Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Could you live in a one car household?

What? Some of you extremists are saying? One car? You should be trying to live without cars entirely!

Okay one step at a time. Let's be realistic here. In a town without an extensive public transport system or car sharing schemes the reality for many of us is that we need our cars.

But! How many cars do you have in your household? Maybe you and your husband each have a car? Maybe a parent lives with you and they have a car? Maybe you have a teenager of driving age (or 2) and they have cars? What is your number? Now think, how many cars do you really need? No, really think about it.

Unfortunately for some of us the answer right now may have to be yes we do. But maybe there are things you could change in your life so eventually you won't need every car you own? Baby steps people, baby steps.

In my household there is just my partner and I and we have de-sized to just one car. The biggest struggle was convincing my other half that we didn't actually need two cars, easier said than done. But we are in the fortunate situation that we work close together (within a 15-20min walk) and we both have public transport options to work, if we didn't have one of these options I think I would have lost the one car battle but as luck would have it we have both.

So we have a bit of flexibility in our working day. If I need to be into work early I take the bus however if I get a bit of glide time in my day then we both go in together. Same with coming home. 

Yes there is the need for compromise. Sometimes I need the car after work and my boyfriend will need to bus home (or he works late and I come back to pick him up) and vice versa but we give each other plenty of notice so we can work around the things we want to do.

Weekends are definitely the easiest as we mostly are spending time with each other so we can share the car. So for now we are quite comfortable in our one car household and with any luck we'll keep it that way.

The biggest advantage? Only one set of maintenance costs. The costs to maintain a car - warrant of fitness, registration, yearly service, insurance - really add up and the difference is noticeable.

Here in New Zealand we have the highest car ownership rate in the world. There are 2.5 million cars for our 4 million people! Since 21% of our population is under 15 and are unable to drive that actually means there are approximately 2.5 million cars for 3.2 million people. A bit of an approximation but you get the picture.

I want you to ask yourself - Could I get rid of one of my cars? or What could I do in my life right now that would get me one step closer to getting rid of a car?

Do you already live in a one car family? Or are you living without a car? I would love to hear your experiences.

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