Can We Survive on One Car? By Miriam Sagan

What’s this episode of our life going to be called, I asked my husband Rich. Survivor Island? Lord of the Flies?

We weren’t trying to survive in the wilderness. No, we were trying to live with one instead of two cars.

I’ve always felt it was important for me to have at least some barriers between myself and consumer culture. Not even so much to help the earth as to save my sanity. I hate being overstimulated, and in clutter. I don’t have a strict policy about what I won’t participate in. For example, years of no television gave way to the demon spawn of Netflix (which I love). But if something is added, something needs to go. Right now I have only a vaguely functional cellphone. But the household is considering a shared smart phone for traveling.

So, time for an offset. And the beloved aged Toyota Corolla was costing a lot in repairs. And didn’t feel trustworthy for a trip. And a friend of a friend loved it and wanted to buy it.

So we are down to one car. Sharing a vehicle in New Mexico can be seen as just one more chapter in the rope course or trust game called matrimony.

But Rich doesn’t see it that way. He sees it as a return to roots. Born and bred in Chicago, his family depended on public transportation and only got a car as he approached middle school. It’s also a return to another set of roots—Twin Oaks commune where Rich worked a stint as the vehicle scheduler. (Which was not a job without stress and conflict).

Hence, large sign up sheets have appeared by the calendar. I get to sign out the car as needed. Right now, it is easy as Rich is walking to work and doesn’t need the car most week days. But the part of the year when he isn’t working full time may present more of a challenge.

However, the advantages are obvious. Our lifestyle is less wasteful, and less expensive (although we’ve factored in the occasional inevitable need to rent a car). Less maintenance. The increased simplicity makes me happy. And I get to park in the driveway!

6 thoughts on “Can We Survive on One Car? By Miriam Sagan

  1. Ha, I can relate to this. Philip and I did the same when we moved/rewired. We now have a lot more grocery-shopping dates. And when I drop Philip off at his volunteering gig, I get some quality library time. 🙂

  2. We did the same. It works well most of the time, occassionally it is frustrating, but given the benefits to the planet and our bank account, a happy choice.

  3. My wife wife and I have had two reasonably long stints as a one-car family. On Tuesday, we found out that our 25y.o. pickup is going to cost $1000 to keep on the road. Bad money after good, it’s time to lay it to rest, Time for a new (used) car. I started getting my act together for the purchase. Researching cars, studying our needs, securing a loan. It turns out you need a job to get a loan. Who knew. This is new territory for us. We’ve never experienced financial insecurity before. We have money saved, but we don’t want to blow it all on a car. Eventually I’ll have a job, and with that, I’d like a car loan. So now: One car family or fix the truck?

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