Our Motivation

Why would a family of 4 reasonably sane individuals embark on this little journey into vehicular independence?

There are a few reasons.

One big reason is that cars are expensive. Our car was far from expensive. We bought it for about 7 grand CAD a year and a half ago. Our monthly payments were $210. It was a 10-year-old Subaru Legacy and it was so cheap because it had high mileage. When we bought it, the odometer was around 50,000km. That is very high for a Japanese car.

Last year, when I was using the car to drive to work (about 80km return), the gas for the car was cheaper than a train pass. Gas here is about $1.20/litre. It hit a low of $1.13 a few weeks back and it looks to be on its way up for the summer. It will likely top out above $1.30.

This year, starting next week, I have a new job teaching in Ogaki. I will be able to bike to work daily!!

What that means is that we were paying $210/mo on payments, $110/mo for insurance, $200ish/mo for gas (granted that would be less this year), plus the fact that we are very unlikely to be able to sell it for anything close to our purchase price. We would be paying a whole wack of cash to be able to drive to the store for groceries. The store is less than 2 km away. And as I said before, our car was not expensive compared to what many people have.

Another reason is that there is a major health crisis looming in North America. People do not move enough, and they eat WAY too much. By selling our car, we are forced to propel ourselves to whatever destination we may be headed for. If more people were to simply drive less and bike more, our government (you and me) would save billions of dollars in Illness Care.

There's more...

Traffic congestion in our cities is costing about 7 billion hours of time worldwide along with several billion litres of gas that is wasted by idling cars stuck in traffic.

Our environment is taking a beating from our dependence on oil. There are a whole lot of people smarter than me who say that the world is heating up and that it is our fault. Riding a bike or walking is a very real way to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

We have all heard about these problems and really want our governments to do something about them. The truth is, no amount of money that the government throws at these problems will make a difference.

The only thing that will make a difference is average Joe people like me, Sans Auto, Minus Car, Tuco and others realize that these problems are for US to solve.

Not just the government.

Not just the academics.

Not just our noble and valiant friends, the treehuggers and whale-savers.

It is up to all of us.


sans auto said...

I am totally and completely envious of you. I drove my wife's minivan today without passengers for the first time in probably 6-8 months. I probably went over 100 miles to attend a workshop type thing. The irony is that I drove for the first time in weeks in order to attend a bicycling workshop. Why is it that we alway have to do one more thing before we would be ready to take a big step like sell the car, or move and start a farm, or whatever it may be? Why can't we do it now?

A Midnight Rider said...

You know, we tree hugging whale savers, bike too. And some of us are big fans of the Dixie Chicks.

Vertigo said...

Midnight Rider,

I realize now that my 'treehuggers ans whale savers' comment may quite easily be interpreted as a slight. For that, I take full responsibility and offer my apology.

I hope that my edits will clarify matters.

I like The Chicks too.

shawna said...

i went car-free about 3 1/2 years ago when i moved from canada to australia. i went from being very car dependant to just having my feet, a met ticket and eventually my bike. at first i really struggled with it (especially on cold, wet days) but i love it now. its sooo much better for the environment (and you do get used to the small, frequent shopping trips) and i love not having to work as many hours to support a car and having the extra money to travel and do things we enjoy.