We have been discussing getting rid of our van for several weeks now. What better day than "Dump the Pump" day?! When I say getting rid of our van, I mean getting rid of having a vehicle, period. We have spent the past few months riding the bus and walking as much as possible.
We have been measuring out the pros and cons and we have found there are more reasons against car ownership than for it. Gas prices, insurance, car payments, maintenance and repairs, pollution, parking, the list goes on. When you compare that to the benefits of NOT owning a vehicle, it is really hard for me to see why we wouldn't get rid of the van!
Riding the bus, walking and riding our bikes benefits us in so many ways; more exercise (I have lost 15 pounds since we started riding the bus!), less carbon footprint, less stress in traffic, and the BIG one, less cost per month (we figured out we will save at least $600 per month and that's NOT counting repairs and maintenance!). Not to mention, slowing down the pace of life and stopping to smell the roses (or whatever other flowers and plants and sights you may see along the way). When you aren't driving you just see so much more of the world around you.
Another couple inspired us during this decision making process, they too have dumped their vehicles and Don McIver even has a blog dedicated to it! One of my hopes is that we can inspire others to do the same!
Granted, we will lose the convenience of a vehicle, we have to plan our trips and times we can go somewhere. Of course, weather can also play a factor at times, but luckily we live in one of the 8 sunniest cities in the country(#4!)! One of the things we have discovered in paying attention to the use of our van is that we usually stay within a 5 mile radius of our home. Most of the places we go on a daily basis are within walking distance. We also live in a city with an excellent public transit system. We pay $60 for two 30 day bus passes and we can go anywhere we need to go.
So, what about longer trips out of town? For our trip to California we rented a car. The gas mileage alone made it worthwhile! Our van gets 19 mpg and the rental car got 35 mpg. We go on trips about once every two to three months. The amount it cost to rent the car for our trip was less than one van payment. Getting rid of the $600 monthly expense of having a vehicle is going to allow us to travel MORE! We are willing to give up convenience in order to travel more outside our city and eventually, outside the country. Seems like a pretty good trade off to me!
UPDATE: Just found this article about ABQ being the 7th best city in the USA for public transportation!