Over half of American families have multiple cars, many of them owning at least as many cars as there are drivers in the household. However, one of the greatest expenses for many American families is transportation. Be it from the vehicles themselves, the gas to run them, insurance to protect them, or other accessories to personalize and upgrade them. Not only that, but there are environmental implications of owning multiple cars, and plenty of other incentives to cause a family to consider condensing to one single vehicle. Should you become a one-car family? Sound impossible? Let’s break it down.
There are a few factors that would make it surprisingly easy for a family to make the switch:
Now more than ever, people are working from home because of the Coronavirus. In fact, a study shows that pre-pandemic, 47% of people said they never worked from home, whereas now, 44% of people say they work from home five days a week. If one parents stays at home, whether it is because they work remotely, or to take care of the kids, then there is usually considerably less need for two cars in the household. There has never been a better time to make the switch to working remotely, and spending some time with the kids.
Lifestyle and Activities
If your family’s week is jam packed with extra curricular activities from soccer practices to dance lessons, yoga classes to chess club- you may be familiar with the seemingly endless drop-offs and pickups they entail. It might feel impossible to make this work with a single car, but the key here is to strategize, plan ahead, and make arrangements that work. Try using a family calendar app to help coordinate schedules and communicate plans and appointments as early as possible. Also, consider making plans to travel together as a family, which will always make life with one car easier, plus will increase family bonding!
Other Transportation Options
Check out your local bus route, or if you are lucky to have a metro system, it might be time to snag a frequent rider card. If you aren’t lucky to have access to public transportation, then consider keeping your commute, but adjusting your method. Bike ride, anyone (don’t forget about the popular bike shares across the nation!)? Or how about a carpool? Are you or your kids close enough to school to be able to walk? Leave no stone unturned, and make the commitment to a new mode of transportation.
Swap the Car
If you are confident you and your family will be needing access to another vehicle, and your legs and lungs are saying, “no thank you” to a bike ride to work, then consider a moped or electric scooter. Free of gasoline, electric scooters are a clean, quiet and- let’s be honest- fun option for commuting. They don’t carry the same maintenance costs of cars or other larger vehicles, but are certainly a step up from a bike ride to work. Electric scooters are becoming more and more popular nowadays, with shared rental options like Bird and Lime. Not only that, sales of individual eScooters has skyrocketed in 2020, and it only looks like it’s going up from here.
Now, what are the benefits of making the switch to a one-car family?
First, nixing the extra cars saves loads of money. Less cars means less loans, less gas, less repairs, and less insurance. These costs add up with multiple cars. Not to mention when the kids start to drive and want their own cars thrown into the mix, plus a teen’s insurance costs over three times more than the average driver’s. Best not to add the young ones to the insurance plan if you’re trying to save money. Instead, the whole family can enjoy the saved money when it’s redirected towards paying off debt, investments, kids’ education fund, or saving for annual family vacations.
Save the Planet
Cars add to your carbon footprint, which adds to the climate crisis our planet is going through. Cut down on cars, which on average emit 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, and you’ll cut down on your family’s impact on global warming. This is an important issue which deserves our attention, so any option that helps us cut down on our carbon footprint is well worth exploring.
Improve Health and Fitness
Remember that bike ride? Getting out of the car and hitting the road on two wheels, or even two feet, vastly increases health and fitness levels. One study has even shown that bike commuters live longer than traditional car commuters, drastically lowering risk of heart disease, plus overall increasing their mood. Who doesn’t want a longer, happier life with thighs of steel instead of a hunk of steel on four wheels?
Traditional suburban lifestyles make it seem almost crazy to attempt sharing one car across a family. However, with an open mind, a commitment to change and the willingness to coordinate, it is more than possible. Save money, save the planet, create plenty of excuses for family bonding, and take care of your health by making switch and becoming a one-car family.