Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 30 Aug 2011

The topic of this post is cars and how I no longer have one.

A while back I posted a rant about the oil industry and how we each must be held at least somewhat responsible for its excesses.

Following that post I made a number of lifestyle changes to help reduce my contribution to the problem. I started working from home considerably more, removing a sixty mile a day commute from the equation. I also started trying to ride around town a lot more, running errands via bike rather than car. These steps helped a lot. My reliance on my car dropped significantly. I still had plenty of reasons to keep it but its usage was relatively light.

And then I moved to San Francisco. This radically changed my automotive needs. The office is a pleasant walk or ride from the new apartment, removing any need to drive there. While, yes, I could drive across town to get to dinner, shopping, shows…why should I? Public transit is slow but gets me everywhere I need to go. Parking in the city is exorbitant at best and unavailable at worst. And then there are the parking tickets, which are inevitable despite best efforts to avoid them. And paying for the parking spot at the apartment. And gas prices in the city, which rank near or at the top of the most expensive in the country. And insurance on a car I won’t use all that often. And regular maintenance…

There seem to be plenty of reasons to live without a car, but how would it work in practice? I could theorize all the live long day but there was really only one way to find out…

Thanks to a little assist from my truly excellent mechanic{.broken_link} I quickly found a buyer and sold my adorable little car at the same time I was making my move to SF. I was sad to see her go but the new owners are good people so I trust that my car is in caring hands.

That was three months ago. How have I fared—carless—since then? Pretty well, really. I walk and ride most everywhere. If I’m going to be out late then I’ll take Muni, which has a couple of reasonably reliable lines which run very close to my place. On those very rare occasions when I need four wheels (IKEA runs, dropping stuff at Goodwill, etc.) I’ve been snagging a Zipcar and that’s been working well.

I’ll admit that once in a great while I pine for the loss of my vehicle (mostly when I want to go to the East Bay without spending an hour each way on public transit) but in general I’m glad I’ve made the move. It’s motivated me to be more active while contributing less to the pollution and corruption of the oil industry. It’s also nice to have that much less to worry about maintaining in my life.

Simplification for the win.