Life without a car

I was irrational and couldn’t help it. Really weird.

First time in decades, I am without a car. It felt like going on a trip without computer or forgetting cell phone at home.

For my current situation, owning a car will be an economically wrong decision. My commute to work costs zero and about 15 minutes. We live next to the major retail district. Grocery stores are within walking distance. Car rental locations are very short walk away. Zip car parking lot is right next door. Considering the costs of owning a car — depreciation, maintenance, insurance, governmental fees, etc. — owning a car makes no economical sense.

But I found my judgments and decisions highly irrational. I wouldn’t rent a car just because a restaurant is not easy to get to, for example. Somehow, I couldn’t justify the endeavor when it requires a renting a car, yet I would just do it when I had a car. Financially speaking, renting is cheaper.

This is what I called the “pre-paid is as good as free” irrationality. If I have purchased a gift card for, say, a restaurant. It would have been easier to convince me to patronize the place. Once I do, I would have felt far less guilty ordering an extra appetizer, a nicer bottle of wine, or that decadent dessert. That’s completely irrational.

Maybe it is the spontaneity element? Let’s go do it now! Sure, I will call the car rental immediately. Not having a car prevented us from jumping on an idea and force us to at least plan ahead. Once start planning, all elements, including the rental costs, come into play. Once they are in your head, you cannot get them out.

Seattle’s summer has been beautiful. We walk. For now.

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3 Responses to Life without a car

  1. George says:

    City Carshare and Zipcar are really great services. Some cities and companies will even subsidize the subscription fee, as does the city where I work.

  2. This is an interesting article. As one of the minorities who have no plan to purchase an apartment in China, I do not understand why an apartment under one’s name becomes a neccesity for one’s life and well being. When my daughts goes to primary school in Haikou, we signed a 5-year rental contract with the apartment owner, and the school is within walking distance. We are planning to rental another apartment when our daughter goes to middle school, probably also within walking distance. Economically, it costs much less than purchasing an apartment.

  3. Pingback: End of the Car-less days | Loud Thoughts

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