Going car-free isn’t an easy option – it takes thought, planning and hard work. You wouldn’t just wake up one morning and think, ‘You know what? I’m going to sell my car today’. But the benefits of examining our own carbon and environmental footprints and determining to make a shift in the way we think and live is well worth that effort.
If your goal is to make the shift to car-free – read on…
1. Scruitinse your car usage
Make a list of all the places you drive to regularly; work, the gym, houses of relatives and so on. Work out how regulary you visit those places and the distance you travel to get to them. This will give you some baseline stats that are not hard to gather. Now ask yourself: how many people do you know who are travelling in the same direction or to the same place, are there any convenient stops or landmarks on these journeys? Ask yourself the brutal question: do I have to travel there, are all my journeys ‘needed’ journeys?
2. Work out the finances
Car-free living could be a more cost-effective solution than you realise. Check your bank statements and calculate the amount you have spent on fuel over a year. Add in any maintenance costs, such as MOT, servicing, tire changes. Don’t forget to add the initial purchase cost of the vehicle. This may amount to quite a shocking financial outlay once the numbers are there in front of you! Ask yourself the question: do I want to save money and reduce my environmental footprint? Could I reconsider some, or all of my journeys?
3. Finding other ways
You’ve come to the conclusion that you want to find alternatives to car ownership, what now? This is when you need to get creative, start thinking differently and shift your mentality. Many people have opted for car-sharing – this means that you have the use of a car when needed, burden some of the cost of fuel and maintenance – but it is a shared burden, thus reducing your impact on carbon emissions and saving money. Go back to your list when you initially scrutinised your car usage: is there anyone you know travelling to the same destination, for example a colleague who lives nearby, a relative who can drive you to that family outing? Does your work place support a bike-to-work scheme or provide assistance with train season tickets? If you are office-based, does your workplace allow some remote working so you can limit your journeys into work?
There are many possibilities and avenues you could pursue – this does not mean that going car-free isn’t challenging – it’s not an easy step to take, but once you start to shift your way of thinking, you may start to realise that it’s easier to start lessening your impact on the environment than you originally thought.