A variety of Car Free Day events take place in Metro Vancouver and Victoria every year. The success of these events signals the end of a love affair between many B.C. residents and their automobiles. My own intimate relationship with cars ended nearly two years ago when I ditched my red Ford Mustang and eventually donated it to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
There are five reasons why I gave up my car. And since letting it go the health, environmental and financial rewards with have been more than worth it. Here are a few:
I’m saving $2,676 dollars per year by not owning and maintaining a car. Even though I only drove twice a week, I used to spend about $223 for gas, insurance and maintenance costs each month (as my car was paid off and used when I purchased it).
Not having a car reduces my carbon footprint to help combat global warming. I used to drive about 3,218 kilometres a year, which equals .93 metric tonnes of CO2 each year according to this carbon footprint calculator. I drove the car for eight years which produced approximately 7.44 metric tonnes of CO2.
It’s good for my health to walk more and take public transit. I was tested for type 2 diabetes recently and happy to report I do not have the metabolic disorder. According to a study from the My Health My Community Project, people who live in a walkable neighbourhood are one-third less likely to be overweight or obese compared to people who live in car-dependent communities.
I don’t get stressed out from driving anymore. I hate driving in Vancouver and no longer have to worry about parking. I have a hard time finding a downside unless it’s raining, but a good jacket and baseball cap goes a long way.
I get more time to myself. Instead of worrying about parking and other or erratic drivers, I gaze at the heritage houses, parks and how neighbourhoods are developing as I pass. I also get to enjoy the boardwalk in New Westminster where I live.
If you are new to Car Free Day, expect to be treated to parades, live music and delicious food free from the noise and emissions emanating from motorized vehicles. See you there!
And now for a fun disclaimer: