Worth Repeating: Going Carless

Now, before someone calls me a hypocrite, this post is not about my personal journey of going carless…because I haven’t started that journey yet.

This post is, however, about how any attempt, not matter how big or small, and for any amount of time one goes carless, is a great idea.

Here’s why, in pro/con format:


Green is good. Biking makes your carbon footprint smaller. Cars put out approximately 20.4 lbs of CO2 emissions per gallon, SUV’s is up around 28 lbs. If you biked the equivalent of 1 gallon of gas per day (lets say 20 miles), you would lower your carbon footprint by almost 7500 pounds every year! (source)

For your health: Air pollution makes it harder for you to breathe, can send you to the hospital if you suffer from asthma, and possibly worse if you have respiratory problems. Not to mention that where I live, known as the Wasatch Front, is constantly ranked as one of the worst areas in the nation for certain types of air pollution.

Aside from lessening the pollution you’re putting out by not driving, biking is good for your respiratory system, your heart, and your overall fitness level.

It makes you more efficient! Think about it. If you’re going out to run errands on a bike, you’re probably going to plan your trip before you walk out the door so as to save time & energy. That spills over into how you treat the errands you need to run with a car, saving gas and lowering CO2 emissions.

Cons: ummm…sometimes it rains? and ummm, Utah drivers can often be quite scary…?

Sure, there are probably cons, but I personally think that the supposed down sides to biking or even walking to work/errands/whatever aren’t really that bad.

So, if you’ve got a bike, and if things are finally starting to warm up for you wherever you may live, then try it out, or keep it up if you’ve already tried to implement some carless practices in your day to day schedules.

Going carless: definitely worth repeating.

  1. I like how you mention that going carless makes you more efficient. It really does if you think about it. I mean why spend all the energy to lug a 3000lb car about with you when you could just move your own body weight and a briefcase or backpack or whatever cargo you carry. In fact, that is a 2000% increase in efficiency!

  2. No doubt! It’s kind of staggering when you start adding everything up and putting it all into perspective.

    • Vikki
    • March 2nd, 2010

    I’m actually a fan of public transport. Cycling is good and all, but it’s impractical if you live 10-20 miles from where you work. Public transport, although scarce in the US is good for all the time you can’t cycle. My first proper time in Utah on my own I got by because I lived 15 minutes walk from the Trax station. The buses though, I was shocked at how few there were per hour. It’s the kind of thing that if more people used it the demand would heighten and the service would have to improve.

  3. I agree. Sadly Utah is still pretty small time when it comes to that big city feel. I would love to live somewhere like NY or San Fran where they are consciously trying to find ways to lessen the time people have to spend in cars. Trax is a start, and the frontrunner train will be great, but we’re still a ways out from being where we really should be…

    • TSmith
    • March 2nd, 2010

    I’m going to play devils advocate here and list a few cons for discussions sake. Have you ever tried carting a weeks worth of groceries home on your bike? Not fun. Also some folk just don’t live close enough to everything to go carless. You may live close to work or close to the grocer or close to church etc. but you don’t likely live close to all of those things. And then there is visiting family and friends. My in-laws live 100+ miles away and we like to visit them once in a while. That’s a lot of biking.

    Please don’t hate me I just get a little riled by totally one sided arguments (whether I agree with the point or not).

  4. I hear ya. My situation would not permit completely going carless either. The winters here are harsh, and as a cyclist I’d never want to be riding around in that sort of weather, even though I biked for 18 months straight when I lived in DC and Maryland, and much of it was in snow or otherwise inclimate weather. Also, a lot of the driving I do is outside a 10 or even 20 mile radius. If we ever move from working out of my house, I would try as hard as possible to bike to and from where I work, but as of right now I maybe make a few trips a week just around Provo. I will defend, however, that when circumstances permit, its good to try and get out of the car and onto a bike/bus/or foot.

  5. I love living in Manhattan. I never want a car again. I can also get a weeks work of groceries delivered and carried up the stairs to my apartment for me. If I ever really need a car I can always call a car service or a taxi. I feel like its a good solution and saves me the gas, parking, and insurance that I would normally have to pay. I love being carless.

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