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After 30 years car free, my 1-Year report on owning one again:

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After 30 years car free, my 1-Year report on owning one again:

Old 07-16-22, 12:24 PM
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JoeyBike
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After 30 years car free, my 1-Year report on owning one again:

For 30 years, if I needed a car, I rented a car. Enterprise used to run weekend specials for $10/Day. Normally $19 t $39 a day. The good-ol' days.

A little over a year ago I bought my wife's old car, a 2003 Toyota Camry XLE. It was starting to give her too much trouble.

AAA estimates owning a car now costs roughly $10,000/Year. I though some here might like to know how much it's costing me just in case you ever need or just want one.

I'm old with a perfect driving record so not going to talk about insurance costs too much because it's cheap and well under 1K a year. Actually my wife picks up that bill along with her car as a "thank you" to me for providing her with a second car for whenever hers needs service, or has a flat in the driveway on a workday morning, etc. I bike or walk to work (1.5 miles)

I use the car as a recreational vehicle basically. Barely put 2000 miles on it first year. I can go 2 months without seeing a gas station. When the weather is nice here I might fill the tank once each month. Fuel prices vary but right now it's about $50 a tank full. So max I spend on fuel is $600/year. The car needed some mechanical TLC which cost me just shy of $5,000 over 12 months including regular maintenance. Hopefully the big things are done (Struts, suspension, tires) and will last several years.

I know many here are car "haters". Not me. I actually LOVE cars. I love having a car ready to go instantly in front of my house. However, for those 30 years I just didn't want the extra expense and my health insurance was costing me a small fortune, even tho I don't have any health issues (thankfully). I'm just too cheap to throw money into a car I barely use and can do without.

Why did I finally get one? My current job has great (cheap) health insurance and my wife's car just kinda fell into my lap suddenly when she got fed up with it leaving her on the side of the road twice in a couple months. So I figured I would give it a shot. I love going to a Rails to Trails about 30 miles away and the bridge to get there does not allow bikes on it. The bridge is 24 miles long anyway. Rental cars are ridiculously expensive and hard to come by these days. And due to safety concerns I decided to stop cycling on highways and byways. The Rail-Trail is 30 miles in length one way, shaded, and perfect. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a nice place to bike and skate, so that 60 mile drive is possible at a moment's notice as well. Those are really the only two places I go in the car other than some yearly medical checkups.

For now, I'm keeping the car. I'm not getting rid of any bikes tho. One major mechanical issue or collision will put me back back in the saddle full time again. I doubt I would replace the car immediately.

Cheers All!

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Old 07-16-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
AAA estimates owning a car now costs roughly $10,000/Year. I though some here might like to know how much it's costing me just in case you every need or just want one.
To be a bit more specific, that $10,000/year estimate from AAA is based on buying a new medium size 4WD SUV every 5 years and driving it 15,000 miles a year. Note that anyone who trades in a vehicle every 5 years with only 75,000 miles on it for another new similar motor vehicle is taking a tremendous hit on depreciation long before there is any economic reason to do do so. No one who is interested in prioritizing the reduction of their automotive expenses would be so foolish on buying a new vehicle so frequently and probably would consider a smaller less thirsty vehicle.
https://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/...chure-Live.pdf
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Old 07-16-22, 06:41 PM
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When I had a car that I called my own, it cost me less than $1000 per year.
Our current family car still probably comes close to that figure, if you do not factor in fuel costs.
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Old 07-18-22, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
When I had a car that I called my own, it cost me less than $1000 per year.
Our current family car still probably comes close to that figure, if you do not factor in fuel costs.
How can you not factor in fuel costs?!
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Old 07-18-22, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
How can you not factor in fuel costs?!
Do you factor in your food costs when you tally up how much you spend on bicycles and maintenance/parts per year?
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Old 07-18-22, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
How can you not factor in fuel costs?!
For me, since my car is strictly a luxury/recreational tool, I am in full control of my fuel costs. If I so choose I can go months without driving it (which isn't all that good for any car but it's an option) Also, my car gets 35-40 mpg on the highway depending on wind direction. 45mpg if I draft a line of cars or a semi. From a safe distance of course. I have a dash display that will show current MPG in real time. It's pretty darned accurate.
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Old 07-18-22, 09:12 PM
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You were car free, but your wife wasn’t. And you bought her car? Am I following this correctly?
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Old 07-19-22, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Do you factor in your food costs when you tally up how much you spend on bicycles and maintenance/parts per year?
Nice try but ... FAIL. Food is necessary for life. Even non-cyclists still need to, and will, eat. Someone that is more of a geek about it than you or I might actually calculate the caloric expenditure of each hour spent cycling and calculate the cost of those calories and move them to the tally of "Cycling Expenses" accounting. The earlier document that is the basis for this thread takes fuel cost in consideration. Any reimbursement your employer might give you for using your personal vehicle on their behalf will factor fuel costs, and you would want them to.
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Old 07-19-22, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
You were car free, but your wife wasn’t. And you bought her car? Am I following this correctly?
Be prepared for some semantic gymnastics explaining how someone can do just that for 30 years and still describe himself as living "car free."
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Old 07-19-22, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
You were car free, but your wife wasn’t. And you bought her car?
And the good people of a "Living Car Free" community should care about it.
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Old 07-19-22, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Nice try but ... FAIL.
It's really not. Just because the OP erroneously decided to factor in fuel costs into owning a car does not mean that it is warranted.
Comparing apples to apples, the price of owning a vehicle, be it an automobile or bicycle has nothing to do with fuel costs. One can own either a car or bicycle, without spending a cent on fuel.
If you actually want to use the vehicle for it's intended purpose, sure you must add fuel, but if I simply want to own and admire the vehicle - I can do that wherever it sits.
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Old 07-19-22, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Nice try but ... FAIL.
It's really not. Just because the OP erroneously decided to factor in fuel costs into owning a car does not mean that it is warranted.
Comparing apples to apples, the price of owning a vehicle, be it an automobile or bicycle has nothing to do with fuel costs. One can own either a car or bicycle, without spending a cent on fuel.
If you actually want to use the vehicle for it's intended purpose, sure you must add fuel - and now we are talking about operating costs, but if I simply want to own and admire the vehicle - I can do that wherever it sits.
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Old 07-19-22, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
You were car free, but your wife wasn’t. And you bought her car? Am I following this correctly?
We both have to be car-free for me to be car-free? Am I following this correctly?

Does Enterprise rental car company have to be car-free? U-Haul? Uber? Taxi companies? Public bus service? For me to be considered car-free? This what you're getting at?
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Old 07-19-22, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Be prepared for some semantic gymnastics explaining how someone can do just that for 30 years and still describe himself as living "car free."
lol. “It’s not my SUV, it’s the families SUV”.

I guess the first ten years of my marriage I was homeless, because the mortgage was in my wife’s name.
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Old 07-19-22, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
We both have to be car-free for me to be car-free? Am I following this correctly?

Does Enterprise rental car company have to be car-free? U-Haul? Uber? Taxi companies? Public bus service? For me to be considered car-free? This what you're getting at?
In many households, a car is considered necessary for various tasks for the household to function, such as grocery shopping, as well as picking up various supplies, or transporting household members to and fro, as well as for the household members to travel together to various locations, both near and far. If someone is enjoying the benefits of the "household" vehicle ( such as eating the food brought home with said vehicle) it is immaterial whose name is on the title or even who drives the vehicle, none of the household members are living car free by any normal use of the term. But if it makes you feel better to call yourself "car-free" continue to please yourself.
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Old 07-19-22, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
lol. “It’s not my SUV, it’s the families SUV”.

I guess the first ten years of my marriage I was homeless, because the mortgage was in my wife’s name.
No, you were "home-free."
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Old 07-20-22, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
I guess the first ten years of my marriage I was homeless, because the mortgage was in my wife’s name.
If your wife had the only keys to the house and every time you wanted to enter the house you had to make an appointment for a time when she wasn't using the house, then it's HER house. Same with cars. Only if you ever saw me driving her car you could bet a whole paycheck I was doing some errand FOR HER.

^^This is why I kept an active Enterprise account. I couldn't just use her car for my personal fun. And when we took driving vacations together, we rented a car to keep the miles down on her car.

You don't have to live on Mars to be car-free. Or maybe YOU do, I don't know.
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Old 07-21-22, 12:05 PM
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When driving, just keep a lookout for cyclists who know how to blow through stop signs and red lights.
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Old 07-21-22, 02:50 PM
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I’m with the OP on this… he lived car free as much as I do… I don’t drive anywhere unless it’s to run an errand for her. Yes I bought her her car 5 years ago… I personally have driven it maybe 200 miles in that time. She works night shift 30 miles away. Commuting to and from work by bicycle or public transportation is impossible. Taxi services here start at 10:00 am and end at 9:00 pm, and buses do t even run anywhere close to where she works along with the time tables to get her to or from work…

I have my own income and she has her own income. Because of her night schedule, she takes car of her own meals and I take care of my own meals. I do most of the household shopping with my bike and panniers. My income covers the rent, utilities, and half the phone bill, and all of my hobbies. Her income covers her gas, insurance, food (for herself), entertainment, and household supplies (that I go purchase by bike). She and I live two separate lives under one roof.
Just like the OP, just because there is a car in the household doesn’t mean I get to see any of the perks or benefits of it.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
When driving, just keep a lookout for cyclists who know how to blow through stop signs and red lights.
I'll never see them because they will be miles ahead of me up the road.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
Just like the OP, just because there is a car in the household doesn’t mean I get to see any of the perks or benefits of it.
It's not hard to understand for most people. Thanks.
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Old 07-22-22, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by M Rose View Post
I’m with the OP on this… he lived car free as much as I do… I don’t drive anywhere unless it’s to run an errand for her. Yes I bought her her car 5 years ago… I personally have driven it maybe 200 miles in that time. She works night shift 30 miles away. Commuting to and from work by bicycle or public transportation is impossible. Taxi services here start at 10:00 am and end at 9:00 pm, and buses do t even run anywhere close to where she works along with the time tables to get her to or from work…

I have my own income and she has her own income. Because of her night schedule, she takes car of her own meals and I take care of my own meals. I do most of the household shopping with my bike and panniers. My income covers the rent, utilities, and half the phone bill, and all of my hobbies. Her income covers her gas, insurance, food (for herself), entertainment, and household supplies (that I go purchase by bike). She and I live two separate lives under one roof.
Just like the OP, just because there is a car in the household doesn’t mean I get to see any of the perks or benefits of it.
Does this mean that you two never ride together in the car to go anywhere as a couple?
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Old 07-22-22, 09:01 PM
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Just so I don't appear rude and unresponsive...

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Old 07-23-22, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Does this mean that you two never ride together in the car to go anywhere as a couple?
Where would I go that I cannot walk or ride my bike… SafeWay is a crossed the street, all of the restaurants are within walking distance from us… so we walk… she just has to have a car for work.
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Old 09-17-22, 03:16 PM
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If you are a car lover, what has actually kept you car free for 30 years?
And if you love cars, why call yourself car free, shouldn't you be rather calling yourself car less?
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