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Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:27 AM

Do you know how much a gallon of gas costs now? I don't.

I hear it's pretty high, but I realize that I am am almost never aware of the price of gas. That's just one of the wonderful things about being a committed non-driver.

Here are some more great things:

More opportunities to walk
No car payments
No car insurance payments
Never having to worry about parking
Less isolation - more connection to community through walking, public transportation and sharing a ride
The opportunity to slow things down, not rushing from place to place
The opportunity to become a better planner
The wonderful feeling of contributing less to car culture, which I despise
Leaving a smaller carbon footprint than a driver

I'm sure I could think of more, but I'll stop for now.

I have lived all over the country and have never been a driver and I've always done everything I wanted to do. Sometimes, I do have to take car service (which is not cost prohibitive if you think of what you're saving by not maintaining a car.) But mostly I have been able to walk, ride my bike, take public transportation, or coordinate a ride with someone going that way anyway - or as I like to say, giving someone the opportunity to use their car more efficiently.

I wish that every community had better public transportation so that it would be easier for more people to make this choice. Sometimes it is a hassle. (But I hear driving can be a hassle sometimes too.) But so many people say this choice would be impossible for them - my neighbors, who live, work and shop in the same community as me, say it would be impossible not to drive. It's not. Even without better community planning, more people could make this choice right now. And if they did, might that not contribute to better community planning?

On the bus on the way to work this morning, I was looking at all the cars on the road and every one of them had a single occupant. I was really proud to be on the bus by choice.

On Saturday I had to go to the bank, which is less than a mile from my house. I asked my 7-year-old son, who was playing computer games, to come take a walk with me. He put up a little resistance, but gave in. While we were walking he said, "I wish we could drive. I wish you didn't have all these crazy ideas about cars." I said, "What's crazy is burning fossil fuels to take a trip that's less than a mile from your house if you are able to walk. Plus, it's good exercise and it gives us a chance to be together." It did turn out to be a lovely walk.

Cars are tools and I know they are good for many things, but we overuse them and our ideas about the extent of their necessity are way out of whack.

That's my car rant for the day. Thanks for listening.

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Do you know how much a gallon of gas costs now? I don't. (Original post)
rbnyc Mar 2012 OP
roody Mar 2012 #1
rbnyc Mar 2012 #10
hlthe2b Mar 2012 #2
rbnyc Mar 2012 #12
liberal N proud Mar 2012 #3
rbnyc Mar 2012 #13
liberal N proud Mar 2012 #20
Trillo Mar 2012 #4
rbnyc Mar 2012 #14
bowens43 Mar 2012 #5
rbnyc Mar 2012 #15
ForgoTheConsequence Mar 2012 #6
rbnyc Mar 2012 #18
dmallind Mar 2012 #7
rbnyc Mar 2012 #19
Bluenorthwest Mar 2012 #8
rbnyc Mar 2012 #9
Bluenorthwest Mar 2012 #11
rbnyc Mar 2012 #16
Bluenorthwest Mar 2012 #23
rbnyc Mar 2012 #17
rbnyc Mar 2012 #21
kestrel91316 Mar 2012 #22
rbnyc Mar 2012 #24
nxylas Mar 2012 #25
Gormy Cuss Mar 2012 #26
Global Teach-In Mar 2012 #27

Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:32 AM

1. I don't know either.

I drive 6 miles round trip to work in a diesel VW Golf. I don't fill up more than once a month. Thank you for setting a car-free example.

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Response to roody (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:43 AM

10. Awesome. nt

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:35 AM

2. RIghteous rant only if the rest of the US were equally able to support mass transit-Unfair otherwise

I live in the west. For more than two decades I have fought to try to get rapid rail along the I-70 corridor from Denver to the ski resorts and western slope and along the North-South corridor from Fort Collins to Denver and down to Colorado Springs. We have been blocked at every turn and now it is a crisis situation where the shoulders on I-70 are now being discussed as appropriate to overflow to try to put a bandaid on the solution. Tax-opposed RETHUGS have delayed any possible action so long that it is now far too expensive to widen the highway and rapid rail has now become an impossibly expensive dream.

Despite the stereotype of all westerners driving big-assed SUVs (and certainly many still do), the Denver Metro area was among the first metro areas to embrace hybrid cars--with Prius being among the most widely sold vehicle in the state--the running joke was that they pre-shipped to Colorado with an Obama sticker the year we turned "blue."

I seek out neighborhoods that are walkable and my driving has decreased 1000%. At home, I walk/bike nearly everywhere. But if I have to commute again long distances for work, I will have no way in the world to do so except to drive. NYC is so very different from most of the rest of the world. Be happy. Be glad. Be thankful. But know that your fortune is not something that has ever been an option for most of the rest of us. The rest of us are doing the best we can and we care just as much.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:48 AM

12. I was a non-driver in Cottonwood AZ...

...in Galesburg Il, and now in the suburbs. I'm not just talking about being car free in nyc. (Where I do not live now, but did live when I first joined DU in 2001.)

In any case, the work your doing to get rapid rail is so important and I know such an uphill battle.

I do mean to say that not driving or driving less would be much easier if all communities had better options. But I also do mean to say that a lot of people drive one mile to the bank on a Saturday when they could take a walk with their kid, and a lot of people think not driving is impossible when it's more possible than they think.

Sorry I came off as self righteous.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:36 AM

3. Living in a city you have that options

Living in a rural or suburbia, one does not have the option to walk. They don't provide us with transit in these parts of the country, the republicans would view that as socialism.

My job is 10 miles from my home. the roads for most of the travel have drainage ditches on both sides with no sholder, walking or riding a bike would be dangerous to say the least.

We have to be aware of the price of gas and to shop for the best price, The last two weeks, I was lucky to catch prices before they jumped, I filled up on Monday @ $3.70/gallon, it is now $3.79.

Our family and children live long distances from us, flying is not an option so we have to drive from Ohio to Florida or Ohio to Iowa/Missouri area at least two times each year.

I need my cars.

If I lived in New York City, I wouldn't have a car either. But you are never the less affected by gas prices in the cost of everything you do.



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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:50 AM

13. I don't live in NYC.

I lived in NYC when I first joined DU.

I've also lived in Cottonwood, AZ, Galesburg, Il, the Chicago suburbs and other areas with no or limited public transportation.

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Response to rbnyc (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:13 PM

20. You must still live close to public transportation

The nearest city bus line in my area is 10 miles away. Most of America it is much further.

My applogies for assuming your username indicated you live in NYC.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:37 AM

4. When my generation were kids

the newspapers ran all sorts of stories about kids getting picked up by strangers who were pedophiles. The schools also pumped this information as safety oriented. Never, ever talk to strangers was the watchword for kids.

Now, it's good to talk to strangers, as they are actually "community"? Who knew?

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Response to Trillo (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:52 AM

14. Stranger Danger

I read a good article about this a while ago. I wish I could find it. It's about how we teach kids not to talk to strangers, but we should be teaching them to be discerning. Don't talk to a stranger trying to lure you into a car, but if you are being followed by a car, do talk to the neighbor you may not know who is out working in her garden.

I think it's okay to have conversations with people on the bus, or say hi to people when you're walking through the park.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:42 AM

5. that's good for you but many of us don't live in a community or city, no public transportation

 

the nearest 'place' (store etc) to my house is 5 miles away. town is 7 miles. work is 37 miles. doctor 20 miles. etc etc

I certainly would not be driver if I had the choice, but I really don't

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Response to bowens43 (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:53 AM

15. I had no public transportation when I lived in Cottonwood, AZ.

But I did have nice weather and was healthy enough to ride a bike.

I do know that some people need to have a car. I just think that people have a distorted idea of how much they need a car and how often they need to use it.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 10:46 AM

6. Fantastic!

I'm happy for you. Now let me tell you a little about myself. You know that house you live in? Myself or someone like myself helped build that house. You know the walls you enjoy? The ones that keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer and provide privacy and security? I helped put those up. Do you know how hard it would be to haul sheet rock on the subway or on a bike?

A bundle of shingles weighs about 80lbs they probably need about 50 of those bundles to do your roof.

Guess what? When gas prices go up............ prices go up elsewhere! This affects YOU!


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Response to ForgoTheConsequence (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:00 PM

18. I do know...

...that the price of gas makes other prices go up and I do acknowledge that cars and other vehicles are the right tools for some jobs. I believe I said that as well.

But I am also saying that it's crazy for someone to drive their car 6 blocks to the bank to deposit a check on a nice day if they can walk. And I'm saying that people do have an unbalanced notion of just how much they need cars, for when and why. We overuse them.

I really don't think there's anything in my post that suggests you should haul 80lbs of shingles on your bike.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:03 AM

7. I use precisely as much gas as you do and I know. It's those big illuminated signs that help me.

I'm pretty sure your "community" has them.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:00 PM

19. LOL

That's fair. I guess I'm just noticing other things.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:05 AM

8. So you just call for a car and driver when you need to. That is not going without.

 

In fact, if I could call a car service when I wanted to, I'd gladly not own a car. Many well off people in NYC do not own a car, they simply use a car service, this is not the same as refusing to use a car, and such livery is not the same as going without, it is simply paying in another way. It is a luxury of the first order.
When you need a car, you pick up the phone and order one. I'm considering the use of Zip Cars, which is an hourly rental on retainer, one can look it up. If I do that, I'll no longer own a car, I will still use a car and gas and all of that. When I use a taxi, same thing. 'Not my pink slip' is not the same as 'not my footprint'.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:42 AM

9. 1 or 2 times a month.

Mostly I walk, ride my bike or take the bus. Sometimes I walk to the grocery store and call a car to come home if I have more than I can carry. I spend about 20 minutes a month in a car.

I think if you read my post, it's pretty clear that I was just acknowledging that sometimes I have to do that, NOT that I just do it whenever I need to go somewhere.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:43 AM

11. I also know how much a 'car service' costs. If you are in NY/NJ or another major city

 

you should check out Zip Car. So much more cost efficient than calling for a sedan and driver. So much. And the gas and insurance is included in the price, so you do not really need to know those nasty prices. Last I looked, a sedan in NYC was around 50 an hour, 2 hour min in Manhattan, 3 for outside. So one 3 hour trip to Queens is 150. Plus tip. Which needs to hit 20%. That's two full days in a Zip Car.....also with Zip you get a choice of cars from trucks to Audi A3 to Prius and Focus and Minis. A different car for each need, for each mood.
http://www.zipcar.com/nyc/find-car

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:55 AM

16. Thanks.

I'll look into Zip car. I'm not in the city so I don't know if they have it here, but I actually never heard of it so I really appreciate the tip.

I usually only need a car when I go grocery shopping by myself (instead of with a neighbor.) It costs 8 bucks.

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Response to rbnyc (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:56 PM

23. Ah,well you call a taxi. That's not a car service.

 

So some of my comments might not apply. Sorry for my ancient lexicon.
Still, you are deciding when you 'need' a car, just as others are. Perhaps others also mean need when they say need, just as you do?

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 11:56 AM

17. Wow!

I'm glad I didn't post this in GD.





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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:13 PM

21. Defensive repost.

Do you know how much a gallon of gas costs now? I don't.

(Although I am aware that it drives the price of everything up. And I'm also aware that it's well advertised, but I guess I'm looking at other things when I'm out and about. Sorry.)

I hear it's pretty high, but I realize that I am am almost never aware of the price of gas. (Please see above.) That's just one of the wonderful things about being a committed non-driver.

Here are some more great things:

More opportunities to walk
No car payments
No car insurance payments
Never having to worry about parking
Less isolation - more connection to community through walking, public transportation and sharing a ride
The opportunity to slow things down, not rushing from place to place
The opportunity to become a better planner
The wonderful feeling of contributing less to car culture, which I despise
Leaving a smaller carbon footprint than a driver

I'm sure I could think of more, but I'll stop for now.

I have lived all over the country and have never been a driver and I've always done everything I wanted to do. Sometimes, I do have to take car service (which is not cost prohibitive if you think of what you're saving by not maintaining a car.) But mostly I have been able to walk, ride my bike, take public transportation, or coordinate a ride with someone going that way anyway - or as I like to say, giving someone the opportunity to use their car more efficiently.

I wish that every community had better public transportation so that it would be easier for more people to make this choice. Sometimes it is a hassle. (But I hear driving can be a hassle sometimes too.) But so many people say this choice would be impossible for them - my neighbors, who live, work and shop in the same community as me, say it would be impossible not to drive. It's not. Even without better community planning, more people (Not every one and not even most people, just more people) could make this choice right now. And if they did, might that not contribute to better community planning?

On the bus on the way to work this morning, I was looking at all the cars on the road and every one of them had a single occupant. I was really proud to be on the bus by choice. (Not righteous, just proud. I am really glad I'm not a single person in a car. I think that's okay.)

On Saturday I had to go to the bank, which is less than a mile from my house. I asked my 7-year-old son, who was playing computer games, to come take a walk with me. He put up a little resistance, but gave in. While we were walking he said, "I wish we could drive. I wish you didn't have all these crazy ideas about cars." I said, "What's crazy is burning fossil fuels to take a trip that's less than a mile from your house if you are able to walk. Plus, it's good exercise and it gives us a chance to be together." It did turn out to be a lovely walk.

Cars are tools and I know they are good for many things, but we overuse them and our ideas about the extent of their necessity are way out of whack. If you have to go someplace far away and there is no public transportation, if you have to haul something heavy, if you really are just pressed for time and it's impossible to plan otherwise - vehicles are important tools. But we do overuse them.

That's my car rant for the day. Thanks for listening.



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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 12:26 PM

22. Pretty sad how, on DEMOCRATIC Underground and in the PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

 

forum, a post like yours gets far more negative response than positive.

This civilization and humans are doomed.

I am car-free in Los Angeles and while a car would make my life easier in some respects, I am getting along pretty well without one. And no, I don't have to constantly cadge rides off friends.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 7, 2012, 01:28 PM

24. Thanks.

I really appreciate that.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #22)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 09:16 AM

25. I think people are being a tad over-literal

They fail to appreciate the overall theme of the benefits of a car-free lifestyle and seem unable to see past "OMG, you don't know how much a gallon of gas costs?"

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Sun Mar 11, 2012, 06:38 PM

26. I attended a community meeting recently on the topic of safe routes for school kids.

This area is more small urban than suburban but the jurisdiction is a county rather than a city or town and that means we don't have amenities like sidewalks even though there are always people walking themselves or their dogs in the neighborhood.

The transportation planner asked for a show of hands indicating how many of us walked to school as kids. In a room of about 60 adults, the vast majority raised their hands. When the planner then asked how many of their own kids walked to school (whether with the parent or alone) only a few raised their hands.

At least our county was starting to address the lack of safe pedestrian access near the elementary school. That's a start.

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Response to rbnyc (Original post)

Sat Mar 24, 2012, 06:29 AM

27. Spam deleted by Ian David (MIR Team)

 

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