Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Less Car

Finally. I am no longer a car owner. What a relief!

We aren't a completely car-free household. Mr. Step-through (who would probably prefer to be known as "Diamond Frame") owns a car. So when he moved in, we had two adults and two cars. But we only made a couple of driving trips per week, usually together in his car. Meanwhile, my car was starting to develop some issues due to deferred maintenance... deferred for years. The registration renewal was coming due. And when I got a repair estimate that was easily twice the actual book value of the car, I had to ask "Why?"

Why invest so many thousands of dollars and effort on something that I hadn't used in months? Why fill up the driveway? Why keep something that was effectively the world's largest paperweight? So I took it out to one of those big box car lots and sold it for some pocket change. Ironically, getting rid of your car involves going to one of the most car-oriented stretches of the region, a six-lane divided arterial off the interstate. Don't let the sidewalk in this photo fool you - it went about 100 feet and then ended.

I immediately felt a great sense of relief. When you don't drive all the time, owning a car becomes a real chore. You have to make a special effort to drive it often enough to prevent the brakes from seizing up or the battery from draining. You have to run home from work to take it for an emissions test or oil change. Do you own the car or does it start to own you?

No more, though... No more insurance or registration or repairs or oil changes. No more worry. We can use Mr. Step-through's car to schlepp stuff home from the hardware store or visit sketchy areas late at night. Heck, I can rent a car for road trips if I want to, it would still be cheaper than owning one. And maybe someday there will be a car-sharing program that actually serves my neighborhood. Whatever happens, I'll be enjoying the bicycle, bus, train, and my own two feet as much as possible!