For one thing, they are expensive. Forget the price of gas – cars require you to pay for insurance, tires, oil & various fluids as well as expensive mechanic fees.
Over at The Simple Dollar today there is an excellent post breaking down the costs of car ownership. The price of running a vehicle is one of the biggest drains on the budget besides housing.
We’ve managed to bring our total housing costs (including utilities) to below $500 a month, so we’re hesitant to start spending at least that to own a car now that we’ve done without it for a month. We’ve been relying on bicycles and busses and have found that while there are cons, the pros are winning.
For one thing, I am getting tanned and fit without having to pay for a gym, workout gear or gas to get there. We’ve got a child carry wagon from a garage sale to haul things too big for a backpack. So far that’s been laundry, plant pots and a small microwave. We never worry about filling up the tank.
The busses in our area can fill in the gaps. There’s a bike rack on the front of the bus so you can bring your bike along for the ride. For $1 I can relax in the air conditioning and listen to 80’s Top 40. The bus does have drawbacks; on a recent trip for a far away job interview I left at 9:30am and arrived back home at 5:30pm. That’s about an 8 hour trip for a 1 hour interview. Not sustainable.
Consequently I’m sticking close to home for the majority of my job searching. If and when we need vehicles we’re planning on getting motorcycles. My last motorcycle cost me $100 a year for insurance and $5 a month on gas. All that plus what one of my sons calls “cool factor”.
I can’t see much a future for cars right now, and more people than ever are saying no to driving. One of my bus mates was telling me that her car had broken down and the mechanic wanted $1500 for repairs. Up until then she hadn’t even known there was a bus available. When asked what she was going to do with her car she answered, “Not pay that mechanic, that’s for sure. I was always having to scrape gas money together every week and now I can use that cash to get ahead on my other bills. He can keep that hunk of junk for all I care.”
Maybe one day it will have value as a fossil.