The One Car Life

Earlier this spring my husband, Andrew, and I made a huge decision. We became a one car family and gradually cut our personal transportation carbon footprint down by half.

It helped that the car we sold had some technical difficulties, but even so, those difficulties were fixable. Spark plug wires, maybe a sensor or two – totally doable – and then the car could again be depended upon. Before we took the fix-it plunge, though, we had a heart-to-heart.

“We don’t need the car,” Andrew said.

At first, I balked.

“What if one of us needs a car but the other one has it?” I asked.

“I walk 10 minutes to work. You walk 5 minutes to work,” he said. “We walk to the store and to the library, we ride our bikes to our friends’ houses. We really don’t need the car.”

“Let me think about this for a while,” I said.

The days came and went and I spent hours thinking about the car situation while planting our gardens. Each seed placed in the ground was a pro or con for keeping the car. I had become so accustomed to the convenience of two cars, even if one of them did seem to just sit in the driveway.

We had made a point of living in town instead of in the country in an effort to minimize our consumption and to support our local economy as much as possible. The post office, the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, the hair salon, the movie theater – what we need is located in walking distance from our house – and so at the time it made perfect sense to consider moving to a one car situation instead of owning two. But it was still hard to decide. Harder than I expected.

Finally, I went to New York for about a week for a conference and left the working car at the airport while the fix-it project car sat at the mechanic’s shop waiting for us to make our decision. As there were no cars at home for Andrew to drive while I was gone, it was a serious test.

I flew back to Wisconsin and drove from Duluth to Ashland.  Then Andrew and I had another sitdown about the car.

“So what was it like without the car?” I asked.

“It was fine,” he said.

“You didn’t need the car?”

“Nope.”

And that was that. We sold our car and we now live a one car life.

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