One Car Experiment, 13 months later

Wow, I’ve been meaning to write an update forever, but there were so many more interesting things for me to write about. However, now that it has been a FULL YEAR that we have been a one-car family, I felt I had to do an update.

The update? It’s no longer an experiment, it’s a choice. Why would we go back?

In 2017 we spend an average of $52/month on car sharing and road an additional 72-miles/month on our bikes. Not only did we save a ton of money and gas emissions, but we got in some quality outdoors time. Our neighborhood looks so different by bike than it does by car.

During the week, my little and I bicycle to the coop/homeschool hybrid I helped co-found. That means while she does the ride once, I do it twice, so I get a nice six miles a day of biking. This activity had the unintended benefit of “curing” the floating rib issue I’ve had ever since she was born. I also enjoy the fact that not having a car most of the week forces us to interact with the outdoors more.

In terms of cost, we rarely spend more than $30 a month on average on Lyft, which is of course well below what we would pay for the “convenience” of a car. I’ve also found that I’m a lot smarter and more efficient with my errand running on the days that I do have a car, whereas when I had my own car I was a lazy errand runner, doing just one at a time.

REALLY FUNNY EXPERIENCE: Finally, I had a funny thing happen the other day that really cemented the one car thing for me. We have been looking at a plug-in hybrid to replace our one car, however, we are waiting for our existing car to die before we replace it. Anyway, a car salesperson that we had met with called me and asked if we were currently in the market, and I said no. I told him, “I really like not having a car. It’s so much easier.”

After a pregnant pause he said, “I know, right? It’s really not necessary anymore.”

Then we laughed.

I said, “Sounds like you are in the wrong line of work.”

He made a sound that made it clear he agreed.

THE GOOD NEWS: We’ve been taking all the money we’ve been saving and traveling more. Now that’s a trade-off I can get behind any day! Anytime my little complains about biking to school, I do two things. First I think to myself, “There’s no way we aren’t biking now. She needs a little adversity in her life.” Secondly, I say to her, “But what about the trip we have planned to XXX. Would you rather spend that money on a car?” She always says “No” when I ask her that, and then she pumps her little legs a little bit harder. My heart always feels like its going to explode when that happens. She’s learning an important lesson about trade offs and she’s getting in some good cardio to boot.

IN CONCLUSION: Anyway, that’s my update. We are a one-car family for permanent now. Unless something happens that changes our needs. If you are curious about experimenting as a one-car family, my only suggestion is this. Like any big change in your life, you need to commit to it for a long enough period of time that you will see the benefits, not just the challenges. I would say three months is long enough for you to know if you like it.

Good luck and be a spark in the world!