Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can You Quit Your Car?

Meep. Meep.
I recently read a blog post by a friend over at EcoBuffalo. They were checking in with their reading audience (of which I'm a part!) about their 3 months of living car-free. I am so genuinely happy for them that they're able to live life without the added cost of owning and using a vehicle, without contributing to the fossil fuel crisis, and while truly experiencing their surroundings by walking, biking, and utilizing public transportation. It's frickin' awesome!

I haven't made it a secret that I'm not very pleased with the purchase of my current vehicle, a 2009 Kia Sportage. There are a number of reasons for this, from gas usage (and cost) to the price of owning a new car (which lost value immediately upon buying the thing) to the fact that the thing has a pretty big eco-footprint. *sigh*

But, at the same time, there's a reason I bought it. I had just gone through two hellish winters working at an uber-rural school, losing control of my old lil' Sentra at LEAST once a week, and several times ending up in ditches. I wanted 4-wheel drive. I'd done a lot of research, and my sister and mother both own Kias -- which they love. Also, admittedly, I wasn't in a very green state of mind at the time of purchase. So, call it a regret, but it is what it is.

Reading Dana and Jon's new-found joys of life without a car, it makes me think about whether it's something that we could do. Unfortunately, I jump to the quick conclusion that it just isn't feasible with our current living situation and jobs. *double sigh*

We've got 2 cars, the Kia and Dave's Saturn Ion. It'd be pretty much impossible for Dave to carpool into work; there really isn't anyone with a similar schedule close enough to where we live (most of 'em are in the Utica area, or boonies). My little issue with carpooling is the general fact that I don't stay late at work, so I'd probably be waiting around for folks to be ready to pile in. I probably could figure something out, but it'd also mean that I'd still have my car -- one week would be mine, another week Mr. X, another week Miss X. *shrugs* Wouldn't solve the problem of being able to get rid of one of our cars, really.

Some day, when circumstances are a little different (ie one of us working from home -- won't give any further indication of whom or how, just that it's in the works ;-D), I think that we will be able to live off of one car.

That being said, I've got a couple of "dream car" ideas that I'll just indulge myself in. Obviously, we're going to drive these cars into the ground as best we can -- but, if I'm able to eventually trade mine in, I'd rather not take it quite THAT far. I'd love to have a hybrid vehicle, but given that technology will undoubtedly be different by the time that I'll be shopping, I'll be doing more research before making such a decision. Otherwise, I've always wanted a VW SportWagen or Jetta, or perhaps a Subaru wagon. I like being able to fit antiques, tons of gardening dirt, or simply pack for a family vacation, so a wagon seems sensible. I highly doubt that I'll own another SUV, though. Sportage is supposed to be a smaller SUV, but when I got it home it was about the same size as my mother's Sorrento -- man, was I disappointed.

So, what about you? Would you be able to quit YOUR car? I wish I was in a situation that a car would be less needed, but, unfortunately, there are simply too many excuses to keep mine.


  1. perhaps in nicer weather... hrmmm... I did consider it when I got my new job, but it will take some work, and some nerves of steel for part of the commute...

  2. I don't have a car, and we're hoping not to get a 2nd one even with the baby - we live within walking distance to parks, the library, playground, pool, and grocery store so I should be set hopefully! I've lived without a car/we've shared one for at least 3 years, and since we paid off the car we use, it's awesome not having payments.

  3. Which "uber-rural" school are you talking about? I know that I couldn't give up my car (the walk to ODY from Herkimer would be too much :) ) plus all the drive that I have to do for soccer games.

    Rupp and I have started to carpool, but my next car purchase will probably be one of the new Sonta hybrids that just came out.

  4. VERY difficult to live without a car in this area. Steven and I are making due with one involuntarily, as you of course know since you've been helping him out with rides. Maybe your vehicle isn't the greenest, but you do need to be safe on our roads. And God forbid you should not have transportation to Ilion Little Theatre!

    If I ever could find a job in Herkimer I will happily swear off my car and walk. Any ideas?

  5. At the moment my nursing student schedule makes it very difficult for me to think that I could get by car-less (or even in a one car household.) Where Jim and I do have buses and trains at our disposal the time constraints on my schedule (sometimes having to be at school by seven or work until midnight and work/school being 30 miles and two trains away from each other and home) makes using public transport unreasonable for us right now.

    I am proud of the fact that both Jim and I are living car payment free though. That economic burden is certainly one we are better off without and as 'uncool' as my car may be I'm perfectly contented driving around in my 16 year old hand me down toyota camry. I do dream of owning a prius someday, but not until my car dies of natural causes (which I'm hoping wont be for several more years!!)