Here is why you might not need to own a car

Why you might not need a car

Thinking you may not need a car? In the United States, 88% of people own a car. In the UK, 77% of households own a car. The number of cars and licensed drivers has increased in both countries, however, that doesn’t mean everyone needs to join the party. There are some of us who may not need a car. Although the motives for getting a car seem endless, finding justifications for not owning a car require more considerate and logical thought. Here we highlight a few of the reasons why you may not need a car if you’re undecided about owning one.

[1] You have options for using electrically powered transportation

There are plenty of new ways of getting around like electric scooters, skateboards and bicycles. The newest options are mostly all fully or partially powered by electric motors, such as electric skateboards, scooters, and bicycles. These products were not easily obtained nor cost effective for most consumers even five years ago. However the options in 2021 and beyond are plenty. Riders can easily find hundreds of options online electrically powered transport from all over the world. No doubt, each of these modes of green transport can be good alternatives to owning a car.

E-Scooters

When it comes to electric scooters, Many of you might already be aware of existing brands such as Bird, Xiaomi or Razor. Electric scooters come in a number of options in regards to power, battery range and sizes.

E-Bicycles

Most major bicycle manufacturers now produce one or more electric models. So even if you’re a brand loyalist, chances are you can find a comparable electric version. Prices for electric bikes start around $499 USD, although it’s possible you can shop around and find cheaper prices elsewhere.

E-Skateboards

Although a little less popular than electric scooters and bicycles, electric skateboards shouldn’t be ignored. They are trickier to learn on but they are probably the easiest type of transport to carry around with you without worrying about leaving it parked outside and leave it exposed to the elements, or worse yet, thieves.

What to look out for when buying an electric bike, scooter or skateboard?

I’ve put together a graph of the factors I weigh more heavily when picking an electric bike, scooter or skateboard. I pay attention to things that are more likely to keep me and my money safe. There are times when looking cool, going fast and getting something on finance are useful, but 99% of the time they are a bad idea.

[2] Government subsidies make it easy for green commuting

The UK government offers business 100% tax deduction on expenses for employee bicycle purchases needed for work journeys. This is one of the few tax benefits that are related to products for work commuting. Governments are trying to make it easier to use greener modes of transport by designing and building routes for cyclists, scooterists and skateboarders. Regardless of the size of your city, you can take advantage of these highly mobile methods of transportation to your advantage. Cities of all sizes are looking to increase cycle, skate and scooter paths so residents have greener and safer commuting options.

[3] There are cheaper and easier alternative transportation services

On demand cab or taxi hire services such as Uber or Lyft, as well as other ride sharing services fill the gap when you may need to travel over longer distances. If you find your spend racking up for taxi or ride sharing services, then you could consider mixing up your modes of transport to experience alternatives which may be more cost effective or environmentally friendly than full-time vehicle ownership. There are a number of ride sharing services out there, including good old fashioned buses, which are often the most cost effective and environmentally friendly. There are also car pooling options offering their services for rides all around world.

Ride hailing apps

Uber and Lyft have grown to be two transport giants over the past decade. Uber has a larger global footprint than Lyft, however there are dozens of large competitors all over the world that provide a similar if not better experience and value when compared to Uber or Lyft. Although you may need to wait to hail a ride, or pay additional fees during times of high demand, you will sleep easier knowing you won’t be burning money on depreciation, insurance, financing or other costs when your car is sitting pretty parked on your driveway.

Car pooling services

There have been several carpooling services in the U.S. that lay claim to being one of the first in America. Although there was a short period of decline from the 1970’s to the 2000’s, carpooling has steadily increased in popularity in recent years. Many services cater to riders in particular geographies or have more global footprints. A few of the more popular services include Carma, BlahBlahCar, RideJoy and SideCar. There are also thousands of companies that have been servicing their local towns, cities or states for dozens of years.

Bus Services

Greyhound is a bus service in the U.S. which started in 1914. Greyhound offers riders a bus service across 3,800 North America destinations. All this is offered at a very reasonable price. Greyhound has been recently active in initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. So, eco conscious riders will have more reasons to celebrate this historic and value focused brand.

[4] You’re health conscious

Riding a bike or riding a skateboard are good cardiovascular and muscle building exercises. Getting fresh air is also a good way to release stress and reset your senses after a day sitting in front of the computer or stuck at home. The number of calories burned depends on the weight of the person doing the activity as well as the duration.

To get some perspective on the health benefits of commuting, here is a table showing the number of calories burned for 30 minutes of activity. Even leisurely biking for 30 minutes burns at least 100 calories, that’s a scoop or two of low fat ice cream. Delicious fuel worth the effort of the ride.

Activity120 LB Person160 LB Person200 LB Person
Bicycling, 12-14 mph, moderate (cycling, biking, bike riding)218290363
Bicycling, <10 mph, leisure (cycling, biking, bike riding)109145181
Skateboarding136181227
Walking, 3.0 mph, mod. pace90120150
Walking, 2.0 mph, slow pace6891113
Running (jogging), 10 mph (6 min mile)435581726
Running (jogging), 5 mph (12 min mile)218290363
Source: MyFitnessPal, Calories Burned From Exercise

[5] You want to be considerate of the environment

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average passenger vehicle emits about 411 grams of CO2 per mile. Using an electric or fully manual bike, scoot or skateboard reduces your carbon footprint to virtually zero. People are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint, and although this can drive your decision with your preferred mode of transport, it shouldn’t be your only reason. Consider your choices across each season and different weather conditions. Think about your physical limitations on different physical activities and Also, ensure you have got two back-up modes of transport as often you may find it difficult to rely on two.

[6] You’re aiming to reduce your cost per mile to travel

Not having a car provides a number of cost savings benefits. Mainly due to the lack or reduction in required petrol needed, lower depreciation, lower maintenance costs, parking costs, taxes as well as other costs that come with car ownership. These are often easier to park, require cheaper or no insurance, and have lower operating and maintenance costs.

AAA, American Automobile Association, Inc., has performed numerous studies on the cost per mile ownership of new cars versus used cars. For 2020, the estimated cost per mile for new cars is listed below:

Miles per Year10K15K20K
Average Cost82.36¢63.74¢54.57¢
Source: AAA, Your Driving Costs 2020

The costs include factors such as depreciation, fuel, insurance, license, registration, taxes, repairs, maintenance, tires and finance. The cost per mile on used cars is considerably less, but considering the average car in the U.S. pays $0.09 per gallon on gas alone, even without depreciation taking a big chunk of value, it’s around $0.25 per mile.

Comparing fuel costs across modes of transport

How does this stack up to other modes of transport? By just considering fuel or energy costs per mile, and not factoring in any other costs, we can get a better understanding how different modes of transport compare to one another. Maintenance, finance and other costs of these modes of transport are ignored as it really comes down to factors like your age, type of car, number of miles covered, location as well as dozens of others.

Cost per mile e-rides

We can see that the fuel costs of the above different modes of transport varies considerably. Basically, anything electric costs a fraction less when compared to the traditional internal combustion car. If you want to drop your fuel costs to zero, you can opt to ride a manual bike, rollerblades or a skateboard. However, it’s hard to ignore the practicality of an E-bike, where you can effortlessly switch between manual and electric motor modes. Furthermore some of these e-bike motors are regenerative so it could technically drop your energy costs per mile to zero.

Wrap up

Regularly assess your needs for a car. Your reasons may change over time and it’s good to confirm your reasons are still valid as your circumstances, such as place of work or home, change. Getting rid of your car will usually end up saving you money. Although it will require you to plan ahead with your commutes depending on your fall-back mode of transport and constraints.