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On becoming a one-car family

By Claes Bell ·
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Posted: 12 pm ET

There's an interesting article on Bankrate today on the benefits of becoming a one-car family. It got me thinking about the process my family went through to cut down to one car. I have to be honest here and give my wife credit: it was her idea. We started talking about getting rid of one of our cars when she decided to stay home with our daughter rather than go back to work, and we were brainstorming ways to get our monthly costs down.

She suggested we get rid of our newer Mazdaspeed 3 and stick with our paid off but geriatric Accord. I balked at getting rid of the first new car I ever bought, and the conversation was over.

When we moved into our new house that's only about half-mile from where I work, we revived the idea. Because I could easily walk to work, we'd only really need the second car under special circumstances: rainy days, weekends when we had two different places to be. We decided that the added flexibility two cars gave us for situations like those wasn't worth the extra $60 to $70 per month we were paying to insure and maintain our older car, so we decided to park it for a while and see if we could live without it. A month later, we sold the car, a '97 Accord, to my wife's cousin, who is happily driving it as her first car.

So far, the results are mostly positive for us and our family. We get to pocket an extra $70 a month, my wife's cousin has a car to drive and I don't have the option to weasel out of walking or biking to work, which gives me health and psychological benefits. Plus, from an environmental perspective, it was kind of dumb for me to be driving such a short distance to work anyway.

Is your family a one-car family? If so, what was your process and motivation?

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May 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I think it makes a lot of sense to only drive one car per family, if you can manage it. Sharing one car is a lot easier than many realize. It just takes some planning.

May 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Well, it’s amazing. The miracle has been done. Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done.