P = Park Ur Car
Well, unless you live in an urban area with great public transportation, going completely car-free for many of families would be a big leap. But it isn’t all of nothing. You can still make a big impact on your health, the local economy, and the environment by choosing to drive your car less often.
Driving less often means you’ll reduce the amount of fossil fuels you use. Parking your car more often can also save you money on other maintenance costs that are hidden in the high cost of car ownership. The benefits to your lifestyle are huge. You may find that you are more likely to visit local businesses because they are closer and easier to get to, which helps to support your community’s economy and strengthen your community ties, and you might buy less, because you have to think about transporting things home instead of mindlessly dumping countless items in your trunk. And of course, if you choose to walk or ride a bike instead of driving, you’ll benefit physically and emotionally from the extra exercise and time outside. Even if you aren’t ready to give up your car completely, making an effort to drive less often can improve your health, mood and bank account.
The average American uses 450 gallons of oil per year in their vehicles.
- Use public transportation. Although public transportation still uses energy, the total resources used is much less per person. This is a great way to get across town that often costs less than driving, and you don’t have to be the one paying attention to the road. Many children love busses, subways and trains more than cars, because public transportation gives a sense of adventure to the trip.
- Pick one car-free day. Choosing one day per week to give up driving encourages habits like walk or biking to nearby businesses and planning your errands more efficiently.
- Park your car BEFORE you leave for work. Looking into alternative ways to get to work or school or another big daily commute, including public transportation or riding a bike will yield the biggest impact. You might start a carpool program with other co-workers who are interested in driving less.
Read about celebrating World Car Free Day on September 22nd each year. You can also read Tammy Strobel’s e-book, Simply Car Free for more information and inspiration. Several apps and services help families live with only one car instead of two or help people live car-less lives. See if your community has a Zipcar service, or if you can find others who share your commute at eRideShare.