It has now been exactly one week since my Mazda Miata blew its head gasket–one week of being car free.
Ecology Auto Parts towed my Miata away on Thursday and all I felt was an all-consuming sense of relief. Cars are like a heavy weight on your soul. Get rid of yours and see how great your feel!
They gave me $100 cash and now I am going to save about $150/month in insurance and maintenance. At the end of the year, I save $100 in carbon offsets. I need to pay for public transportation for long trips, but I was doing that anyway. I no longer need to wash, fix, or park a car. My driveway looks huge. I was a little curious to find out how much the car actually cost me over the eleven months I owned it. A little time-value analysis on my trusty spreadsheet program yielded a fairly shocking result:
My $1500 compact car cost me nearly $400 per month, not counting gas! Of course if it had survived for a few more months I could have amortized the expenses over a longer period. Even so, the cost was really too high for what I was getting out of it. Also, I should point out that I did all of my own mechanical, paint, and body work. About the only thing I paid someone else to do was change the oil. If I had had to pay labor on all of my maintenance it would have cost much more.
Of course, the first week has not been without its hiccups. I forgot to look up the bus transfers the night before to get to a doctor’s appointment. I ended up borrowing a car for a couple hours so I could get there on time. Friday, I had run to downtown LA on business in the afternoon and there was no point in going back to the office, so I have been stuck with a pickup all weekend. Still, these things are minor and it is only the first week.
Things are going great for me since I lost the car. Please, think of following my example. Living auto-light is a start, but you really do not receive most of the benefits until you are totally auto-free.
One organization in my part of the world that helps people transition to an auto-free lifestyle is Auto-Free Orange County. Check them out.