The Pros and Cons of Shrinking Your Car Footprint

Thinking about going “car-light”? Read on to get an idea of what it’s like to cut down on your auto use

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Driving is not getting any cheaper, especially here in Los Angeles. Gas is climbing toward five bucks a gallon, parking is at a premium, and our insurance rates are some of the highest in the nation. Some SoCal families are attempting to solve this problem by going “car-light,” which basically means downsizing their auto footprint (wheelprint? Skid mark?) by ditching one or more vehicles. Going car-light can be a perfect solution for some, but it’s not without its challenges. Here is our list of advantages, as well as some pains in the trunk:

PRO: Less car payments. Less gas. Less air fresheners. Less everything.

CON: Sharing. (“You need to go to Ralphs? How am I going to make it to my volleyball game at Dockweiler?”)

PRO: Instead of two crummy cars, you can now afford one nice one. Trade in that Clinton-era Hyundai for a shiny gas sipper with a child-sedating TV/DVD combo in the back.

CON: Dings, scratches, and caramel macchiato spills hurt a lot more when you only have one car, especially if it’s a fancy one.

PRO: You’re green x’s 2, so feel sanctimonious for producing fewer emissions, while also padding your savings account.

CON: More waiting for cabs, Ubers, Lyfts, and rides from your co-worker with the toxic coffee breath.

PRO: Taking a solo vehicle on a couple’s road trip means there is no car for the teens to crash while you’re spa-ing in Santa Barbara.

CON: Minor emergencies can become major stressors if the one vehicle is out on the road, e.g, calling an ambulance for a sprained ankle.

PRO: Finally, running out of excuses to bite the bullet and bike to work (and taking a few inches off your gut in the process).

CON: Experiencing how awful L.A. drivers can be to cyclists.

PRO: Having more than one person keeping tracking of when your last oil change was, what level you parked on, and, wait, what’s that noise?

CON: Giving more thought into how you’ll get everywhere.

PRO: More excuses to make the kids walk, bike, or take transit to go to the Grove.

CON: More chauffeuring to and from the Grove, the Westside Pavilion, and the Sherman Oaks Galleria when it’s raining and the teenagers did not budget enough time to make the next X-Men movie via the bus.

PRO: Getting more acquainted with our city’s nascent rapid transit system.

CON: Getting more acquainted with our city’s nascent rapid transit system.

PRO: Using the savings to move closer to work and, for the first time ever, walk to the office.

Have more pros and cons for going “car-light?” Tweet them using #LADriver.

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