I love commuting on my bike. I don’t have to worry about road-rage, people texting and driving, pollution, the cost of petrol, traffic… and those are just a few of the things I avoid by riding a bike. The list of what is gained is exponential: exercise, exposure to sunlight (a big benefit in winter), a more direct and physical connection to the environment, access to like-minded people… it goes on and on.
I do own 2 cars: a Mini Cooper and a Mini Countryman. I like the idea of being a 1 car family, a goal that is within reach now that Sue and I share an empty nest. And if Sue didn’t have to commute 110 miles a day when she has to go into the office, we’d probably talk about the possibility of being a zero car family.
I thought about this yesterday when teaching my Current Affairs class. A group of students gave a presentation on self-driving cars and how that technology may change our culture within the decade. I was surprised how many students like the idea of self-driving cars but would not want to personally use one. When I asked why, they pretty much shared the same opinion: driving a car is fun.
I get that argument. Sure, the Mini Cooper gets 41 mph on the highway and has a 5 star crash safety rating, but the real reason why we own one is that it’s so freakishly fun to drive.
I’m currently at the car dealership, waiting for the Countryman to get an oil change and air filter. It’s expensive, over a hundred bucks for this scheduled service. Between service intervals, car payments, the cost of petrol (these cars require 89 octane)… it adds up. I’d be afraid to confront the amount of money we put into these two vehicles.
Someday, I hope that we’ll be that family on the block that doesn’t own a car. It’s conceivable: there are other transportation options (like bicycles). But until that day arrives, I’ll keep driving Minis.