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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Wang

Why I don't want a car

Not only in current times, but also decades ago, the idea of willingly not having a car might seem outrageous and bizarre, especially in North America. There are many reasons as to why people would naturally come to that judgement. Growing up in Canada and living in the middle-class suburbia, I know first hand how second nature it is to for people to get a car as soon as they can. Practically, everyone owns a car—or at least have access to one that they can use—often times simply due the fact that they cannot live their typical day-to-day lives conveniently without one. This brings me to the first and main reason why I don't want to have a car.

"I feel more free, more independent, and more healthy when I can conduct my typical day-to-day tasks without a car." - George Wang

The quality of my life is undoubtedly much superior when the urban planning focuses on walkability and people, as opposed to cars. When the focus is elsewhere and the city isn't walkable, I couldn't help but ask this: if a person requiring a wheelchair is considered handicapped, are we, as people requiring cars for the most basic tasks, not also handicapped, in a way? How many people today, especially in North America, can purchase groceries, go to the gym, frequent cafés, and visit parks conveniently without a car? How many people can conveniently commute to work by walking, biking, or using the public transit, as opposed to relying on a car? I suppose the most accurate way to describe my sentiment is that I wouldn’t choose to need a car to get around conveniently in the same way I wouldn't choose to need a wheelchair to get around.

Being in my ideal situation of having the ability to live conveniently without a car, any reason that I would have for getting a car just wouldn't outweigh the financial cost of owning a car. The initial cost of purchasing a car is usually at least somewhat significant. Unfortunately, the value of the car immediately depreciates after the purchase. Moreover, there are many reoccurring costs associated with car ownership. If the purchase of a car is financed, then there would be loan payments with an interest rate. There is the unescapable fuel fee that comes with operating the vehicle. In many places, the cost of car insurance is borderline ridiculous. Are you really going to avoid paying car insurance? That would be even more ridiculous! Additionally, there is the cost for car maintenance and, worst of all, the unpredictable repair costs. As the society today is heavily influenced by consumerism, it is likely that gadgets, accessories, and décor (potentially car customizations and modifications too) would be bought for the car as well.

I will admit that there are many situations in which it would makes sense for a person to get a car. For example, if your job requires certain equipment, having a car is unavoidable. If you choose to live or work in an extremely remote location, then it is likely that having a car is the only convenient option. If you are a car enthusiast or love driving, then a car acts as more than a tool. Similarly, if your hobby involves using large equipment, travelling to remote locations, or going on road trips, then it absolutely makes sense to get a car.

The only situation that has a higher chance of applying to me is the recreational use. Perhaps I would get a car to carry paddle boards. Maybe I could use a car if I get into surfing (given that I would be living in somewhere that enables that). It is also possible that I might want to go on road trips, especially if I'm living in Europe. Although, in all honesty, I still doubt that I would partake in any hobby frequently enough to justify having a car.

If I do end up in a situation where I feel like it makes sense for me to have a car, I would want to get a Lada Niva. I love its simplicity, durability, practicality, and reliability. I also appreciate its aesthetic, considering it to be unique and charming.

However, as the entire world is shifting to electric cars, I can't actually imagine myself getting this. If I can't even imagine myself getting a car that I like in a situation where I feel like it would make sense to get a car, then I simply can't imagine myself getting a car at all.

If I live somewhere walkable, I decide that I want to get a car for recreation, there ends up being an electric SUV that I like, and the overall cost makes sense to me, I would then seriously reconsider my position.

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