Get Out of the Car

http://www.riinsuranceblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/commute1.jpgThe choice to drive or not drive to work is often made when you decide where to live and work: many home or work locations are impossible to get to without a car.  But for some, there is a real choice to drive or not drive to work everyday.  If you are uncertain, let me state some advantages of not driving (in no particular order):

(1) Certainty of time spent - Traffic is much more of a wild card than the unknowns associated with walking, biking, or public transit.

(2) Cost savings - Even assuming that not driving still means you own a car (i.e. not driving doesn't mean you save the expense of buying and insuring a car), driving a car is probably something on the order of 50 cents per mile all-in on the margins.  So even a short five-mile commute is something like $1,250 a year (250 work days x 5 miles x 2 ways x $0.50).  Walking, biking, and public transit are going to run you less than that.

(3) Environmental impact - One more car matters, in terms of fossil fuel usage, emissions, and contribution to congestion and inefficient land use patterns.  One more walker, biker, or transit rider has virtually nil impact on the planet. 

(4) Fitness opportunity - There is very little physical exertion involved in walking to and from your car.  Whereas even public transit usually involves a longer walking distance and maybe even some stairs.

(5) Free time - I suppose there are some things you can do in your car, like listen to music or shave or finish up your makeup.  But there are many more things you can on public transit.  Walking and biking, not so much, except for the fact that you're exercising the whole time (see above).

(6) Serendipitous encounters - My favorite reason and an underrated plus for not driving.  God forbid that you should have a chance collision with someone you know when you're behind the wheel.  But when you're walking, biking, or on public transit, it can be a wonderful surprise to collide into a familiar face, a business colleague, or a long-lost friend. 

I'll stop there, although I'm sure there are other pluses.  Get out of your car if you can.  And if you live or work where this is impossible, change where you live or work!

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