The Benefits of Not Owning a Car
Does your car stays parked in your garage, driveway, or underground parking lot for days at a time because you often walk, ride your bike, or take public transit? Have you ever actually considered ditching your car? Depending on your lifestyle, you might be thinking about how to get rid of a car, and there can be benefits of not owning a car.
There are many valid reasons for doing so, and some of the reasons will benefit you directly, while others will benefit the planet as a whole.
In the last few years, many self-serve car-sharing services have sprung up in larger cities around the world. They include Zipcar, Car2Go and CarHopper, to name a few. These affordable car-sharing programs are quite convenient because you can make online reservations and pick up a car at a nearby location for short periods of time (hourly, half-day, daily, etc.).
As a result, you can accomplish activities you might not be able to easily walk or ride your bike to, such as doing your grocery shopping, running other errands, going to visit out-of-town friends/family, or taking a day trip to the beach or country. So, let's look at the benefits of not owning a car.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Ditching Your Car?
This is probably one of the most obvious personal reasons for getting rid of your car. You will save money by not having to pay for gas, car insurance, maintenance, or making monthly car payments. Not to mention the cost associated with renewing your license, or paying for public parking when you go out. Many people don't realize how expensive owning a car is until they no longer have to pay for it, and can use that money for something else.
In addition, no vehicle will last forever. So, if you join the ranks of the carless, you will never have to purchase or lease another vehicle again. Think of the thousands and thousands of dollars you could potentially save!
Reduction of Your Carbon Footprint and Other Environmental Benefits
Your individual carbon footprint is defined as the total of all the carbon dioxide emissions produced by your various activities, within a certain time frame. Among other things, if you give up driving, you will significantly reduce your personal carbon footprint.
You will be doing your part to help reduce harmful air pollution, improve the environment, and slow down the overall negative effects of climate change.
In addition, by choosing to walk and/or ride your bike, you will help to save your city’s infrastructure from the weight of your car. Many cities have designated bike lanes or paths specifically for commuting, so it's easy to get around to popular destinations. Taking a bike or walking will also mean you get some exercise in, too, so you're helping the planet and yourself stay healthy.
There are also several physical and mental health benefits to giving up a motorized vehicle. Walking or riding your bike to work, to get errands done and to participate in leisure time activities will help in the maintenance or improvement of your overall health.
You can control your existing body weight or even lose a few unwanted pounds, strengthen your back and other muscles, lower your blood pressure, and lower your cholesterol and/or blood sugar levels. Spending time outside will also help improve your mental health, and help you feel more relaxed and combat any stress.
No doubt, your employer will also thank you when you give up your car. You will probably not take nearly as many sick days, plus if you are more physically fit and more mentally alert, you will actually be much more productive in your everyday job functions.
Better Sense of Community
Without a car, you will have to rely on public transport, walking, or biking. This might seem annoying at first, but it provides you the opportunity to get to know your neighborhood better, and interact with your community. You might stumble upon a new store, meet people on walking trails, or get better acquainted with nearby short cuts. You'll also have more time to slow down and enjoy your surroundings.
Another option to get around is carpooling. If you know your neighbors, you might be able to organize rides to local events, which will let you socialize even more than before. Not having your own car won't seem like such a burden once you realize how many other options are easily available.
After seriously considering the benefits of not owning a car, as well as all the financial, environmental and personal health benefits, perhaps you should ditch your ride.