I want to drive less

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Whenever I visit a great city like San Francisco, or my favorite beach town, Sayulita, I have fantasies of giving up my car, for good. We are currently a two car family living in a suburb-y area, just outside of a small city. My husband drives about 10 miles each way to work. I work from home, but visit a satellite office and clients all week for appointments. I drop my daughter off at school, and pick her up every afternoon, during the school year. I can’t imagine our current life without a car, but now that I have given it serious consideration, I plan to drive less, right away.

I remember when I was 15 or 16 thinking of the freedom I would have when I could drive a car. Now, I think of the freedom I could have living with out a car! Imagine, no car payment, no car insurance, no maintenance and no filling your car up with money gas every week. Without a car, you don’t need a garage, or have to spend time finding a parking space. The chances of getting into a car accident without a car, are pretty slim. All that being said, I understand that the majority of the people in this country, including myself, have built their lives to include motor vehicles. We didn’t do it maliciously, but now it’s time to take accountability, and take steps to drive less.

Simple Changes for Driving Less

  1. Ride bikes – My husband is an avid cyclist. He races locally and occasionally rides his bike back and forth to work. I am going to encourage him to do it more often. We ride together for fun, but not usually to get from one place to the next. I am going to think about opportunities to utilize our bikes in place of our cars.
  2. Investigate public transportation – I’ve never thought that public transportation would be a viable option for me or my family based on where we live, but I might be missing something. I am going to do some research and see if something might work for us.
  3. Plan meals – Sometimes I go to the grocery store 4 or 5 times a week. I can cut this down to 1 visit just by planning meals better.
  4. Schedule appointments more efficiently – I work from home and sometimes have appointments five days a week. By slightly adjusting my schedule, I could have three days of appointments, and two days that I don’t have to leave the house for work.
  5. Stop shopping for stuff – This is easy for me, although that wasn’t always the case. I will not drive my car anywhere for the sport of shopping. If I need something, I will make a list and purchase what I need, but the frivolous spending is over.
  6. One day commitment – For the month of July, I am going to commit to not driving one day a week, and see if I can maintain this change ongoing.

Other bloggers have made me reconsider my need to drive everywhere. Check out what Everett Bogue of Far Beyond the Stars thinks about how you can actually help with the Gulf oil spill and why Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens thinks we have a moral imperative to drive less.

Giving up your car, or driving less contributes to cleaner air and a heavier wallet. Consider these ideas and learn more about public transportation available in your area, usage based car insurance, zipcar and other car share options, and let me know what inspires you to drive less.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    Great post! My husband and I just purchased a HUGE 12 passenger van to meet the needs of our growing family and to use to tow a travel trailer. He drives the 15 miles to work in a little Subaru and the van is at home for us to use. I just can’t justify driving “The Beast” anywhere for just one errand or for using it here in town (we drove everywhere in our previous minivan). The whole family has discovered it’s really not that hard to walk or bike to the grocery store or the park. AND I’ve lost a few pounds because I can’t drive the Beast through fast food drive-thru’s anymore!!
    Jennifer

  2. says

    I try to stay home at least one day a week. It saves gas, saves money on eating out, saves me the time of my commute into town and saves wear and tear on… well, on me, actually.

    In the last three months, I’ve cut down on the time I spend out (usually including a lot of driving), and I’m enjoying life more — not less.

    If you do have to go out driving, I’ve included a few tips on making the time more productive on my blog. It also explains why I’m not car-free.

    http://www.gipplaster.com/2010/06/23/making-driving-alone-productive-a-do-and-dont-guide/

    Nice post!
    Gip

  3. Tessa says

    I want to drive less this summer, too…nothing is worse than being stuck in traffic in a hot car on a hot day! A bike is much more appealing option.

  4. says

    Very nice post. I’ve been doing the car-light thing for the past 3 year. It’s really liberating. I love removing the “drive to work, work to drive” paradigm.

    Plus I laugh when everyone is stuck in traffic and I blow by them with a smile…

    I’ve been posting a serious of “barriers to commuting work overcome” for those of us that don’t work from home – check it out –

    http://www.fattiresrangefinders.com/barriers-to-commuting-overcome-part-1-how-to

    Very nice post, keep up the good work!

  5. says

    I’ve been wanting to drive less, as well. Today, instead of driving to the local coffee shop, we hoofed it down the street for our coffees and back home again. And even though I could have used the car to get there, I had time and all, I decided to ride my bike down to the jewelry supply store and all the way back home again. It felt great! AND, I discovered I’m actually more fit than I thought I was :)

  6. says

    It is rather nice to know that more people are trying to drive less. I can tell you as someone who is legally blind and thus not allowed to be a “real man” it can be challenging. I’m not blessed to be in a wonderful world like San Fransisco. I’m stuck in car heaven called Palmdale and I grew in a nearby city called Lancaster. Both of these Southern California cities are culturally and technically in the tentacles of Los Angeles one of the countries leading car capitols. If I can walk and ride the public bus system to get around just about anyone ought to be able to do so. Keep up the good work and you will achieve the car-free life.

  7. says

    I love this post! The added benefit to giving up your car (even just for one day a week) is that whatever means of transportation you choose, whether it be bike, foot or public buses, you actively slow down your hectic schedule. At present I walk to get all my groceries and I use the time to reflect on my day and quiet my mind. Not to mention, I notice a lot more about my surroundings by not speeding past everything. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that my thighs a getting a little workout too!
    Thanks for another great post Court!

  8. says

    First, I will tell you that NOT driving is one of the best things you can do. If you can ride your bike, do it. For everything you can. For the last couple of years I’ve done the best I can to bike commute to work at least twice a week. There have been time, especially during a long terminal family illness, when I couldn’t. I simply needed my car all the time, but with some planning it is normally possible to minimize the car use.

    Here’s the negative side of it: I go so into NOT driving that I found myself not doing things I wish I had, because I’d have needed to drive. It went from what I would call Mindfullness about driving habits to Obsession about not driving at all. Where I live, that means some serious deprivation of activities.

    But all that being said, get on the bike, walk, or take public transit. It will make you better.

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