I visited a friend in Portland, Oregon, after a conference last week and was impressed that she and her husband have decided to go carless. They only have one car. She bikes a few miles to her work everyday and he works from home. She has found a local grocery store who delivers for $10…way cool. And they have a Zipcar option nearby for very short term needs, like hauling mulch for the garden. They’ve considered where their friends live and in many cases could get there by bus or by bike. They’ve figured out how much money they’d save, even if they rented a car once a week. They’re ready to try it. In answer to the skeptics who fear they’ll hate it, they say, “If it doesn’t work, we’ll buy a car again.” So big deal, the decision is pretty much risk-free. I’m really proud and a little jealous of them. It’s making me think more about our options. We already made the leap to one car and I love that. I walk to work everyday and my husband essentially works from home, so one works great and it might be possible to go cold turkey. We have good public transportation, but not on the weekends. Still, I find myself hesitant, at least until my daughter graduates from college. She doesn’t have a car and we get together a lot, often because we have one. And there are other reasons. I take my dog different places which would be hard if not impossible without a car. Yet, I know I often don’t realize my options until forced to find them, so I may keep a log of our trips and think more critically. Or maybe I’ll try a car-free week or month and see if what happens. Why? Because it’d save money and be one less thing to maintain. Because having a car makes it too easy to use and less driving is better for the environment. And even if I find the timing isn’t right to go carless just yet, I’ll perhaps make better decisions about when to drive as a result.

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