Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One Car

Nancy's old Subaru bit the dust a little over a month ago while we were traveling on our way back from Christmas/New Years on the Cape. The Subaru was a great car that served us well, but it didn't add up to put in the repairs, so we had it hauled off to car heaven.

That means that we now have one car, my trusty 1990 240 Volvo wagon. (Pictured with Nance amidst the splendor of the Nebraska praire about 6 years ago.) It has 287,000+ miles and it and it still runs just fine. It looks pretty rough these days with missing bits of trim and rust creeping about, but it runs reliably.

That means we are now a one car family. This situation has worked out well so far since I've been mostly focused on house stuff and Nancy frequently commutes with a regular arrangement to work. Not having a car at hand all the time has encouraged me to do a bit more cold weather biking then I'd otherwise do, which is great.

It'll always be a fascination of mine to envision that we could live without a car. I read about folks who do it in urban areas and I feel envious. Living in a rural area with steep terrain and serious winters tends to work against that possibility, but it is a compelling dream nonetheless.

When the Subaru died we had a discussion about whether only having one car could work and in the end it we concluded that just because we might have two cars does not mean we have to use both of them, but the option is there when we need it. While this is true, having two cars encourages the temptation to avoid creative solutions to getting around, and its those creative solutions I'm curious about.

I'm not sure what we'll do in the long term, but for the moment, one car is working pretty well.

No car? Well, that's another story.


Robin McDermott said...

Hi Yurtville People,

Bill McKibben wrote a book titled "Maybe One" a few years back. It is a personal and environmental agrument for a single child family. I think that you could write a sequel: Maybe One, The Sequel: A Personal and Environmental Agrument for a Single Car Household.

Sometimes it seems like people actually THINK that they NEED their cars more than they NEED Children.

Robin M

Dave said...

That's interesting stuff Robin. I've heard of Bill McKibben's book, but haven't read it.

Yeah, I wonder if the idea of not each having our own car is just something we're not used to so it seems challenging and a little scary. We've actually settled into the situation pretty well, but it could be challenging if I were working steadily outside the house and needed to move stuff a lot. I would love to do work that didn't require more then I can do on a bike... I just need to work out what that is!

Shannon said...

It would be amazing if we could all live without cars.. but for now, just one car is a good start!

That's how we roll in our family. Just a little advance planning, and it's easy... and less hassle, less expense, less waste.

jds said...

How about more car sharing? You mentioned in your post that the need for a second car is related to special circumstances. I think that's the case for many of us. I've always shared my car with friends who are in a pinch, how about making it a bit more formal?

Or we could all just drive Vespas.


Anonymous said...

Professor Rob Skiff has an interesting write-up on this.