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Sidonie Sawyer Headshot

Why Own a Car?

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If you live in or near a big city, no need to buy, insure, use and feed your own car any longer, clever deals free you of all things automobile, unless you want to be a slave to the high consumerism behavior of car ownership.

Let me explain. When most of us buy a car, we adopt a lifestyle of dependency. We depend on income to pay for the car payments. We depend on insurance companies to likely rip us off as insured members. We depend on foreign oil from far away lands (some unfriendly) to feed the metal beasts we drive. Is that still a pleasure you think?

But what if we only need a car every other day, or only on weekends, or only twice a month? Wouldn't it make sense then to rent one? No more parking or storage problems when the car is not in use. No more high insurance premiums and best of all, no more car payments!

Some companies rent cars for as little as $18 a day. So let's say you only want a car on Saturdays to do your weekly shopping; then have a car for a day for about $20 and then be done with it. If you are a college student and only need a car one weekend each month to visit your family, rent a car for 2 days for less than $50. If your city is not equipped with enough transportation, a lot of the rental cars companies will pick you up at home when you need to get a car. And drop you off when you're done.

And really if you are a college student living on campus, when do you ever need a car? Most campuses offer free shuttles to shopping malls and medical centers, so students won't need to have a car at all. That is a wise decision in my opinion.

When I lived in New York, I never drove in the city. Subway, buses and taxis were my modes of transportation. We would rent a car for weekends upstate or to the beach. And we just shopped for food less, much less. We had small daily purchases instead of massive weekend refills of carts and carts of food.

If you have loads of kids, dogs, and/or live in the country or a small town, then a car is probably necessary, but half of Americans live in or near a big city, so it would be a green eco-friendly thing to do, probably healthy for some egos as well, to stop wanting your own car. And besides, you can use a different model each time you rent, how cool is that?

Another new option to get a car from time to time: a new company called Zipcar claims to be the alternative to owning, or even renting a car. The concept here is to buy a Zipcard which will then unlock a car full of gas and fully insured 24/7 in all the locations where the company has vehicles, for as little as $7.75 an hour; 180 miles are included in the basic deal, but you can add mileage without breaking the bank. The service is available in about two dozen American cities so far, plus 300 campus locations, as well as in Canada, England, Austria, and Spain. This is a similar concept as the bikes rentals docked in big cities such as New York or Paris.

If everybody on the planet would behave a little more sensibly, we can fix our cars' problem, lower pollution and traffic jams, save money on insurance, free ourselves of worldly possessions. Well, that might be too much to ask.

Go walk!

See my picture blog here.

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