I am about to sell my reliable car with low mileage (under 50k). I just bought it in October of 2013 with a hefty discount (I purchased it from my boyfriend’s cousin’s dealership). It gets great gas mileage (around 32 mpg) and is a nice size for parking. It has an excellent turning radius. My car is pretty much everything I could ask for in personal transportation. Yet, I am selling it this week and I do not intend to replace it at this time.
Why on Earth would a resident of Southern California want to do this???
You may be thinking to yourself right about now that I am crazy. How am I supposed to do my weekly (5 gallon) water runs, take the dog to the vet, or get my groceries? These are all good questions. These hypothetical situations do address new problems and concerns that I will have to deal with. Yet, I look at these struggles as exciting new challenges to take on.
I bought my first car at age seventeen. I had finally saved up $1,000 from my telephone interviewer job and a co-worker of mine there was selling hers. It was a 1989 Toyota Corolla, beige. It was older than I was. I was so happy to have it. Until it was later on discovered that the car was not even registered in her name, nor could it be registered because it didn’t pass the California smog test. The car was also broken into while I was at work and the Bill of Sale and fake registration they had given me were stolen. Coincidence? I think not. Especially because I was friendly with the girl, and when my car was broken into they left my weed (how thoughtful).
I digress. The whole point of that trip down memory lane was just to make my point that I have been reliant on cars my entire life. Growing up in the suburbs of Northern California, we used public transportation to go into SF and Berkeley but relied on personal vehicles for everything else. California is a beautiful state, but the city planning was poorly done. Sprawling cities they are called.
An ideal city planning would be similar to Paris or Portland. These cities are very walkable. Everything you need (work, groceries, entertainment, education, recreation) are all located within a 20 minute walking radius. Plus, public transportation options are accessible and affordable. Residents of walkable cities are healthier and happier than those in car-dependent neighborhoods. This is a fact. I enjoy watching TED talks on the subject of walkable cities and I highly encourage you to check them out if you haven’t. New Urbanism in particular is fascinating to me.
So back to my current situation. I currently live in South Orange County. An absolute nightmare in respect to public transportation. If I wanted to take the train into LA and back on a weekday, it would cost me a whopping $30 round trip. This is not even including bus fare to and from the stations. Train service is very limited as well. The last train back to Orange County on the weekend is 4:40 pm!! Really? And while we are on the subject of weekends, most bus lines do not even run on Sunday in Orange County. I plan on moving back to Los Angeles around New Years Eve so that will be a little better. LA has more sufficient public transportation than Orange County, but by no means is it adequate overall.
I am nervous because I am an actor and that entails running around to different auditions and meetings all over town. I know they can be on opposite sides of town at pretty much the same time and this is a real concern for me. However, I know there are many car services now like Uber and Lyft so I believe I will be okay. Another concern is: what if there is an emergency? No one will be driving the buses or taxis if there is a huge earthquake and everyone is in a panic. Or, what if there is a personal emergency such as a health issue for myself or my dog and I need to get to a hospital right away? I would certainly be more stressed than necessary if I have to rely on someone else to get me there.
Although all of these concerns are genuine, I feel so strongly about my personal carbon footprint that I am looking forward to ditching my car. Fossil fuel consumption is ruining the environment. Climate change may be at a point of no return. I find this information to be bleak and depressing but I am uplifted at the thought of at least changing my own ways. It would be hypocritical of me to denounce cars while I am still driving one myself. Yes, my car is fuel efficient. Yes, I try not to drive it when it isn’t really necessary, but it is just too easy to drive it to the store (a mile away) if I have the power to. Self control only goes so far when you have a learned pattern of habit.
I am hopeful that I will discover even more in my neighborhood as a pedestrian. I always think to myself that I notice so much more out and about when I am walking rather than driving. I can actually stop to smell the flowers, observe the wildlife or peek into that cafe that I typically drive by without any thought.
I am also eager to get more exercise in. I hear that we should be walking 10,000 steps a day and right now I do not come close to that unless I go for a hike. Without a car, I will get more blood flowing during my routine tasks. I might also mention that I own an adorable bike and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to use it more frequently. When I lived in Santa Monica, I loved taking my bike to school and to the beach. It was so convenient. I even have a skateboard that will get more use! 🙂
Other reasons to sell your car:
-no road rage
-save money: no more need for gas, maintenance, cleaning costs
-cut monthly expenses: no more car insurance bills
-no more parking tickets, traffic violations, or pesky tolls
-chemicals in gasoline have been proven to be carcinogenic (cause cancer) so less pumping my own gas means less exposure to harmful chemicals
-no need to have parking provided by your landlord or other businesses
-cleaner air with less smog emissions
-a slimmer body with toned legs
-a natural tan and adequate vitamin D
-less animals getting hit by cars
-the money from selling my car will be used to move back to LA and pay rent for a while
-a more beautiful planet for generations to come
Thank you for taking the time to read about my story. I hope someone out there will find this encouraging in their journey to reduce their carbon footprint and help the environment. And if the Department of Transportation is reading this, maybe you will use some funds to create high speed rails rather than allocating all our tax money to widening our freeways! 😉 Let’s Re-Prioritize!