As of midnight on July 1, 2012, we are officially a carless family. Crazy, I know! It has been an evolution of sorts, to get to this point, and part of an overall transformation since my position at a nonprofit was eliminated in June, 2009.
Going carless has been on my agenda for a few years. My plan has been to move to the city once my twins started college. They have just finished their freshman year of college, and I am within weeks (hopefully, if the house sale goes through) of moving to the city. The biggest motivation to go carless now is that my license plates expired. In order to renew my plates, my car would need costly repairs. So rather than do those repairs, I decided it made more sense to stop using the car.
When I first thought about not owning a car, cost was not a deciding factor. However, between insurance, gas, and maintenance, owning a car is expensive. Once I live in the city, I will be able to get anywhere I need to go without a car. It’s an easy way to save some money. And I love the side benefit of getting loads of exercise by riding my bike or walking without having to build it into my schedule. When I go someplace now, I am getting a workout too!
However, perhaps the best reason I am going carless, is to do my part to be kind to our planet. I am very concerned about climate change. I think we are naive if we think that all the crazy weather we are experiencing is just a coincidence. There are too many natural disasters, and too much atypical weather for us to ignore what is going on. Cars are a huge contributor to this problem. I have a guilty conscience when I drive, especially when I could have gotten to where I was going without my car. I don’t know that everyone can go carless, but we can all use our cars less. So I am doing my part. Happily
I am definitely concerned about those times when I will “need” a car. On rainy days. When I have something too big to carry on a bike. Or when I just don’t feel like riding my damn bike instead of hopping in the car. But I will get by. There are car share programs like I-GO and ZipCar and rental car companies. It just won’t be quite so convenient and therefore, I won’t do it nearly as often. Which is a good thing for me and for the planet.
Note: Just discovered this post by my friend Julie Urlaub, Founder of Taiga Company: Declare 4th of July Independence from Your Car – Ride a Bike!