We currently have two vehicles– a truck and a car. Both “officially” get 28 mpg, however I hypermile, so I’ve been able to get upwards of 45 mpg on my car- which still isn’t enough. The truck has provided much-needed utility during the two moves we’ve had in the last year. It was also given to my wife by her grandfather– which was why I was somewhat surprised when she said she was thinking about selling it. When you think about it, it makes sense:
1) we’re a single-income home
2) she’s pregnant and not going anywhere for a while
3) anywhere she does need to go can be reached easily by bus or taken by family
4) a monthly pass costs significantly less than the cost of gas
However the idea of eliminating my own car as well intrigued me. What would happen if we were to go from a 2-car family, down to a 0-car family and we rode bikes instead. What I came up with astounded me. Saving about $3,600 per year (roughly the cost of operating both vehicles, and their insurance at the first couple of years–not including gas) for 20 years would put me at over $115,000 in my 401k! That’s not including the normal saving that other car-owning people are saving. Additionally, with fuel costs bound to continuously increase (they’ll never go back to the old days of $1.20/gallon), that $3,600 amount is based upon gas prices which means that you’ll continually increase the amount you’re saving. delivery
What do we get out of eliminating our vehicles?
1) Excercise– with all the obvious benefits
2) Time to stop and smell the roses– just like money that you put away to savings before you even recieve your paycheck, I have a hunch I won’t miss the time spent my vehicle.
3) Face-time– My wife is trying to launch a photography side-business. Being outside, on the bus and interacting with people gives her a chance to practice her networking skills and build her business.
4) Build Wealth– as prices for gasoline soar, this will eventually cause an increase in average salary across the board. This “cost of living” increase, instead of keeping our family afloat like the rest of the motorized world, will just be icing on the cake and accelerate our retirement and house-purchasing goal.
5) Family time– Biking, unlike driving a car, is something that kids can do with you at almost any age, giving you some additional bonding time (and it tires them out faster, I’m sure!).
6) Anywhere (almost) that we want– most of what we want/need is within a 5 mile radius. That’s not a bad length (so I’m told) to bike on a daily basis.
7) Completely custom– I can customize my bike any way that I want it to be.
I know that this can’t be a solution for everybody, but c’mon. . . unless you have emphysema or something, it could be worth a shot.