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Why I’m Selling My Car

By: Zane Bishop

In the past, I have read about people who have intentionally decided to live without a car, even people who don’t live in big cities. I was inspired by these people, but never thought I could do it. How would I get groceries? What about the rain? Or winter? But here I am now, ready to commit. Will it be challenging? Yes, but I feel confident in my decision, and am dedicated to the cause I am supporting.

car1My old ride, missing hub cap and all.

There are two main factors that have led to my decision: money and advocacy.

Driving costs a lot. More than you would expect. For a sedan such as mine, an estimate places the cost at 50.5 cents per mile, including gas, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, repairs, and other fees (1). There are also other costs that we don’t directly pay for, such as infrastructure, parking, congestion, and pollution. Factoring these costs in, driving can cost up to 68 cents per mile (2)!

Comparatively, biking 30 miles per week over the next 10 years will only cost me 19.7 cents per mile, a total of $3,075. This cost includes bike tubes, annual maintenance, and capital costs such as a helmet, lock, lights, and bike. Driving this same amount would cost $78,000 over the next 10 years.

When I ride the bus, I get sad. No, not because of the service. Muncie actually has a good bus system, better than Indianapolis, and excellent for a city of 70,000. What I really get sad about is thinking about individuals who have to ride the bus. People who can’t drive or can’t afford to drive. Transportation equity is a real problem in America. Those walking, biking, or riding transit are at a great disadvantage. Nothing is built to their scale; everything is car-oriented. Buildings have large setbacks for parking, destinations are spread out, roads are unsafe, sidewalks are in disrepair, bike lanes are relatively non-existent. These forms of transportation are not given their due diligence. People who don’t drive are not only put at a disadvantage, but are also stigmatized and downcast. For me, selling my car is about taking a stand against this injustice.

While cars may provide convenience and give a sense of freedom, I actually feel more free without one. I don’t feel tied down. I don’t worry about parking, or getting a ticket. I feel more patient. I am able to see my environment in a new light. I have a desire to explore, to be adventurous. I see the beauty that is around me. I feel free.

bike My lifeline: Raleigh Technium Single-Speed

Notes

  1. Lisa Smith, “The True Cost of Owning a Car,” Investopedia, accessed March 26, 2015, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/cost-car-ownership.asp.
  2. David Levinson, “We Don’t Pay Enough for Transportation,” Transportationist, August 4 2014, http://transportationist.org/2014/08/04/we-dont-pay-enough-for-transportation/.