation, and its founder Klaus Schwaub, along with other secret actors or organisations are responsible for significant social or political events and are attempting to implement their own secret agenda.

We’ve written several articles recently about false and misleading claims relating to the WEF.

Image courtesy of Ivana Cajina

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