Inverted Crescent

One Woman's Journey Over the Moon and Beyond

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

one day closer to green

As my threes of readers may know, I’ve reduced my car driving to anecdotal amounts within the past year. What you may not know is that this reduction was, in large part, an experiment to see if I could do without a vehicle.

It’s not that I’m against cars. Cars can be very useful. It’s just that---well, I was “using” them all the time for convenience, instead of finding out what I really needed to use a car for. I was depriving myself of exercise, time to think, and just mucking up air quality all in the name of convenience. Thus…the experiment.

I walk to work frequently, and have managed to reduce my “grocery run” to twice a month instead of weekly. To help with the groceries, I’ve put panniers on my bicycle…( my local grocery store is three blocks from my home)…and I carpool with my fiancé’ for the BIG HAUL of staples that I store in my small standing freezer once a month. (If I didn’t carpool with him, I have a good relationship with a couple of neighbors and a few friends---so a once a month big grocery haul would still be a possibility). Slowly, I’ve discovered that most daily needs can be met without a vehicle.

It’s the incidental/accidental needs that have made me hold on to my vehicle for as long as I have. Worries about medical needs (my own, the pets) have kept me close to my vehicle. At least, until I discovered how efficient and affordable the local taxi system is!
Knowing that I could, at any time, call a taxi in the case of an emergency removed the final barrier to vehicle liberation.

So, after much consideration and experimentation, the fiancé’ and I have determined that we can be a one vehicle family---using his truck to get us from A to B, when necessary. Of course, we will still be walking to work when possible…biking to the grocery story/farmer’s market for our “weekly” needs. The only difference is our “back-up” vehicle will no longer be a necessary part of our life.
We will continue to find ways to use the one remaining vehicle less. After all, we want to improve air quality ---and driving less is a great way to do that.
What we save on maintenance/insurance/gas can be put in a “vehicle replacement fund”---which we likely will need within the next 5 years, since his vehicle is getting a tad older, too.
Hopefully that fund will allow us to purchase a more eco-friendly vehicle—one good on gas/emissions/has longevity---and that allows us to do field work in rough terrain. It’s a baby step---but for us, this is a BIG baby step.

Any suggestions on a good eco-friendly vehicle that’s good for rough terrain? (i.e. a high-enough chassis that won’t be ripped off by rocks?) I’ve heard wonderful things about the CR-V and the Element (both by Honda), but I know the gas mileage is less than ideal.