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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 11-24-17, 03:54 AM   #1
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Car light car

Looking at cars from the 1970s and 1980s, most were designed for best performance and efficiency going 50-80mph down the highway, had relatively large cargo capacity, and generally were much closer to ideal for a car light lifestyle; you take the car on long trips or when you have a lot to haul.

I remember reading a review of the late-90s model of a car I had a 1985 model of, and the main focus of the review was that it had been designed as a 60% car; trunk space was about 60% of the '85, and overall performance about the same as it was redesigned for short trips in the city, where average speeds would be 40 and under, smaller shopping runs, etc. Right down to tuning the engine to maximize efficiency at about 45mph.

It leads me to wonder if there are any cars still designed with the primarily highway-and-cargo mindset. I know CAFE regulations pretty much killed station wagons, which is unfortunate; combining enough space to easily carry a couple bikes (or a lot of other stuff) with the more car-like feel than a typical SUV or truck seems ideal for driving the longer distances and then biking shorter errands on the same trip.
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Old 11-24-17, 04:42 AM   #2
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Vans.
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Old 11-24-17, 04:52 AM   #3
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Vans.
Handle like complete crap at highway speeds, and terrible fuel economy compared to station wagons.
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Old 11-24-17, 05:33 AM   #4
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Handle like complete crap at highway speeds, and terrible fuel economy compared to station wagons.
I don't know what kind of vans you're driving but we've got two. One doesn't have the best fuel economy, but the other is pretty good ... and handles well. Of course, it helps for both fuel economy and handling that we travel at or slightly below the speed limit.
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Old 11-24-17, 08:45 AM   #5
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minivan not full size truck based
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Old 11-24-17, 07:39 PM   #6
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minivan not full size truck based
Yes, exactly.
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Old 11-25-17, 11:33 AM   #7
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There are still a few station wagons out there. Personally, I think they offer the best balance of fuel efficiency, cargo capacity and safety.
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Old 11-25-17, 01:18 PM   #8
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i currently have a 2006 corolla but am thinking of getting a new car next year. my thought was that something like a honda fit would be a good option. you can put a lot of music equip in it and its comfortable and very efficient on the highway or in town. i am sure there are lots of other vehicles that fit the description. we sometimes car camp as well and it would do that pretty well i think.

as for minivans, my work has dodge caravans and they routinely get 25+ on the highway if you're lightfooted. i would consider something like that if i needed that much space.
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Old 11-25-17, 01:23 PM   #9
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Maybe it's not just about mileage and space and the individual car. In 70's and 80's cars were much lower, even when SUV's aren't considered. This was much nicer for cyclists because of their visibility, and because they could look over cars. They didn't give the driver that false sense of safety, especially the smaller European and Japanese cars, and the sound proofing of these days including AC and dark windows disconnects the driver from it's human surroundings. If we don't consider emmissions, they were less intrusive to a city in general. Also when parked they kept a low profile, and a row of them looked prettier because they were usually in bright colours and almost all looked very different. So besides their pollution, they fitted much better in a car light/cycling/pedestrian environment.

Today's European cars are almost 1.5 times the size and twice the weight of their 70's equivalents. The first time I was on my bike next to a new Mini Cooper I had to laugh because it was so ridiculously big, nothing mini about it. Gas is heavily taxed in Europe and engines are efficient, but in the 90's and 2000's mileage lost out to torque because the sense of power and the lazy driving sold well. European cars of the 80's were powerfull enough but you had to rev them. So despite technological progress engine displacement increased considerably in all cars over those two decades. Only the last 5 years engines are getting smaller again, turbocharged often. Station wagons are more popular then ever though, especially the small ones among young parents.

But it's still a far cry from the 900 kilo 1.4 litre Citroen that took me and my family and all our luggage to Portugal in '86, about 2000 miles away. With 65 hp it was a comfortable trip, did well up to 150 km/h and that was faster than allowed anyway, it was most efficient around a 100 km/h but the legal 120 was still within the efficient range. I'm sure there are modern Japanese compact station wagons with better mileage at those speeds, but not spectacularly better because people aren't used to shift that much anymore so they have to deliver power over a much wider range of revs. Automatics have become much more efficient, but they are designed for low rev power engines too. But usually they are designed to get the best mileage at highway speeds and don't do as well in city traffic, at least in the lab tests which haven't been a good reflection of real mileage. Besides that, people fly much more for vacation, especially distances over a 1000 miles. And especially people with Tesla's or Leafs, annihilating the positive CO2 effect of driving an electric car.
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Old 11-25-17, 03:43 PM   #10
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If we don't consider emmissions, they were less intrusive to a city in general. Also when parked they kept a low profile, and a row of them looked prettier because they were usually in bright colours and almost all looked very different. So besides their pollution, they fitted much better in a car light/cycling/pedestrian environment.
Raising fuel-efficiency standards really just procrastinated the need to shift to buses and other forms of public transit that are more space-efficient. I used to think that cars would keep evolving smaller and smaller until they became covered scooters, and then they would split lanes and relieve congestion that way. This is unlikely, however, because so many people want to have the option of picking up a passenger or carrying some cargo in the seat next to them.

I see the SUV trend toward larger vehicles of the early 2000s as a sort of cultural breaking point where rising fuel prices and declining fuel economy creates a broader public impetus toward ride-sharing and ultimately public transit. What's great right now is that new technologies are available for coordinating rides and routing via smartphone that weren't available in the early 2000s yet.

So as ride-sharing and public-transit systems evolve to incorporate smart technology more, including self-driving system relieving the need for drivers to be on call all the time to go anywhere, that evolution toward ride-sharing and public transit in larger vehicles should finally take root and congestion will be relieved, while also giving people more incentive to walk and/or bike between rides.
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Old 11-26-17, 01:20 AM   #11
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Oh yawn. Another thread about cars on the so-called carfree forum.
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Old 11-26-17, 06:54 PM   #12
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There are still a few station wagons out there. Personally, I think they offer the best balance of fuel efficiency, cargo capacity and safety.
Right; the two I've owned would reliably get >30mpg on the highway if kept tuned up, and were just as easy to park as the sedan submodels of the same vehicle. Vastly easier to maintain than most minivans, too, since the all of the engine was out there under the hood where it belongs.
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Old 11-26-17, 08:34 PM   #13
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Right, The best of both worlds is two vehicles for the price of one...

I have a truck and it gets 15 MPG average (Canadian gallons)....

My wife has a Prius C that gets 62 MPG average (Canadian gallons)...

The car, is ABSOLUTELLY "FREE"


WHY..??? Because instead of only driving the truck for ALL the KM all year, I only drive the truck (6,000Km) when I need a truck, and drive the Prius C when I need a car (20,000 KM), instead of driving the truck (26,00Km)...

and... Yes, I now also, "consider myself car light".. Cause I also ride my E-Bike about 2,400Km a year and don't drive anything, instead of just driving my truck for everything all the time...
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Old 11-26-17, 09:00 PM   #14
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The car, is ABSOLUTELLY "FREE"


WHY..??? Because instead of only driving the truck for ALL the KM all year, I only drive the truck (6,000Km) when I need a truck, and drive the Prius C when I need a car (20,000 KM), instead of driving the truck (26,00Km)...

and... Yes, I now also, "consider myself car light".. Cause I also ride my E-Bike about 2,400Km a year and don't drive anything, instead of just driving my truck for everything all the time...
Sure you are! Why not?

Everybody who drives or owns a car can consider themselves car light if they so desire, after all they could always drive more, and overall gas mileage/fuel burned is irrelevant in the all inclusive, all encompassing definition of "car light" used on this list. That way, everybody who posts on this list can consider themselves qualified to be a member of the LCF support group, regardless of their not being car free.

The label "car light" can be awarded/claimed like participation awards given out so everybody can feel good about themselves despite la.ck of any significant accomplishment.
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Old 11-27-17, 07:00 AM   #15
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Sure you are! Why not?

Everybody who drives or owns a car can consider themselves car light if they so desire, after all they could always drive more, and overall gas mileage/fuel burned is irrelevant in the all inclusive, all encompassing definition of "car light" used on this list. That way, everybody who posts on this list can consider themselves qualified to be a member of the LCF support group, regardless of their not being car free.

The label "car light" can be awarded/claimed like participation awards given out so everybody can feel good about themselves despite la.ck of any significant accomplishment.
While you might quibble about who is or isn't car light, you are absolutely correct that it is like a participation medal, where the idea is not that you have to be more perfect than somebody else or strive to win the ILTB trophy. You look for ways to reduce your car dependence, and any amount is in fact a significant accomplishment.
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Old 11-27-17, 09:41 AM   #16
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Sure you are! Why not?

Everybody who drives or owns a car can consider themselves car light if they so desire, after all they could always drive more, and overall gas mileage/fuel burned is irrelevant in the all inclusive, all encompassing definition of "car light" used on this list. That way, everybody who posts on this list can consider themselves qualified to be a member of the LCF support group, regardless of their not being car free.

The label "car light" can be awarded/claimed like participation awards given out so everybody can feel good about themselves despite la.ck of any significant accomplishment.
Well, I might not be car light enough for most here... But, I am car light compared to what I was before as I used to drive 40,000Km+ every year and not much bicycling, and now I am down to 26,000Km per year using the best vehicle (Prius C) I can afford for vehicle use and up to 2,400Km per year bicycling. and, just what IS/would be a significant accomplishment to you for an award..???

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Old 11-27-17, 10:00 AM   #17
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A rental car/truck/van!
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Old 11-27-17, 12:18 PM   #18
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I get around 30 mpg with my 2017 Subaru Forester. Easily holds two bikes inside without removing wheels. Rides nice, not like a big SUV. 1.33 years old. Just went over 4,000 miles last week. I would say at about 750 of those miles were logged during three or four long-ish trips.
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Old 11-27-17, 12:20 PM   #19
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Oh yawn. Another thread about cars on the so-called carfree forum.

Have you read the description of the forum?


"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." (Emphasis added.)
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Old 11-27-17, 02:22 PM   #20
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Have you read the description of the forum?


"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." (Emphasis added.)
Exactly, car light people by definition drive, own or have ready access to a privately owned motor vehicle. How does a car light person live without a motor vehicle being at least a part of his/her so-called lifestyle?
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Old 11-27-17, 03:24 PM   #21
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Exactly, car light people by definition drive, own or have ready access to a privately owned motor vehicle. How does a car light person live without a motor vehicle being at least a part of his/her so-called lifestyle?
They don't - that's why they are car-light and not car-free. Duh.
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Old 11-27-17, 07:12 PM   #22
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They don't - that's why they are car-light and not car-free. Duh.
Correct, that's why questions and discussion about cars is a legitimate topic for anyone to bring up on this discuss your "car free or car light" lifestyle list. I too can only say Duh to those unwilling to grasp that concept.
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Old 11-27-17, 10:18 PM   #23
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Correct, that's why questions and discussion about cars is a legitimate topic for anyone to bring up on this discuss your "car free or car light" lifestyle list. I too can only say Duh to those unwilling to grasp that concept.
I can see Roody's point, in that the forum description refers to "prefer[ring]...alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible", so a discussion of cars would seem to run counter to that, while I, for example am a bit more open to a discussion on mitigating the harm of cars in part by having a less harmful car. You always complain that there's some kind of group think/echo chamber here, and then when it turns out opinions vary, you're all ''ha ha, you disagree". Can't have it both ways.

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Old 12-02-17, 01:43 AM   #24
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I have no beef with carlight people whatsoever. I think it's great when people can reduce their car usage to either a great or small extent, and this is a wonderful place to talk about their experiences.

However, for purposes of discussion on this forum, I like to read about the carfree part of your carlight lifestyle, not the car part of it.

For example, a thread about "what's the best bicycle for carlight people?" is much more interesting (and relevant) than a thread about "what's the best car for carlight people?" (For me, at any rate.)
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Old 12-02-17, 10:40 PM   #25
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I have no beef with carlight people whatsoever. I think it's great when people can reduce their car usage to either a great or small extent, and this is a wonderful place to talk about their experiences.

However, for purposes of discussion on this forum, I like to read about the carfree part of your carlight lifestyle, not the car part of it.

For example, a thread about "what's the best bicycle for carlight people?" is much more interesting (and relevant) than a thread about "what's the best car for carlight people?" (For me, at any rate.)
Basically, I agree with this wholeheartedly; and it always irritates me when people turn threads into discussions about cars and driving. However, I do think there are some discussions about cars, ride-sharing, smaller vehicles (e.g. vans) as public transit vehicles, etc. that support the vision of making car-light pedestrian-rich living possible.

I think it's a different thing, however, when you don't want to make any sacrifices about where you can go and how much time you spend getting around; yet you still want to talk in terms of living 'car light.' I mean, for example, I know someone who uses Uber sometimes because he missed the bus or because the bus schedule/routes don't work for something he needs to do; but otherwise he takes the bus and/or walks/bikes. So it's not like he's mostly catching/sharing rides and barely LCFing. It's more like he's LCFing and using ride-shares/rental-cars to pick up the slack, which is preferable to buying a car and driving it all the time to justify the expense so that you can have it for those incidental trips you couldn't make without it.

Of course you can always look at further sacrifices you could make to go further in the direction of LCF from car-light, but it's worth noting how people are living car-light currently in a way that allows them to live without owning a car and/or driving/riding in one regularly.

The only thing I really dislike is when people use this subforum as a platform for justifying some level of car use, for whatever reason. The point of the subforum is if you're trying to reduce/minimize car use, not justify it as a crutch because you can't quite LCF. Apparently people feel a need for validation in failing to live up to the standard of LCF-purist, but I don't really feel the need to validate myself or anyone else's use of a car when it happens for whatever reason. Car use is just something that always manages to creep into your life in various ways and it can't be avoided completely, even if you never personally drive or take rides yourself. So you know that people are driving and riding, etc. but you can't let it discourage you from living as car-free as you can, because then you'd have to live in a state of resignation/surrender to the automotive culture, which would have negative spiritual effects.
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