Land Icebergs

Many people know the deal with icebergs thanks to events such as the Titanic or even The Titanic (which no doubt informed a handful of movie-goers who had no clue it was real).

Many more people have probably seen a picture like this at some point in their life:

iceberg

Icebergs are crazy cool and crazy big. They look innocent enough, but when you see the full picture, it’s far from innocent.

Cars are pretty similar.

You see a new car with a sticker that says $30,000 for example (that’s the average price of a new car). It’s a decent amount of money for sure, but there’s lots of things screaming in your face telling you not to worry. There’s the chance of negotiating on price, making car payments, warranties, and 0% interest.

Used cars are significantly cheaper than new cars, but they’re still no small chunk of change. The average price for a used car is $8,495 as of September 2012.

That’s all fine and good, but it’s not really the part that gets you.

From year-to-year, owning a car is expensive. According to this AAA report, the cost of owning an average sized sedan per year is about $9,000. SUVs top the price list, coming in at $11,360 while a small sedan does the best, costing $6,735 a year.

Say you buy a new car and keep it for 10 years. Keeping in mind that a new car costs $30,000 to buy and $9,000 a year to own:

New Car Cost

Likewise, buy a used car and the story is similar (albeit slightly cheaper on the front end):

Used Car Cost

In the end, all the costs under the surface add up to make a picture similar to that of the iceberg. Note that while some of these costs are strictly monetary (new tires, gas, oil change, registration, insurance), some have costs on our mind (more stuff to think about).

Car Iceberg

Make sure your car doesn’t sink your ship.

-Adam Conway

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Could You Live Without a Car?

Empty Garage

I’ve been looking forward to writing this sentence for a long time now. I haven’t let myself say anything until it’s official, but now I’m allowed to:

I can officially say I’m living without a car.

It might not sound like much of an amazing declaration to some, but that’s ok. Living without a car is, at the very least, a great challenge. I’ve been using my bicycle as exclusively as possible for the past 5 months, so there’s really nothing different now, it’s simply a matter of principle. Lots of people ask why I’ve been doing this. If your curious, check out these two articles that start to explain why:

There’s a few factors working against me:

  • I commute to a college that’s in a different town Tuesday through Thursday. It amounts to a 30 mile round trip.

  • There’s a major lack of bike friendly streets/trails. There’s one trail that goes through the middle of town and that’s about it.

  • There’s majorly lacking (read: none) public transportation. I think there’s a city bus system, but I’ve never used it and never intend to. Biking gets me places faster anyways.

  • Living car-free isn’t accepted as normal like it would be in a big city.

    Exhibit A:          

Exhibit A

Not owning a car is freeing. I don’t have to deal with gas, insurance, upkeep, or repairs. I get to focus on things that matter. I feel more free than I have in months.

As you probably know, cars cost quite a bit. The sticker price certainly hurts your wallet, but all the costs associated with owning a car are what really take its toll. You better be well prepared for all the things that come with owning a car.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with owning a car. I just believe people worship their car as if they can’t live without it. I want more people to experience the freedom that comes with not relying on their car. I’ve been experiencing that freedom lately and my hope is that more will!

How about you? Do you think you could ever give up your car?

 -Adam Conway

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[Note: I do have a motorcycle that I use once every few weeks to avoid over training. I’ve spent 60 dollars in gas the past 5 months which illustrates how often I use it. Riding my bike over 100 miles a week for 5 months starts to add up.]

Photo Cred: onelowerlight.com