It was not my dream nor my choice to be a one-car family. It was Jason’s idea and he was pretty adamant about it. When he got rid of his car two years ago and we were left with just my car and his Vespa I was terrified. I hate being dependent on other people to get around, and I also hate feeling like I can’t go where I want, when I want. And Los Angeles isn’t exactly known for it’s amazing public transit system. I was pregnant at the time and feared how the one-car family dynamic would work as I tried to juggle being a new mom, a working mom and a person who enjoyed (and was financially depended on) activities that were pretty car-dependent — like thrifting and furniture shopping.
Now two years later, I am thrilled with the one-car lifestyle. Sure, sometimes I can’t do exactly what I when when I want but all in all the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences, and here’s why:
1.) WE SAVE MONEY. We save about $1500 per year on car insurance, $2000 per year on gas, an estimated $500 per year on parking tickets and $600 on parking. And that doesn’t even include what we might spend on maintaining a vehicle, getting another car seat, registration etc. etc. I’m pretty sure we save at least $6000 per year by sharing one vehicle.
2.) I GET EXERCISE. On the days where I don’t have the car, I bike to meetings, meet-ups and to local cafes where I work. My bike rides have become an integral part of my routine and I love this time that I spend with the wind in my hair, getting my cardio on. And I LOVE a good 2-for-1, getting somewhere and getting exercise at the same time. Score.
3.) I GO PLACES WITH FRIENDS. Whereas before I wouldn’t ever ask friends for rides, or rarely even rally friends to go somewhere together, sometimes I need a ride to places and that means bringing a date! While it sometimes takes me out of my comfort zone to ask people for help, what I’ve found is that more often than not people are happy to give me rides places, and catching up in the car ride and going places together is actually a fun way to strengthen a bond with a friend, or get to know new friends even better.
4.) IT’S GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. Duh!
5.) I SEE A DIFFERENT SIDE OF THE CITY. Many Angelenos live on the Freeways and rarely, if ever, walk or bike to get from point A to point B. What I’ve noticed is that when I walk or bike places, I’m stopping every couple of minutes to snap a photo of some incredible flower, a cool house that’s for sale, or to walk into a weird little thrift shop that I hadn’t noticed before. Being on the streets opens up a whole new side of LA that is totally worth checking out.
6.) I HAVE THE PERFECT EXCUSE. If ever I don’t want to go somewhere, not having a car can get me off the hook. ha!!
7.) NO PARKING NIGHTMARES. Anyone who lives in LA (and I imagine a lot of cities are like this) knows that having one parking spot and two cars is the stuff divorces are made of. Driving around the block eighteen times looking for a parking spot is NOT fun and I don’t miss it one bit.
8.) WE GO PLACES TOGETHER AS A FAMILY MORE OFTEN. We often combine errands and hang together more because we leave the house together. This makes for more family time and hanging out together.
Would you ever consider switching to a one-car lifestyle?