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Carfree in America

I’ve owned a car since I was 19. Until today.

As an experiment, I’ve sold my Prius and will live without a car in Baltimore City. Since my job involves planning for more sustainable neighborhoods and transportation options, I suppose this is “walking the walk”. Though ideology was part of the decision, financial considerations weighed even more heavily:

Monthly cost item Car Car-less
Car Payment $250   $0
Insurance $145   $0
Transit $5   $64
Rental Car/Car Share $0   $50
Car Maintenance (disaggregated) $50   $0
Gas $70   $0
       
       
Total $520 $114

These figures do not include catastrophic, out-of-warrenty repair items which are difficult to forecast, parking tickets (lots of them!), and meters/garages. In a conservative estimate, $5000 will be saved a year. This is a journey around the world. Part of a down payment on a house. Or money donated to a good cause.

I’ll be chronicling some of my observations about living without a car in Baltimore. I don’t think I’m under any illusions about the impact this will have on my life. I’m sure there will be times when I wish I could just hop in the car and go. Having a car in the U.S. makes life really, really convenient. But maybe writing about this experience will shed a little light on what few Americans outside of NYC and a handful of other cities consider – living without a car in a country which was largely designed for them.


  • egovpioneer

    Congrats, now your a real American heretic. Don’t forget about us when you’re famous.

  • egovpioneer

    Congrats, now your a real American heretic. Don’t forget about us when you’re famous.

  • Paul

    You deserve to be on Oprah!

  • Paul

    You deserve to be on Oprah!

  • deeks

    does owning just a motorcycle count as car free in baltimore?

  • Mark

    This is a good question. Another is; am I car free while using Zipcar? I've spent long, sleepless nights pondering such existential conundrums. Hopefully readers will help shed some light on these issues.

  • Douism

    very interesting article – thanks for sharing that with us! here in the US this issue is intensively being discussed as well. Siemens USA, for instance, have just launched a new campaign: http://www.usa.siemens.com/sustainablecities/index.html i’m really looking forward to all the green changes taking place at the moment!

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