Going Green By Force

We may be going a little greener in our house.  We drive two very economic vehicles: a 2003 Rio, the husband’s commuter car, and a 2006 Toyota Prius, the family car.  This morning, however, I decided to investigate a strange smell coming from the garage. Although there is a lot of dirt, sand, and water on the garage’s concrete floor (it’s very much still winter up here), I noticed a puddle of something curious where the Rio is usually parked. I dipped my finger in it: definitely not water.  Smells a little off.  Possibly antifreeze or oil or both.  Maybe tranny fluid, although I have been told that’s usually pink (which this is not).  We brought it to the shop, and they’ll be looking into it today.

A 2003 Rio is worth very little on the resale market.  It has served us well, but if this proves to be a major expense to repair, we may very well decide to bite the bullet and go with only one car.  We are still making payments on the Pruis and adding another car payment right now is not a favorable option.

I am trying to think of the merits of being a single-vehicle family (not too many families seem to live with just one car anymore): lower insurance, less money spent on fuel and vehicle maintenance, reducing our carbon footprint, yadda yadda.

BUT WAH!  I would be stuck in the house with my kids!  All! The! Time!

If we go down to one car, Tony would be driving it to work.  His drive to work is bikable, but not in the winter, and it is largely uphill (BIG hill) which is sort of mean, even in the summer.  Yes, I am a SAHM, so the Pruis is parked in the garage a lot of the time.  But as any SAHM knows, it is nice to know that at least the option to flee the scene is there whenever the kiddies and I need to get out.

Which means I am stuck.  There is no public transportation here, and we live in an area that is sort of an “estates” development outside the main part of town.  No stores in walking distance, library and playschool are about 7 km away.  The only thing in walking distance is a park. And more houses.

Are there any other single-vehicle families out there?  Care to share how you make do with just 4 wheels instead of the standard 8?


8 thoughts on “Going Green By Force

  1. We have had one car for a few years but the caveat is that at first, we we both driving over the road and didn’t have a need for a 2nd car. Then we worked together, at the same company in different locations, so we carpooled. Then we got custody of my sister’s kids and moved back to MS in that same one car (99 Chevy Malibu) and it was a ridic tight fit (me plus three kids plus a dog; D came later in his work truck, driving over the road again). We knew even then we needed to trade up to something bigger but then we got another kid (14 yr old niece) and now we can’t even ALL go anywhere together because we’re a family of 6 with a (barely) 5 seater car. But again, D is gone most of the time and our need to ALL go anywhere together is pretty limited and when we do go out as a family, it’s almost always with friends so whoever is ‘extra’ or the 6th person, rides with a friend and their family.

    It’s not perfect but I have a way to go while he’s gone and there is a solution if we all need to go together because right now with the sudden expansion of our family, a car note just isn’t doable right now and I haven’t found a good enough ‘pay cash’ deal to put out the money for an outright purchase.

  2. Wow, I’m not sure what to tell you, but that just doesn’t seem very practical for you to have no car. I mean how are you going to do any errands or grocery shopping let alone being stuck in the house all day.
    Sorry I’m such a downer. We could do it here since we live within the city, but it would be pretty rough in the winter.
    Is there any way your husband can carpool to work or does he need his car for work?

  3. We only have 1 car, and have been that way for a year now!!
    I will walk to work/bike if needed. If its cold, I drive Ty to work in the morning if I need the car. Would that be an option?
    I know its probably a lot of work getting the kids in and out of the car, but then you would have it for the day?!

  4. As far as we can see, carpooling is not an option, although he has said that he will start biking at least a few days a week in the spring (exercise being the main goal with that). As for Amy’s suggestion, that is a possibility if I wanted the car on a particular day. Generally speaking, though, it is a total pain to haul 2 kids into the car early in the morning (snowsuits and all), and then again at supper time just to drive the husband to work. So it would definitely not be every day!

  5. We considered the option of moving down to one car earlier in the year. Cycling to and from work is possible, but has it’s problems. Between the extra time spent cycling and showering at work it tends to add between an 1½ – 2 hours away from the family. At the moment that is not a compromise I am willing to make.

  6. We had one car for years, and whoever had to go the farthest got it. BUT that meant there was a bus for the other one, which you can do in a city. About 5 minutes after getting a second car, we were hooked on the convenience. The other thing to consider is safety– I always made Ken leave me the car when he was out of town, so I could get to the dr if I needed to. (I guess you could drive Tony to work, or send him in a cab. It might be cheaper than buying a car)

  7. Ack… we have 0 wheels, not even 4, and only one child. I can tell you that it drives me crazy on a near-daily basis, even with almost adequate bus service. Fortunately we have parks nearby and can walk to the grocery store, but I still wish I had the option of getting to places farther away without so much planning…

    I know I should lie and say it’s easy being green, but it can be tough…

  8. Hi! I am just delurking here…. I don’t remember if I’ve ever commented before but I’ve been reading for like… a year… wow.

    I stumbled across your blog while searching for recipes, and your blog got me started on a whole bunch of other blogs, and now I even have my own! So thanks for good reads and for accidently introducing me to the world of blogging!

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