It has been three years since we dispensed with the family car and I don’t regret it, not even a little bit. Car ownership is governed by the same law that rules chocolate: when there’s chocolate in the fridge it will be eaten and when there’s a car in the garage it will be driven, even for trips that don’t require a car.
How much money have we saved? It’s hard to put a figure on it but What Price puts the cost of car ownership at £2,500/year which is £7,500 for three years. We are members of a car club and we probably spend £1,000/year on that so overall we’ve saved around £4,500. This is not counting the health benefits. Some people spend hundreds of pounds a month on gym membership but because we walk and cycle everywhere we don’t have an exercise budget. I’m sure we’re also healthier thanks to active lifestyles and this likely costs society less. We’re also polluting less – not counting my farts – which similarly costs the community less. The car club has lots of electric and hybrid cars and we almost always book one of those.
One of the biggest and often forgotten benefits of dispensing with the family car is the space it frees up. Car parks are 2m x 5m which is 10m2. There are around 31 million cars in the UK and unless we figure out how to master Ant-man shrinkage every single one of those cars requires a parking space. That’s 310 million square metres of space set aside in this country just for cars. That’s obscene.
Some people ask me what I do when I need the doctor and I simply walk or cycle there. I even walked to the hospital once. If I were really unwell I’d catch a cab or an ambulance. What about groceries? Everything can be delivered to your home these days. It’s called internet shopping. What about school? Make the kids walk. It’ll make them smarter. What about the rain? Wear a rain coat! There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.