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View Poll Results: Going Car-lite?
Thinking about it 2 9.09%
I'm car-free 0 0%
I've minimized my car use 6 27.27%
No way I'm giving up my car 14 63.64%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-18-2014, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,139 posts, read 29,534,576 times
Reputation: 26599

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One of the buzzwords around here lately is going "car-lite" (or car-light). In a nutshell using your car less. The motivations can be going green, saving money or becoming more active. There are cases where a car is the best mode, but many other trips that are feasible via other means. Most of us do our errands in a 2-3 mile radius.

Personally, I have been trying to make a path to going car-free, but things haven't quite worked out yet. But I have been trying to cut down on my car time, particularly since I started a new job that entails a 45-minute (driving) commute each way, and it can be 15-20 minutes longer if the traffic gods hate me.

By the weekend, I am sick of my car! And I hate circling the block for parking. And paying for parking.

Over the past couple years, I have been trying to use my car less in lots of little ways. The last couple of jobs I had were more transit friendly, and that was how I commuted. But lately, I have been trying to work on my non-work trips. I have less control over the work trips, that is all about where my job is at the moment.

But going out to dinner, shopping, getting groceries, dry cleaner, post office, going to the gym etc. All of this tends to happen in a 3 mile radius of my home, and are ideal trips to investigate options. It started with my trips to the gym. Mine is downtown, about 1.25 miles away. It also doesn't have a parking lot, so during the weekdays or Saturday, I'd have to deal with the meter and circling the block. So I started walking or taking the bus there. And then I started multitasking, and toting my reusable bag so I could stop for groceries on the way home.

I live in a pretty walkable area, but my favorite places are more like 1-3 miles away, vs the 1 mile to my local main street. Sometimes, you don't have time to do the longer trip, or walk 2 miles. I ended up getting a bike, and this opened up walk more places for me to visit. The ones with crappy transit connections to my neighborhood. Or when I go from neighborhood to neighborhood with impacted parking.

It has been great so far, I have outfitted my bike with racks and removable baskets, and have been biking to most errands over the weekend!

Anyone else reducing their use of their car by walking, transit-ing, biking, or scootering more?
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Home, Home on the Front Range
22,734 posts, read 16,180,953 times
Reputation: 12716
I've reduced my car use to just the weekends.
I take public transportation to work every day which is a great cost savings as my company subsidizes our public transportation costs and what they give us covers the entire month.
If I am really conservative, I find I can go a whole month on one tank of gas.

Every once in a while I will drive because I have stops to make after work and by the time I get home, I am so done with driving. The drivers are really inconsiderate where I live and it so not worth the aggravation.
Combine that with not having to buy gas every week, not having to pay for parking, etc. not driving really is a win-win.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,044 posts, read 5,043,027 times
Reputation: 6206
I just filled up my tank yesterday (I drive a Ford Fiesta) and I checked to see when I had last fueled up... Feb 26. Considering that I have two kids (and sometimes a husband) to schlep around I think I'm doing pretty well. If I hadn't gone to the airport twice this week I probably could finished a month.

I routinely have "no car", "drive free", "no drive" days... I shoot for 3 days each week. It just takes a little mindfulness but it's pretty easy and the benefits are great! My kids are finally in the habit too and they no longer complain when we walk to get ice cream or watch a movie.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,139 posts, read 29,534,576 times
Reputation: 26599
I decided to post this thread because of a recent email. I'm involved in a transit/housing nonprofit in my region, and someone who works for another similar group in another part of the region shared a story about how some other "advocates" in one of the groups she is in has trouble imagining not using a car for shorter trips. It is a car-first mindset. But, most of us can use are car a little less without trying too hard.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:41 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,942,502 times
Reputation: 2153
Allegedly, we bought a green car* and do our trips just on the EV battery part. We charge up often and the wife charges at work. I combine my trips - but most stuff is further 3 miles away so it is always a driving trip.

* There seems to be an argument that EREV's and BEV's are not green. I thought it was - and I like not burning fuel. We had to take it in for service and we got a Sonic to drive around in. It got 30 mpg, but I hated putting fuel in for the couple of days we had it. I don't like having to drive my 14 mpg diesel truck right now either...
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,139 posts, read 29,534,576 times
Reputation: 26599
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
Allegedly, we bought a green car* and do our trips just on the EV battery part. We charge up often and the wife charges at work. I combine my trips - but most stuff is further 3 miles away so it is always a driving trip.

* There seems to be an argument that EREV's and BEV's are not green. I thought it was - and I like not burning fuel. We had to take it in for service and we got a Sonic to drive around in. It got 30 mpg, but I hated putting fuel in for the couple of days we had it. I don't like having to drive my 14 mpg diesel truck right now either...
Without going too off on an urban planning spin here, while EVs are better than cars that use oil, thinking that switching to electric cars is going to "save the planet" is the wrong approach. I think what happens is we still end up with the car-centric planning. Just using less gas. As opposed to planning that gives people choices and options beyond driving.

You shouldn't only have to drive 1 mile to get your errands done, because it is unsafe to walk/bike/whatever due to street design, lack of sidewalks, speed of traffic and so on.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:25 PM
 
421 posts, read 655,735 times
Reputation: 430
Actually, my tentative plan is going car-FREE if my car is totaled, if it is stolen, whenever my car breaks down in the future, or when maintenance can no longer be safely deferred. Also, I am consider selling it before then. I have access to transit system which runs when I need it and it takes me where I need to go. And I can conveniently get a temp car rental if I really need one in an emergency.
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Old 03-19-2014, 02:23 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,942,502 times
Reputation: 2153
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Without going too off on an urban planning spin here, while EVs are better than cars that use oil, thinking that switching to electric cars is going to "save the planet" is the wrong approach. I think what happens is we still end up with the car-centric planning. Just using less gas. As opposed to planning that gives people choices and options beyond driving.

You shouldn't only have to drive 1 mile to get your errands done, because it is unsafe to walk/bike/whatever due to street design, lack of sidewalks, speed of traffic and so on.
I agree, but the car mafia and oil mafia years ago made it so that everyone would need a car. Most areas in the US, the public transportation systems are total disasters. A virtual you can't there from here type thing.

There are of course exceptions to that. NYC and DC come to mind. And again, if it is only good for 10% of the population that doesn't help save the planet either.

I also agree that my EV isn't going to save the planet. It does make it so that I don't have to deal with gas. Getting it, putting it in, smelling it, etc... Even the garage smells a lot better, since the volt pressurizes the fuel tank so no fumes leak. I have fuel in it, just in case something happens and we need to go further than the 47 miles we are currently getting per charge.

It would be nice if someone was planning a better transportation system to move people more efficiently, but even the planning for that isn't making much progress. Face it, most Americans, me included, like our freedom to jump into a "car" and "go". The new generation may change that - but we shall see.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
12,193 posts, read 10,366,702 times
Reputation: 11206
I live in one of those places where not driving isn't an option (unless I was single without children again); bus service is M-F and very spotty there within, and bicycling on a major road almost guarantees you'll be hit by a car eventually. However, I didn't get my drivers license until 32 years of age, after moving from the Bay Area, so I'd like to think I built up some green karma. Hopefully the continued migration to cities will reduce overall car usage, if not complete elimination, due to shorter commuting distances.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:14 AM
 
5,609 posts, read 8,521,010 times
Reputation: 7684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
Allegedly, we bought a green car* and do our trips just on the EV battery part. We charge up often and the wife charges at work. I combine my trips - but most stuff is further 3 miles away so it is always a driving trip.

* There seems to be an argument that EREV's and BEV's are not green. I thought it was - and I like not burning fuel. We had to take it in for service and we got a Sonic to drive around in. It got 30 mpg, but I hated putting fuel in for the couple of days we had it. I don't like having to drive my 14 mpg diesel truck right now either...
you perfer burning the dirtier coal that most electricity in the US comes from!?!?!
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