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There are numerous reasons to forgo ownership of a vehicle. And hence, numerous ways that going car-free can contribute to your personal freedom.
If your particular motivation is concern for the environment, then removing your car from the equation is a no-brainer. The average car emits one pound of carbon for every mile driven. Moreover, automobile exhaust is a major cause of lung disease in adults and asthma in children.
If fear is your operative, consider that automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 40. In Canada alone, hundreds of citizens die every day in accidents.
However, the best reason to go car-free, and the one that contributes the most to your sense of freedom, is the obvious financial savings. We don’t even need to discuss the fact that a new car depreciates by nearly half its value the moment it is driven off the lot.
The main reason that people will tell you they own a vehicle is for “convenience”. Though there’s very little that’s convenient about budgeting for costly insurance, regular maintenance, unforeseen breakdowns, registration, car washes, parking fees, and on and on and on. Did I even mention gas prices? Even the daily expenditure of gasoline now exceeds the cost of public transit for the same period of time. You could go one better than public transit by riding a bicycle – trimming your wallet and your waistline.
For encouragement in making the transition to a carless lifestyle, Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens has written a compelling 80-page practical guide to going car-free with a bent towards conscious cycling. She and her partner shed not one, but both of their vehicles and got themselves out of a heap of debt while simplifying their lives and maintaining a healthy lifestyle on bicycles.
Unquestionably, a car is ideal for road trips or long distance moves (provided all your belongings can fit in the trunk), but for what you can save on all the costs associated with vehicle ownership, you can always rent. Your best option? Support a smart, minimalist-friendly company like Zipcar.
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