The cost of learning to drive is the biggest reason why the proportion of young people passing the test is falling, official figures show.
Just 29% of people aged 17 to 20 hold a full licence compared with 35% a decade ago, according to Department for Transport (DfT) data for England.
The research revealed that almost half (44%) of those not trying to get on the road say the cost of learning to drive is one of the factors.
This is followed by the cost of insurance (31%) and buying a car (28%), with almost a quarter (24%) saying friends and family can drive them when necessary.
Fewer than one in five (19%) say they are not interested in driving.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "For all the speculation that we are seeing a seismic shift in lifestyle choice by young people, these figures reveal a more basic, economic reality - many are simply being priced off the road.
"Almost 95% of those aged 17 to 20 currently without a licence say they'd get one if they could.
"It's easy to understand why: Many jobs require people to be able to drive and outside of the big cities independence comes from having a vehicle.
"This is something the Chancellor would do well to remember when he comes back to motoring taxes in the autumn."