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

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.