Why I have a car

Yes, it’s true. I didn’t stay car free. After one year of being without a car, I bought a 1994 small station wagon. Why? You thought I had everything worked out. Why would I go back to the repair bills, the gas money, the insurance, the wanton pollution??

Well, I left out one very small detail in my post How to Live Without a Car.

Tip #5 on being car-free:

DON’T have a business that requires you to buy copious amounts of wood!

That was the biggest reason I left the ranks of the car-less. I didn’t want to depend on my neighbor for her car. [Which was fortunate, because she ended up moving unexpectedly a few months after I got my car.]

The other reason was that I was so sick of taking the bus. The bus was my savior, but let’s not pretend riding the bus is not without it’s frustrations. There were times it came early and made us miss it, and we’d be waiting for another hour before the next one came. There were times it came 20-30 minutes late. And let’s not forget, it took a half an hour or more to get somewhere 7 minutes away from your house. You couldn’t just pop out to the store for a half gallon of soy milk and come right home.

Plus we were stuck in town. We couldn’t go do anything outside of our immediate town.

When you don’t have a car, you tell people that these are minor annoyances. That the benefits out weigh the negatives. That in our rush to save time having a car, we spend much more time working to afford that car.

And all of these things are true. I meant them, and I still agree with them. But once you have a car again, you delight in not having to wait and wait and wait for the bus while you grow more and more irritable. It’s wonderful to be able to run down to Dollar General to get something you need for dinner and come right home. It’s glorious to be able to go to the creek every other night during the summer and bask in the sound of rushing water and the cool mountain air.

And it’s very useful to be able to go to get wood whenever you need it. To be able to wait until 4:45 to leave for the post office when necessary. To be able to drive to Pittsburgh for a raw foods meetup group or to go to the children’s museum or to pick up relatives at the bus stop.

All those things are good, but I still wouldn’t have a car, if I lived near my family or old friends. If my mother lived down the street, and I could borrow her car once a week to go somewhere, I would still be enjoying the freedoms of not worrying about a vehicle.

Not having a car is a worthy goal. Especially if you are trying to live on as little money as possible. I encourage everyone to give it a shot. You never know what it will be like until you try. Even though I have a car now, I know that I can survive without one. Could you?

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3 thoughts on “Why I have a car

  1. We are a two car family and we likely could survive on just one. It would take a lot of adjustments, compromise and planning, but it is doable. Not having any car at all would be very difficult.

  2. My brother and his family live in Chicago and while they have a car, they rarely use it. It’s mostly to get them to Michigan to visit family. I would love just having one car, but no car would be too difficult where I live. Did you ever try to haul lumber on the bus? Now that would have been an experience! 🙂

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