No car? No problem.September 21, 2009Jon Brooks 1 Comment »
Owning a car can be quite a cash-draining proposition. Repeat expenditures include gas, insurance, and repairs, and over decades of driving you could probably put your kid through college in what it costs in fuzzy dice alone. From the New York Times “Wheels” blog earlier this year:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American “consumer units” (similar to a household) spent an average of $8,758 on all forms of transportation in 2007 (up 2.9 percent from 2006). We’re a car-owning country, so only $537.81 of our average spending went to public transit, including taxis and air travel.
You can use this “Real Costs of Car Ownership” calculator to determine your own outlay. Or, if you haven’t already done so, you might just get rid of your car, save thousands of dollars each year, and re-discover your inner pedestrian.
The Web, naturally, can help. Financial considerations are just one factor driving—or should we say, powering but not via the internal combustion engine—the car-free movement. Environmental, quality-of-life, and even geo-political concerns have motivated this growing community to take to the Web.
Regional resources also abound. The San Francisco Bay Area, a hotbed of pro-bike, anti-car activity, boasts perhaps the deepest network of sites on the topic. Less Car, More Life, for example, is written by “a group of San Franciscans who believe that life is better the less you drive. Getting out of your car is fun, freeing, and financially smart.” And a new blog called Car-Free Outdoors features “Bay Area adventures” accessible without a car. But you can find similar blogs and web sites covering just about any area in the country:
- carfree chicago
- Car Light Family Minneapolis
- Streetsblog LA
- Streetsblog New York
- Saint Louis Urban Workshop
- Bike Portland
- Bike Pittsburgh
- D.C. CommuterPageBlog
So take that pedal off the metal, run don’t walk to the nearest bike or mass transportation station, and quit driving yourself crazy, already. It can be done.