Can we manage to live without a car?
Every month Kel and I have a ‘beginning of the month meeting’ – at a local coffee shop, where we discuss issues to do with our work and life in general. Top of the agenda at that meeting today, was the question of the car.
For a long time we’ve discussed the idea of going car-less. We’ve never quite plucked up the nerve to go for it, despite our supposed green credentials. There have always been too many cons opposing the pros – however I think the likelihood that petrol will soon reach £1.30 a litre, aligned with the need for a new cam-belt, the loud scraping noise we hear whenever we go over a bump, the need for a full service and the impressive and growing collection of dents which adorn each and every surface of the car, from the roof to the bonnet, and each and every door – have tipped the balance.
I’m half excited, half worried about the idea of getting rid of the car, concerned about the practicalities of doing the things we are used to doing with a car, but pleased at the idea of getting rid of the main thing which impacts upon our carbon footprint.
Realistically, the car is a burden, not just on the environment, but a financial burden too – we pay £100 per month just on insurance, plus tax, fuel, repairs – it adds up to a lot of money, and we scarcely use it, I think we make approximately three journeys a week, which means that if we pay roughly £40 per week on the car, we are paying approximately £12 per journey. Equivalent (return) bus journeys are about £2.50 per adult – the occasional taxi ride would be quite pricey, but pretty unusual. I personally do most of my around town commuting by bike anyway. Longer journeys will be more of a challenge, particularly with rail travel costs rising, but I think the savings we accrue should allow for a hire car when absolutely necessary.
It feels somehow like a backward step – and yet a step forward at the same time, I’m sure lots of other people manage very well without a car, its just not something I feel comfortable with yet. So, if you have any special tips or reccomendations about going car-less, please do share, and when we do make that final decision – which will have to be soon – I’ll share the details here. So that’s something for you to look forward too…