This is Why You Should Live Without an Automobile

So, you’ve figured out that you can afford gasoline if you only cut out eating a few meals a week, which you assumed would help with the extra weight you put on, but now hunger has you snacking between meals and gas isn’t getting cheaper.

Not to mention, you’re tired of hearing how you are single-handedly killing the planet with your car.

There are many pathways which lead one the decision to go car-free. Most center on self-perception, but all mandate a lane change in one’s thinking. Here’s a good benchmark to consider.

According to one smartypants on Quora, fewer than 17 percent of people own a car. Even if the percentage is closer to 20, that’s still only one in five making a life without a car.

Regardless, as a car owner, understand that you’re in the global minority. But there are so many reasons to own a car, all of which have a solution if one is without a car. Otherwise, how could the other 80 percent get along?

Going sans-auto is a matter navigating personal perceptions, analyzing the role of one’s car, crunching the numbers, and exploring the alternatives. You can do this.


The biggest perception of automobiles is that folks feel they need them. One’s car is the biggest accessory in her closet as if to say, “my car defines me.” By this logic, one’s not having a car does the same thing.

Other perceptions revolve around statements like, “oh, you can’t live in this place without a car.” People from all over the world espouse this philosophy while their neighbors manage to do exactly that.

Kids and family also become perceptive reasons for tethering one’s life to a car, like, “well, when you have kids, you have to…” Yet, over a million (1.3-million or so) get by, many of whom have kids, and life goes on.

There are a million logical reasons one can validate car-ownership. The person determined to go carless has one dominating perception, which is that she can find a way to live a normal car without the stress of a car ownership.


To get past perceptions, one must take a cold hard look at what purpose the personal automobile serves.

Most use a vehicle for one primary objective, and that is to get to the parking lot a job. Driving the kids to soccer comes in a distant second.

Unless your car is literally your job, like you work as a cabby, then your car is simply an inefficient means of commuting.

You could cram three other people with you, but that means you all have to be on the same schedule or all be willing to show up late—not to mention, how much time do you want to spend in your car?

If you are a family of more than four, you may need a car to juggle appointments, move kids around, that sort of thing. Remember, the world is full of people who find a way even with large families.

That said, if your car is more than a commuter and weekend getaway car, and you can’t see yourself getting along without it, you may be dismissed from class at this time. This isn’t for you.


This is where the logic around owning a car starts to break down, especially if one lives anywhere near a metropolis.

The cost to buy, maintain, park, and drive a car is massive, even on the low end. Adding to that, mass-movement commuter services (rail, bus, ferry) only gets better every year in most places (sorry, Detroit).

Do this exercise if you still have reservations. Add up the monthly costs of your car, costs: payment, insurance, gas, maintenance. Estimate it if you must. Then, pull up some local car rental outfits online. Examine the costs to rent a car same day.

You will likely find that you can ride the metro to work during the week, then rent a nice car every weekend for getaways, and still come out with money in your pocket. That’s assuming you need or want to rent a car every weekend.

On top of the money you save, you won’t have to worry about theft, door dings, parking costs, upkeep, surprise repairs or whatever. Every time you drive a car it will be a new car.

You can even custom order your driving experience every weekend depending on your plans.


To augment your new life, there are more and more options every day. Services like Uber and Lyft now offer fast, affordable spontaneity for when the metro is too slow.

Those are only the big two. City-by-city one will find many alternatives those options.

One company, Car2Go offers a car-sharing program where members can find available cars parked around their city on the Car2Go app. Without a reservation, they can take those cars wherever within the limits of the program, leaving them for the next person in need.

Most large cities offer similar solutions for bikers. The trend towards more bike-safe cities adds car-free lanes to urban areas every year.

If you don’t like to sweat, a scooter is an affordable, alternative way to get around town, enjoyed by the rest of the world for decades.

It’s possible that the future of commuting will be fewer and fewer individuals owning personal cars, and more folks using services to get about. If you get used to making do without your precious vehicle today, you will be ahead of the crowd.

Not to mention, you’re gonna burned more calories even if you don’t ride a bike. That extra weight you’ve put on from snacking may be on its way out.