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Friends of David Kadavy, rejoice! Given my current living situation, I was finally able to accomplish one of my life’s dreams. It’s been a long and hard road, but I made it! I am finally free…
…I sold my car. What’s that you ask? Am I buying a new one? Not anytime soon! In keeping with some of my philosophies on life, I will be walking, riding a bike and using car sharing programs for those rare instances when I simply need a vehicle.
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Living in San Francisco makes this transition particularly easy, but it didn’t have to be this way. Cars simply aren’t necessary to the level that they have been forced upon us by the auto industry, and that has caused our cities to be planned in a way that makes not owning a car nearly impossible in many of our cities. Some facts about cars besides the obvious (source: Natural Capitalism):
- Have resulted in a paving of an area equal to the arable land in the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, requiring maintenance costing more than $200 million per day.
- Have maimed and injured 250 million people, and killed more Americans than have died in all wars in the country’s history.
- Combust 8 million barrels of oil every day (450 gallons per person annually).
- Kill a million wild animals per week, plus tens of thousands of domestic pets.
- Create a din of noise and a cloud of pollution in all metropolitan areas, affecting sleep, concentration, and intelligence.
- Have caused spectacular increases in asthma, emphysema, heart disease, and bronchial infections.
- Create 7 billion pounds of unrecycled scrap and waste every year.
- Use only one percent of the energy in the fuel consumed to actually propel the driver.
Some of you may be wondering about the car sharing programs. Here is essentially how they work:
- Zipcar has a membership fee of $50 a year, but it’s easy to find promotions that waive that fee for the first year.
- Cars are parked in various places throughout a number of cities – my nearest cars are about two blocks away, but I can sign up to use any of the cars, which are as far away as London.
- I can reserve a car online ahead of time. Yes, by Saturday afternoon it can be tricky to find a car that is free that same day.
- During the time my car is reserved, I just swipe my membership card by the windshield, and it will unlock the door. Inside I will find the keys and a card for buying gas.
- ZipCars range from about $9-13 an hour depending on the type of vehicle I reserve, and that includes insurance, gas, and maintenance. Some other programs have lower hourly rates, but unlike ZipCar, charge by the mile in addition to that. It depends upon the type of trip I am making.
When you include car payment, interest, parking, parking tickets, insurance, gas, smashed windows, oil changes, and depreciation, it costs at least $500 a month to have a car in San Francisco. You can get lots of ZipCar trips (or indulgent cab rides) for that, and one less thing to worry about.
Today is a happy day.
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