Going car free? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-20-2008, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've only had a car for two years, and I survived just fine before that, but for some reason making the leap to car free again just seems so hard. I really feel like I don't need my car, and it's just a total convenience thing... having it there totally enables me to be lazy and drive places where I could easily take public transit, walk or bike. And I drive a prius, which I think is a great thing on one hand, but the more I drive it the more I feel like a big huge hypocrite... I hate the mentality of the hybrid... the whole holier than thou feeling, and I totally don't feel like that. I just feel guilty and lazy and that I'm definitely not "helping the environment" by driving it, just trying to appease my conscience and rationalize my driving addiction

Right now would be the perfect time to get rid of it... my lease doesn't end for another two years, but the dealership is practically begging me to sell it back to them. People desperately want this car, and they are willing to PAY me extra to sell it them, and give me a free appraisal, do all the work. But for some reason i just keep clinging onto the feeling that I need it and that i will hugely regret my decision... I keep reminding myself the times when its really beneficial to have the car... for example i cant visit my parents or inlaws, or my dads family's summer home, without a car... all of them require long long (sometimes veeeerrry long, think 8 hours of bus for a 1 hour driving trip, plus someone picking us up in the middle of nowhere and driving another 30 mins) trip. Or driving out to local farms to pick my own berries... aww how could I not do that?? Things like that.

I know they are all things I need to do only a few times a year, and I dont feel it is worth it to have the car there begging to be driven 365 days a year when I only truly need it very seldom... and I know it is definitely doable, because my neighbour friend is car free and they rent a car whenever they "need" it. I feel like I have to let go of my attachment to personal ownership of a private vehicle, maybe just go cold turkey? Like ripping off a bandaid...

Anyone BTDT? Advice? Thoughts?
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#2 of 15 Old 06-20-2008, 01:17 PM
 
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car-lite, almost car-free mama over here

in how to live well without owning a car by chris balish he raises the issue of feeling limited in what you can do. this is one of my biggest concerns with going car-free but he points out that you most likely will be limited in some of the things you want to do but ditching your car also allows you a tremendous amount of freedom in many other ways. it's all a matter of balancing out your needs. what can you sacrafice? what can't you? have you exhausted all other possible alternatives to driving? if you only have one or two things you need the car for, is it worth the expense of payment, insurance, gas, parking, and the expense to the environment etc. etc. just for those one or two things?

Christy wash.gif Mom to DS 4/21/04 reading.gif DD 9/20/09  dust.gif DD 7/2/11jog.gif

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#3 of 15 Old 06-20-2008, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by laketahoemama View Post
car-lite, almost car-free mama over here

in how to live well without owning a car by chris balish he raises the issue of feeling limited in what you can do. this is one of my biggest concerns with going car-free but he points out that you most likely will be limited in some of the things you want to do but ditching your car also allows you a tremendous amount of freedom in many other ways. it's all a matter of balancing out your needs. what can you sacrafice? what can't you? have you exhausted all other possible alternatives to driving? if you only have one or two things you need the car for, is it worth the expense of payment, insurance, gas, parking, and the expense to the environment etc. etc. just for those one or two things?
Thanks! I've ordered a copy of the book off of amazon.

I've seen things in several environmental documentaries about car sharing programs... why don't we have that around where I live? I guess I could rent a car for when we *need* it, but I (purposely) dont use credit cards and would like to keep it that way, as well, im not really sure how much that would cost... i'll have to look into it.
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#4 of 15 Old 06-21-2008, 04:48 AM
 
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I say sell it - just do it! We're car free and it works great. I see NO point in teaching my kids to recycle/eat organic/etc while owning a car. I understand that some people have to have a car, but for those of us who live places where walking/cycling/public transportation is an option, having a car is a way to help destroy the planet for the future of our children. :
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#5 of 15 Old 06-21-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I admire you and have only one piece of advice - sell it yourself! You will make more money and shouldn't have any problem finding a buyer (and if you do, you can always take it to the dealer at that point.)

If you're wondering about doing paperwork, etc, PM me...I'll walk you through it.

So this is bliss! Proud mama to Katie, born gently at home 10/4/09, wife to my nursing student hubby (LPN down, RN here we come!), and coming in September....Katie's little brother!
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#6 of 15 Old 06-21-2008, 06:55 PM
 
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Totally BTDT! We were car-free (my husband doesn't even have his licence) but when we moved to Halifax about 2.5 years ago we bought a car. We didn't even think about it - I had lived in the Halifax area in high school/while going to university and it never occurred to me that you could live here without a car. I hated Halifax buses! And a big part of the appeal of moving here was how quick you could get out of the city and enjoy the countryside. But, we didn't want to be big car users so made sure we bought a house within walking distance of most things and good bus routes. My husband walks two miles to work everyday and loves it (even when we had a car - I had no intention of being his chauffeur!). Anyhow, so I went in cycles between using the car very little (mostly just for weekends out of the city - also where my sister and parents live there is no public transport to it, so we'd drive there) and being annoyed about having this very expensive driveway ornament, and using the car too much and feeling guilty about my excessive car use (though most people probably wouldn't have considered it excessive). So we sold the car about six months ago and I love it! It did take us about 9 months from the time I decided I wanted to do it to actually doing it - lots of second thoughts, like you are having, and the time just never was right, but finally we just did it. We rent a car when we need one and it's cheaper overall for us. Now there are some downsides, certainly - we don't go to see my family as often as we used to, but honestly not a huge amount less (I guess we didn't go that often anyhow) - now though my nan has had a serious stroke and the hospital she's in is about an hour's drive away with no public transport so it's difficult to see her - in this case not having a car really really sucks. We don't do as many weekends away but that helps with keeping to budget and less driving, which we are happy with environmentally. Our life is based more at home and in the city, and feels more simple and relaxing overall - except on weekends when we rent a car, which is chaos packing everything in! Anyhow, no regrets here so far! I thought winter would be the hardest but it was easy - now I'm thinking summer will be the hardest from a 'want' perspective - wanting to go to the beach, wanting to go to u-picks, etc. We will still do those things, just not as much. I guess we will just really appreciate it when we do!

Just do it!!
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#7 of 15 Old 06-22-2008, 05:26 AM
 
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do you have Autoshare or zip car in your neighbourhood-- that way if you need a car you can just get it by the hour.
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#8 of 15 Old 06-23-2008, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the encouragement everyone!! Sounding tempting...

Hmm... sell it myself? I am leasing it through a dealership though.
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#9 of 15 Old 06-23-2008, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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do you have Autoshare or zip car in your neighbourhood-- that way if you need a car you can just get it by the hour.
Nope, pretty sure we don't. But if we did rent a car I'd rent it for maybe one weekend per month, or a couple days when I go to visit my country living relatives.
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#10 of 15 Old 06-23-2008, 08:24 AM
 
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Nope, pretty sure we don't. But if we did rent a car I'd rent it for maybe one weekend per month, or a couple days when I go to visit my country living relatives.
We had planned on renting one weekend a month, but actually haven't been renting that often at all. What we've been doing (so far - still early days this time around!) is renting less often in the winter (since we aren't big winter people) and more often in the summer. It's also more expensive to rent in the summer so renting less in the winter means we can save money towards the summer.

We don't have a zip car program in our city yet, but one's supposed to be starting this summer, woo hoo! And with gas prices going as they are, I suspect more will open up all over the place, so one might be coming your way! Fingers crossed!

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
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#11 of 15 Old 06-23-2008, 09:59 AM
 
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Those few things that happen during the year is when we rent a car. It ends up being cheaper than owning and maintaining a car for us. (and Sweden is not cheap for car rentals!)

We also have car sharing clubs here in stockholm, but the price is not worth it for us.

So I vote for selling it back to them!

Mum to DS (8yrs), DD (6yrs), and DS(3.5yrs). kid.gif

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#12 of 15 Old 06-23-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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I wish I could live without a car . We live in an area where everything is sooo insanely spread out and most of the buses dont go straight to the areas we need to go. Its actually kind of a crappy system outside of the immediate city (seattle). I do take the bus to the mall, since it stops right outside my house and goes straight there and we usually walk across the street to the store when we arnt doing a huge shopping trip (which is usually at costco anyway, and a ways away from here). Our natural foods store is about a 20 minute drive from here-and would take about an hour to get to on the bus, each way. Dh works at Microsoft and taking the bus there just wont happen (he timed it out to almost 2 hours!), but if he gets a permanent position, he'll be taking the commuter (they dont let temps use this service, heh). Its just so spread out and the bus services, at least sometimes, make NO sense, lol.

We are working on a veggie oil/biodiesel car though so at least it'd be less of an impact

Cari-mama to Eriq, Lile, Paikea, Kaidyn, and Mieke is here!! 2/9/10
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#13 of 15 Old 06-23-2008, 01:51 PM
 
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We are almost 100% car-free. My mom watches my 17 mo at my home while DH and I work. She drives over to my place (a 5 min drive) and I take her car (11 year old toyota) to work which is about a 5 mile commute each way. I only fill up once a week at a cost of about $30. I pay for her liability insurance as well at about $75/month. So I'm averaging $195 or so a month.

DH just bought a bike and he commutes to both school and work. He's a personal trainer and he's adjusted well to biking. He'll even bike to get groceries and he can carry quite a bit!

We've signed up for Zipcar to use for errands/day trips but otherwise we're fine without a car.

I guess we're not 100% car-free because I use my mom's car but it'd cost me more to Zipcar to work and the commute by bus turns my 20 minute commute each way into 70-80 minutes which robs me of time at home.

I do use her car to stop by the store for groceries or items on my way home so we're actually doing really well for being primarily car-less. We've covered our basic needs and luckily we're 2 miles away from a hospital if we ever had an emergency and only 1 mile from my mother and her car (which she's happy to lend us).

Zipcars are great, it includes the cost of gas and insurance, and in my area (close in suburbs of DC) it's very very convenient. We're also fortunate to live within walking distance of many stores. Even better, we're a block away from 2 different public bus systems and one system takes us to the Metro (public rail) in 15 minutes. We can take the Metro into downtown DC in under 15 minutes and not worry about traffic, parking, and just relax.

Once DS gets older though and more involved in activities and play dates, etc, it'll take more effort but for now it's completely working for us.
Next, we're looking at investing into a bike trailer for DS to ride in.
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#14 of 15 Old 06-25-2008, 11:04 AM
 
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Let the dealership have it back, especially as they will pay you extra! The savings in gas, insurance and car payments will far more than cover the few times you get a rental or use Zipcar.
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#15 of 15 Old 06-25-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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My dream is to be car free...but for now we must settle on buying a hybrid civic (our gas guzzling old mini van is going to konk out at any moment..we are waiting for the civic to come in...still a month to go)..we live in the middle of Car Capital of the universe/Sprawl ville ...and I also have to have a car as part of my "employment agreement".....

If I could go car free I would do it in a second....and it is still our ultimate goal.

So, my vote is- if you can feasibly do it..DO IT! Let them have the darn thing back!
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