The bottom line
The bottom line is this: leading a car-free lifestyle helps your bottom line. Not your tush, we're talking money here. Consider for a minute that the American Automobile Association estimates the average new car costs about $6,400 a year to own and operate.
That's right, once you send in the monthly payment check, buy gas and oil, pay for insurance, shell out for parking and registration and E-checks (and maybe even an occasional ticket when the meter runs fast), and then factor in long-term maintenance costs, you'll spend over $525 a month for the privilege of a shiny new car! Even older cars, the ones that many families keep as a second (or sometimes third) car, will cost thousands of dollars per year.
So living a more car-free lifestyle pays off in a big way. One recent study found that giving up a second car can save a family as much as $4,300 a year.
Now, that's not all extra spending money, of course, because you'll still have other transportation expenses. First, you'll need to spend $600 a year on transit, the cost of an annual RTA express-fare pass. You might also rack up $300 a year on taxi fare for when you go shopping for bulkier items or need to get home late at night. Another $400 a year will pay to occasionally rent a car when you want to take a fun weekend trip or you need the carrying capacity of a private car.
That adds up to just $1,300, and you're left with $3,000 in savings!
To most of us, $3,000 is a pretty good amount of money. You can rent an apartment that costs $250 more a month, for example. Or sock it away in your savings. Or take a trip, see more movies and concerts, buy a lot of great books, nicer clothes or contribute to more good causes.
But that's not all. There's an improved bottom line for everybody else too. When you save money by living a more car-free life, you also reduce congestion on the roads, help improve air and water quality by cutting down on pollution, do your bit to reduce greenhouse gases that are raising the earth's temperature, and decrease our dependence on oil as a fuel source.
Any way you slice it, a car-free lifestyle's a good deal for everybody!