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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-06-07, 01:21 PM   #1
PDay
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Who is carfree NOT for environmental reasons?

I think the whole carfree thing is cool, but is there anyone here that dosen't believe in doomsday global warming? Im personally not car free, I actually drive a rather large SUV. I was just curious. I can imagine price of cars is the 2nd biggest reason to go carfree other than environmental reasons.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:27 PM   #2
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I'm not car free. I am voluntarily car lite (I own a car, in fact 2 cars. I perfer to ride my bike most of the time). I do not beleive in the doomsday scenario painted by much of the global warming/ climate change reporting these days.

I hope to make at least 1 of my cars last another 5 years. By then, I'll be trying to decide between retiring early, or starting a second career.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:32 PM   #3
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I'm not car free, but I enjoy reading this forum. I will likely be car-lite in the near future. My take is that there would be a broader audience if the individual economic advantages of this lifestyle were pushed as opposed to a "save the earth" plea.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:36 PM   #4
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For me there wasn't one big sole reason for going car free. The environment certainly plays a role (and I think it's important to consider for many reasons unrelated to "doomsday worse case scenarios") but the financial aspect is also appealing as well as the fitness that goes along with all the riding. In many cases the distance traveled just makes more sense on a bike than a car - in other words a car is not necessary for 90+% of the traveling I do. The rest of the time I'm with someone who has a car and I can get a ride and split gas or something.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:37 PM   #5
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I commute with a bike - but I have vehicles. I ride for enjoyment and to keep in shape as much as for any other reason. I also do it so that I won't waste a resource like oil that will probably be needed for my kids and their kids.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:57 PM   #6
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I am very car-lite and trying to go car free, mainly for environmental reasons (although there are other minor ones as well).

My boyfriend on the other hand really could care less about the environment but is car free for two main reasons:
1. A car is something he doesn't want to waste his money on
2. He lives in a city and can get around much easier by public transportation than by driving
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Old 03-06-07, 02:05 PM   #7
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Economics is my primary reason for being car-free. I got tired of paying for gas and insurance. Environmental impacts are a bonus for me.
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Old 03-06-07, 02:13 PM   #8
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I originally quit when I fell asleep at the wheel of my car after a double shift and crashed it into a parked one at 4:00 a.m.

I decided that since the car I smacked into could just as easily have been a human being, I should forfeit my privelege for displaying such negligence as driving in that disheveled state, and so I did.

I wasn't so sure I'd last until I watched my next-door neighbor drive to the store at the end of the street and back for a bag of chips on a beautiful summer day a few months later. That's when the bell was rung in my head about exactly how we tend to use our cars, and I thought to myself, "Jeez. I've done that too," and it was then that I was quite sure I had made the right choice.

Since then I have definitely become more of an environmentalist, and all the other perks of car-freeness have followed suit into a sort of megareasoning that has carried into the way I live in general.

And so later I spent some extended time learning about bicycle touring and the joys of spending time primitive camping in remote forests via bicycle, and I've been much more austere in my way of life even outside of the car, extending into things like clothes washing, shopping with canvas bags, diet, electricity use, etcetera...

On the negative side, I have an unfortunate international wanderlust bug that needs feeding from time to time.

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Old 03-06-07, 02:23 PM   #9
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I submit the following
If cars were greener
If cars were clean, would you drive one?

The type of town you live in
Type of town you live in

Paris Global Warming Report came out today
Paris Global Warming Report came out today

What do you guys think of this look at increasing energy needs?
What do you guys think of this look at increasing energy needs?
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Old 03-06-07, 02:26 PM   #10
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I guess the main reason that I am carfree is the fact that I live in NYC... but I would avoid relying on one anywhere I live.

OK, besides the environment, here goes:
  1. Cars are big, ugly, noisy, and take up space
  2. Oil is limited, whether is causes global warming or not (it does)
  3. Oil causes wars
  4. Cars, especially big cars, symbolize arrogance. Like saying: "I have this thing that the it is impossible for everyobdy on earth to have." Imagine 1 billion chinese, each with an SUV. Im-****ing-possible.
  5. Cars maim and kill
  6. Cars are an enormous moneypit
  7. Cars make cities unwalkable, and create places without soul like LA or Atlanta or Houston
  8. Cars make suburbs, and suburbs make Columbine
  9. Cars destroy countryside
  10. Even if CO2 did not warm the globe, it will still acidify the ocean, killing a lot vertebrate life in it. Carbonic acid.
  11. Cars make you fat, ugly and unsexy
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Old 03-06-07, 03:03 PM   #11
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I bike 'cause I don't want to buy a car. The global warming thing is just a bonus.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:13 PM   #12
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Environmental factor is definitely part of my reason - though I couldn't really integrate a car into my budget easily (once you work for 10-15 years without a car - it's difficult to figure out what you might want to give up to get one - pension? retirement savings? mortage payments? travel? bike stuff? computer? none of those sacrifices are appealing)

Second - I rent out my garage, so I would either have to forego the rent or park said vehicle on the street (primarily economic).

Third my commute to work (in T.O.) is 1.5 k - if I add in the time it takes to park, the time savings of driving is minimal to nonexistent (maybe 5-10 min saved a day total - time is LOST if the weather is bad).

Inconvenience of vehicular ownership - oil changes and maintenance take time, and are often more than a short walk away from home.

Health reasons also figure into the equation - when would I get excercise if I wasn't riding/walking? It seems like a challenge to find the time to make up the lost exercise from human-powered commuting.

Given all of these the choice to be 'car-heavy' seems to be unhealthy, expensive, inconvenient, and time consuming. Though I do consider the environmental aspect of it to be important too.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:15 PM   #13
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Originally became car free just to improve my health and save money.... since then I have become more environmentally aware. =)
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Old 03-06-07, 04:23 PM   #14
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When I first went car-lite, I found I arrived at work in the morning--and at home in the afternoon--relaxed and in a much better frame of mind.

When I went car-free in 1999, I found I had a lot more money since I no longer had to support a car.

Now, since I don't have to support a car, I work three days a week instead of five, earning about 60% of my former salary, and am happier than I've ever been in my life, and I still have more in the bank than I did.

It wasn't until 2006, BTW, that I bought a bike. Now I'm healthier too.
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Old 03-06-07, 04:56 PM   #15
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I didnt go car free for the environment, that's just a bonus. I did it cause it was the right thing to do.
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Old 03-06-07, 05:54 PM   #16
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My reason for going car free was to have a healthier and happier life. Part of the happiness factor is knowing that I am not part of the "car problem" whether it be global pollution/warming or suburban sprawl.
The world needs a sustainable economy/ecology which is incompatable with cars in general IMO.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:06 PM   #17
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Some people here are car-free for economic reasons mostly. I'm not car-free as of yet, but I plan on selling my car after I complete my bachelor's degree and move out on my own, also for economic reasons. Plus, riding a bike is just plain fun. It's way more fun than driving is for me. That's my main reason for wanting to be car-free, not for the environment, or fitness, or whatever.

Of course, if you still don't believe the evidence of global warming, then I hope you'll enjoy the hotter summers we'll be getting in the coming years. Hell, right now, down here in So Cal, it's gotten to almost 90 degrees at the beginning of March! I don't remember it getting this hot at this specific time last year!
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Old 03-06-07, 06:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
I bike 'cause I don't want to buy a car. The global warming thing is just a bonus.
+1.

Mostly, I don't want to pay for gas.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eatadonut
+1.

Mostly, I don't want to pay for gas.

+ 2, paying for gas is for punk a_ _ B_ _ _ _ es.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:43 PM   #20
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I am.

Unless you count the body I walk around in as part of my environment.
Or unless you count our communities and culture.

So actually, no, all my reasons are environmental
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Old 03-06-07, 06:55 PM   #21
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The outlook for car-centric, foreign debt financed consumer culture seems pretty grim to me. James Howard Kunstler describes the problem in his book "The Long Emergency".

We are already being forced to do some remarkably distasteful things to keep car culture going, such as fighting a two-front war on the other side of the world and burning food crops for fuel.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:58 PM   #22
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My feeling is that the primary reason for being car-free, car-lite or just a commuter is usually something other than the environment. The feeling of doing something for the environment kicks in later. I don't think many would change their lifestyle if the environmental aspect were somehow removed.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDay
I can imagine price of cars is the 2nd biggest reason to go carfree other than environmental reasons.
You're probably right about this. According to AAA, the average family in the US spends over $8000 a year on cars, for car payments, repairs, licensing, gas, parking, etc. (I never spent nearly that much on a car, though.) My main reason for going carfree was the hippy environmental reason you mentioned, but saving a few thousand dollars a year is a wonderful added benefit. Another added benefit is the mental health aspect; it's pretty hard to get stuck in traffic for hours on a bike. As long as I live in a city, I'll never own a car again. (In rural areas, cars are actually necessary, I think.)
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Old 03-07-07, 04:38 AM   #24
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I ride as much as I do because I have these three problems...

1)I love my bikes and really enjoy riding them. If I don't get my daily riding requirements I degenerate into a bad tempered, grouchy a-hole. If I do ride I am an adorable vibrant person high on endorphines who sees the positive side to everything.

2)I'm a glutonous pig, I like to eat good food and lots of it. If I don't ride in just one week the weight starts piling on noticeably, in one month I won't fit into any of my clothes, and in one year I'll be morbidly obese. Maybe I eat so much because I ride so much, I'm caught in a gastronomic viscius circle that I quite enjoy being caught in. So long as I keep riding I'll keep enjoying all the attention my buns of steel and washboard abs attract from the opposite sex (and occasionally from the same sex )

3)I'm a tightarse with money (except when it comes to my bikes and my kids ) and I hate paying for gas then choking on exhaust fumes while riding my bike. Just the fact that a proportion of my taxes go towards funding all that car-centric infrastructure really p!sses me off if I think about it too much.... its legalised organised crime.
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Old 03-07-07, 06:57 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsl
When I first went car-lite, I found I arrived at work in the morning--and at home in the afternoon--relaxed and in a much better frame of mind.
It is so nice to get around town by bicycle. You feel so much more alive...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Platy
The outlook for car-centric, foreign debt financed consumer culture seems pretty grim to me. James Howard Kunstler describes the problem in his book "The Long Emergency".
I've read this one and am now in the middle of "Home from nowhere" which he wrote in 1996. On top of the environmental, political issues around cars, there is also the social aspect...cars tend to isolate you from the surroundings and also tend to overwhelm. If you look at most suburban houses, particularly that style where the garage is on the front, looks like the suburban house is a dwelling wrapped around a car parking spot. Because so much area is taken up with parking lots, buildings need more space... so you can't walk easily among them.
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