Finally CAR-FREE!

Sad Prius

Sad Prius

My tendency to anthropomorphize everything makes looking at this picture hard. Amos the Prius looks so sad and I genuinely feel a little remorseful. However, I console myself with the thought that he is now roaming freely around the Michigan countryside, no longer locked by himself in a cold city garage, never let out to feel the wind in his grill and glance smugly at other lower forms of automobile as they spew their filth. Yes, he is happy now.

And, really, so am I! We almost never drove that car. Maybe once a month or so. Besides the bikes (transportation choice #1) we have a great public transit train and bus system in Chicago. There’s also the i-Go car sharing system, with a Prius always at the ready only a block from my condo, regular rental cars, and taxis. So after thinking and talking and talking and thinking, my husband and I finally put the Prius up for sale in the beginning of November. This weekend, we got our very first serious inquiry. This is a hard economy in which to sell a car, even a Prius! Our price was low and kept getting lower. We sold for a lot less than we originally planned, but the market spoke loud and clear.

Here is what we save:

$460/month car payment, $100/month insurance payment, $200/year city sticker and registration, $0000/month gas (I feel like the gas number should be really big ’cause that’s what people always focus on, but really, driving a Prius once a month uses almost no gas at all). Here is what we make: $1,200 over what we owed on the car loan (which goes into my savings fund for a new bike!), $150/month renting out our garage space to our neighbor (with a promise that she’ll leave room for my bikes).

Prius Dashboard Stats

Prius Dashboard Stats

I was so excited when we reduced our two cars to one Prius and the Prius is a very nifty car. But my beef with cars does not begin and end with gas consumption – in fact, that’s a very small part of it. The car is very dangerous, divorces humans from our environment, and mucks up our communities by making things like wasteland suburbs possible. Now, lots of people in Chicago live without a car, by both choice and necessity, so it’s not such a big deal here. And if I still lived in the South I probably would still have a car. But I’m happy that I can live without one for now.

One day when I’m living on my sunflower farm with my goats in Canada, I’ll buy a big ol’ Sanford and Son pickup truck to transport my sunflowers and goats to the farmers’ market on the weekends (actually, I could probably do goats in a bakfiets).




16 thoughts on “Finally CAR-FREE!

  1. Elisa says:

    I am so jealous. Good for you.
    maybe I need to move…
    maybe not

  2. MelissaHopeS says:

    Aw, I’m going to miss your Prius. But, it is in a better place.

  3. Lynn says:

    Good for you! City living is so efficient. We live in a suburb just outside the city limits, but even my husband admits there may come a day when we get rid of a car, and he knows it will be his since mine is a Prius (white!). So hard to let go, though.
    I used to dream of raising goats in the Swiss Alps (call me Heidi). Now I dream of living somewhere with great bike trails and coffee shops (Portland? San Francisco? Amsterdam? Copenhagen?).

  4. tsalyards says:

    By selling the Prius you’ve not only cut down on smog emissions but also on smug emissions (it’s a South Park reference). Car free is totally cool, but sometimes I feel like hyrbids are just a convenient excuse for those with the financial means to leave their broken lifestyle unchanged yet feel like they’ve had an impact. Selling your car is really stepping up in a genuine manner. Congrats!

  5. Johnny says:

    Car free is the way to be:)

  6. […] Another CAR FREE cyclist (i). Jump to Comments Congrats to Ms. Dottie! […]

  7. the village scribe says:

    Oh, man, this is so cool. Bully for you. I want to sell one of our cars so badly. I think I actually drive it LESS than once-a-month, on average.

    Just before wandering over here and reading this post, I was writing about why I hate cars. Today, it’s the 10-to-1 ratio of the cost for car parts versus the cost for bike parts.

  8. Charmaine says:

    Hi there – I just read your post about becoming car-free! :) That’s GREAT! I went car-free a year ago and it’s been going just fine. :) Like you, I didn’t use my car much, except on the weekends. I added up the money I’d save by not owning/maintaining a car (about $2000 a year) and decided to give it a try. In the Washington, DC area, we have a great bike path system (which I use to bike to work everyday), a good subway system, and buses. So a person really can live car-free relatively easy here. I have a Zipcar membership for when I REALLY need to have a car (which isn’t often). I put the money I save, into a separate savings account, and have been watching it grow. :) You’ll miss having your car for a little bit, but then will see how good it is to bike places, run errands by bike, etc., and soon you won’t even miss or think about your car. :) Good luck to you and enjoy!! :) Charmaine

  9. Trisha says:

    Amos was a good’un but this was the right decision for you guys. I don’t hate cars or driving but it would be nice for society and the planet if more people could opt out of having one if they wanted to, or realize that they don’t need to use them for everything. Of course that would be easier if more cities were like Chicago! Maybe one day Nashville will be there.

  10. Hooray for you!

    I’d love to be Car-Less(or is it more?) I do bike commute often, but I’m 13 miles from work and need the car for work, sometimes. But I think I really don’t like cars. Mine is all dirty and I drive it only as a last resort. I got laid up last weekend with a spranged ankle and I’m already tired of being in the car, every time I need to go somewhere. I’m putting on wait to.

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  11. msdottie says:

    Thanks everyone for the tips and kind words! Cars, of course, have done a lot of good, too. Trisha, I’m sure you Mustang’s on the good side.

  12. Ghost Rider says:

    Bravo! Such a feeling of freedom, eh?

    I was finally able to go carfree last summer — and haven’t regretted it one bit since then. Public transport isn’t so great in the Tampa area, but I have learned that I can often do without if I can’t ride my bike to the destinations I need to go. Sure, there are some sacrifices…but the payback in money savings and peace of mind makes it UTTERLY worth doing!

  13. Sarah says:

    I am inspired to read this! We are thinking about getting rid of our car; we hardly use it and it sits so long the battery risks dying – my husband would really like to get rid of it and I’m still holding out, but I’m leaning towards taking the plunge! Unfortunately car is the only way to go visit my brother about 80 miles away, so we would have to rent occasionally if we didn’t own one.

    (Btw, I found your blog via a link from another blog – it is good to find more people who make biking their regular means of transportation and to feel I’m not quite so alone!).

  14. […] pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot). Betty Foy – Size […]

  15. […] I test-rode a Dahon folding bike. We took turns talking about why biking is better,  the Dotties went car-free, and Mr. Dottie submitted a guest […]

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