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How to Live With No Car

8 great reasons to live the no-car, auto-free lifestyle


Life with no car sounds un-American, but the auto-free lifestyle can be very liberating. The Union of Concerned Scientists announced there are three main ways your life can benefit the environment: drive less, eat less meat, and live in a smaller, well-insulated house. Start now by looking at these 8 great reasons to live with no car.

1. Your Car Is Insanely Expensive

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Cars are a lousy investment, and every year the cost of owning a car goes higher and higher, even if gas prices stabilize. The average annual cost, according to the American Automobile Association, is 47.6 cents a mile, or $9,519 a year for a mid-size car. Compact cars still cost a bundle ($6,496 a year), and bigger SUVs easily top $11,000 a year. In just three years, you're probably spending $20,000 to $30,000 for those wheels. Think for just a minute about what you could do with all that extra money...

2. Walking Is Healthy

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Walking, biking, pushing a scooter or a skateboard, or other means of transport are a lot healthier than sitting in traffic, getting fat and stressing out. Skip the gym -- and the freeway -- and exercise outdoors for your physical and mental health.

3. Use Public Transportation

Need a quick nap? Want to catch up on some reading, or surf the Internet? Try doing those in your car -- or rather, don't. While cars force you to pay attention to traffic (or pay the consequences of distracted driving), using public transportationlike a bus, a subway, or a carpool gives you some quiet time to read, snooze, pray, pay bills, or just look outside at the beautiful scenery.

4. Cars Are Deadly

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Each year, about 40,000 people are killed in vehicle accidents in the U.S. That number doesn't include the many thousands of people who are injured -- some permanently -- in driving accidents. It's the equivalent of having a 9/11 terrorist attack every month. But each morning, millions of people get back in their cars and do it again. Insane? Maybe it is.

5. Cars Are Lonely

Commuting in a car is a lonely pastime. (And no, the Morning Zoo Crew on WXYZ Radio are not your friends.) And with more cities and states cracking down on cell phone use while driving, your commute is about to get even lonelier. Compare that to the countless friendships and romances that have sprung up on commuter trains and buses, and you can see where this is headed.

6. Other People Do Deliver

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Having spent many carless years in New York City and San Francisco, I've discovered a surprising number of services -- groceries, pharmacies, restaurants, bookstores, even pet food shops -- will deliver items to your front door. There might be a small charge, but you'll still save over the costs of car ownership. And with online shopping, the options are virtually limitless.

7. Rental Cars Exist

There are, of course, times when a car is just more fun, practical and safe. For those times, there are a number of options like taxis, Zipcar or rental companies. Some, like Hertz and Enterprise, will even pick you up at your house. When you're done with the car, just drop it off. Easy!

8. Carpooling and Ridesharing Do not Suck

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Let's be honest -- climbing into a stranger's 1988 Ford Fairmont isn't anyone's idea of a fun ride. But thankfully, ridesharing isn't what it used to be. Online options like GoLoCo.org have updated the old idea of carpooling into a social network. And many employers offer subsidies for carpooling (and for taking public transit).

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