Getting your Driver’s License is a rite of passage, followed by saving enough money to afford car insurance and your first car. But do the math now. You might be shocked at how much your lease, car payment, and insurance cost. And that is before you factor in gas, maintenance, and repairs. With all the modern alternatives in transportation, you might be wondering if you should ditch your car?
It Depends Where You Live
I lived in Chicago for 16 years. Because cabs and public transportation are so accessible, it’s long been a city where many adults never obtain a driver’s license. Growing up in a town where the buses ran only once or twice an hour, and only to limited locations—I was used to driving a car. After a few years of living in Chicago I did the math, and realized I was paying more to park my car in Chicago each month than I was to drive it. So, if you are in a rural area, a car may be required. If you are in a mid-sized or large city, there’s plenty of room for debate.
Your Carless Options
Before you decide to ditch your car, you need to learn more about your carless options. Below are just a few:
- Uber, Lyft, and Juno provide you 24-hour a day alternatives to taxis.
- Taxis are always an option.
- Carpooling to and from work.
- Public transpiration.
- Walking, rollerblading, or cycling to work.
- Switching to a more fuel-efficient and easiest to park motorcycle, electric bike, or moped.
- Car rentals for local residents, which are typically far cheaper than when out of town.
- Rideshare programs where you can rent someone else’s car for a day or week—or rent a car from Zipcar or Enterprise CarShare by the day or hour.
If you can’t go entirely car-free, consider if you can reduce the number of cars in your household—or the number of days you drive. I promise, it’s not as hard as you imagine. In fact, I’ve found it to be quite freeing!