Or, How About NOT Driving?

I’ve been kicking this idea around in my head for the past couple of months…

Gas is getting ridiculously expensive. Like… srsly. It doesn’t really look like it’s gonna be getting lower anytime soon either. My truck is getting expensive to keep drivable… the high mileage oil costs almost twice as much as the regular oil… my car insurance keeps going up (wtf? I can’t figure out why because I have no tickets and no accidents so it shouldn’t be getting more expensive…) uhhhhm, oh yeah and it’s doing this really cool stalling thing when I am braking. Yeaaaah. I can’t really afford to take it to the mechanic. I’m sure it just needs a tuneup but even those tend to be a couple hundred bucks that I simply don’t have budgeted to spend on the truck.

So according to the Kelley Blue Book, I could feasibly get $2-3k for my truck… that wouldn’t be bad. Then I can do one of two things…

I can either buy a (hopefully) more gas-economical little car with that money…
Or I can just not have a vehicle for a while and put that money in savings. Gain some interest on it and experience not having a car. I’ve been gathering lots of life-experiences lately, it’s pretty cool. Anyway, I’d save money on insurance and gas which will be cool, since my other bills seem to be getting bigger, and I’m getting paid less here. The monthly pass for the MAX and buses costs less than my insurance alone.

Down in L.A. I would have *never* even CONSIDERED not having a car. I almost feel like having that ingrained into me is why I haven’t already jumped ship and gotten rid of the truck. I love my truck but I kind of wonder if I actually NEED it. Hmmm. The MAX is really cool and runs often. It’s a 4 minute walk from my new home (I’m moving over the next couple weeks) to the stop there, and then a 4 minute walk from the MAX to my work, so that would mean I wouldn’t have to find parking here (it’s a nightmare). I already take the MAX to go to Downtown cause it’s faster most of the time and parking over there blows too. The buses seem to go pretty much everywhere that the train doesn’t go…. lots of people get around just fine without having a vehicle. My new roommate has a car so I can go grocery shopping with her, which is really the only time when you actually NEEEEEEEEEED a car no matter how close the public transportation is.

But I dunno. I can’t decide if I should go carless or not.

8 Responses to “Or, How About NOT Driving?”

  1. yoshi Apr 18, 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    I’m all for public transportation really. I used to do it all the time when I lived in Japan. Of course, their public transportation included trains as well, and that enabled you to go further places faster than the bus. (and you never have to worry about traffic.)

    Also, it’s more “Green”. now that you’re using public transportation, you’re making less pollution. *applause*

    Oh and finally, you don’t even need a car for groceries. In this day and age of internet, safeway/albertsons will deliver your groceries to your front door.

  2. Colin B. Apr 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    It’s totally worth it not having a car. If your commute is covered by bus or train routes then you’d save a lot of money and the environment would be thankful. Since your roommate has a car then you can totally share it if you need to do a lot of grocery shopping and can’t carry it on the bus. That’s IF she agrees to that.

    I say you do it or at least give it a try!

    xx

  3. Mindizzle Apr 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    When I moved up here from Salem a few months back, I went cold turkey.  My credit sucks so I couldn’t get a car if I wanted to, and I didn’t have one then.  So, honestly, it’s really not that bad.  My walk from home to bus then bus to work is about the same as yours, and it’s really nice.  I get a bit of exercise I don’t normally get for the day walking (nice when you have a desk job, no more feeling like a lazy blob!), and, like you said, no worries with parking!

    My 2 cents: try it.  Even more so now that it’s starting to get warmer, best time to try!  Sell your car, save it at least though the summer, and buy a car if you really want to. :)  Or maybe try getting a week bus pass and see if you can do it? 

    Also, since, I agree, groceries is a pain without a car, so I invested in a zipcar membership.  So if I must drive I can, and it costs almost nothing!

    All in all, saving the extra money, the fresh air, and all that.  It’s worth it to try!  The only downside so far: Creepy bus people.  I just dealt with one yesterday.  :[

    </preaching>

  4. Aimée Apr 19, 2008 at 7:23 am #

    How long is your commute to work?

    I don’t know if you feel comfortable with it, or how often you use your car to carry stuff, but a scooter or motorcycle would be amazingly gas efficient and parking would be much easier to find (usually there are motorocycle designated spaces or areas that are rarely used).

    I personally depend a ton on my car and couldn’t give it up, but after living in the UK I’ve really discovered how easy it is to use public transportation – and how easy it is to rely upon it, but unrightly so.  It’s not necessarily on time, whereas if you’re driving you know when you’ll leave and when you’ll get there (usually).

    Yeah, a truck is a bit unnecessary, I’d say… a gas economic car would probably be your best bet!  Going from relying on a car to not at all is a daunting task.  I’m sure you could do it, but be sure you think it through!  Good luck! :D

  5. cybrpunk Apr 21, 2008 at 6:14 am #

    I’d say if you CAN go without a car with not too many problems then its worth a try at least.  You can always pick up another car and suffer through what you don’t like in the meantime till you get that other car.

    We haven’t had a car for almost two years but it’s by necessity more than anything.

  6. sir jorge Apr 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm #

    I walk 4 miles to work…it’s rough.

    I have a 2006 Ford Focus.

    I rarely drive it, only once in the morning, and my wife drives it once at night (to pick me up).

    Gas isn’t all that bad when you don’t go anywhere….although commuters are probably going to feel it hard.

  7. Jules Apr 28, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    I know absolutely nothing of public transportation It sounds like you have good options there though?

    I feel you on the gas though. I’ve only been driving the truck when I actually need to… the Honda has been getting pretty bad mileage, I’m thinking I might trade it in for a newer one.

  8. Wes May 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    Go public transportation!

    I love the MAX and I’ve lived in Portland for two years without needing a car at all.  I’ve never not been able to get somewhere in Portland because of my lack of a vehicle.