Dumping the Pump, FOR GOOD!

We have been discussing getting rid of our van for several weeks now. What better day than “Dump the Pump” day?! When I say getting rid of our van, I mean getting rid of having a vehicle, period. We have spent the past few months riding the bus and walking as much as possible.

We have been measuring out the pros and cons and we have found there are more reasons against car ownership than for it. Gas prices, insurance, car payments, maintenance and repairs, pollution, parking, the list goes on. When you compare that to the benefits of NOT owning a vehicle, it is really hard for me to see why we wouldn’t get rid of the van!

Riding the bus, walking and riding our bikes benefits us in so many ways; more exercise (I have lost 15 pounds since we started riding the bus!), less carbon footprint, less stress in traffic, and the BIG one, less cost per month (we figured out we will save at least $600 per month and that’s NOT counting repairs and maintenance!). Not to mention, slowing down the pace of life and stopping to smell the roses (or whatever other flowers and plants and sights you may see along the way). When you aren’t driving you just see so much more of the world around you.

Another couple inspired us during this decision making process, they too have dumped their vehicles and Don even has a blog dedicated to it! One of my hopes is that we can inspire others to do the same!

Granted, we will lose the convenience of a vehicle, we have to plan our trips and times we can go somewhere. Of course, weather can also play a factor at times, but luckily we live in one of the 8 sunniest cities in the country(#4!)! One of the things we have discovered in paying attention to the use of our van is that we usually stay within a 5 mile radius of our home. Most of the places we go on a daily basis are within walking distance. We also live in a city with an excellent public transit system. We pay $60 for two 30 day bus passes and we can go anywhere we need to go.

So, what about longer trips out of town? For our trip to California we rented a car. The gas mileage alone made it worthwhile! Our van gets 19 mpg and the rental car got 35 mpg. We go on trips about once every two to three months. The amount it cost to rent the car for our trip was less than one van payment. Getting rid of the $600 monthly expense of having a vehicle is going to allow us to travel MORE! We are willing to give up convenience in order to travel more outside our city and eventually, outside the country. Seems like a pretty good trade off to me! πŸ™‚

UPDATE: Just found this article, ABQ is the 7th best city for public transportation!

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4 responses to “Dumping the Pump, FOR GOOD!

  1. I’m so with you. I have a suburban and it takes $150.00 to fill it up, which is about every 10 days. Last January I signed up for an art class at my local state university and I got a student card to ride local transportation for $29.00 a month!!! I used it for everything. It was great to focus on the scenery for a change, read on the train, and not to look for parking. The extra walking made me stronger physically. When I do take trip far away I do rent a car too, and it’s way cheaper than filling up my suburban, so I am seriously considering dropping the vehicle. By the way, when I use my bus/train card, I feel so European πŸ˜‰

    • I know what you mean! I hadn’t thought about feeling European, but I definitely feel GREAT about our choice! No more guilt here! πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment, it’s good to know that we aren’t the only people fed up with it all! πŸ™‚

  2. While I applaud your efforts, I am going to be the “counter-point” to your “point.”

    I understand your reasons for not wanting a vehicle, but I don’t think I would completely get rid of the van. Public transportation is not available every day of the year, and even when it is, just getting from Point A to Point B can take several hours. Your freedom is severely limited without a personal vehicle not only due to geography, but because of the amount of forethought required to make a simple trip. Suppose you need to go to a part of town where public transportation isn’t available? Suppose you’re pressed for time, but need to run out to the grocery store to pick up an item or two – say something from the freezer case. Or what if you need to make more than one stop? Are you really gonna want to take the bus? What if one of your pets need immediate veterinary help? Walking, biking, or busing ain’t gonna do it.
    And then there’s rain and/or snow. I know it’s ABQ, but it does happen from time to time.

    My family didn’t own a car when I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, and as an adult I haven’t always been a vehicle owner, so I fully understand what it is to walk (I love walking!) ride a bike, or even ride the bus (this I did as the single parent of two small children, for many years)

    For me, the grief and aggravation of toting provisions by hand, i.e. groceries, laundry, whatever, is something I eschew along with the inordinate amount of time necessary to get from Point A to Point B.

    With that said, I most definitely use a combination of personal and public transportation when I venture downtown (local vernacular for “Chicago”). I drive to the train station and take that into the city. Once I’m downtown, I’ll either walk it, bus it, or cab it to my destination. Usually. There are occasions when I will drive downtown, but those are the exception rather than the rule because parking is just ridiculous and Chicagoans are very much discouraged from driving into the city.

    • Cheryl, you have some very good points, all of which we have considered. The one down side that we came across that we cannot really change is being able to take the dogs for a hike in the Sandias. However, with the fire conditions in NM lately, I don’t think the mountains will stay open much longer. We walk the dogs along the Bosque most days, and that is also within 2 blocks of our house. As far as the grocery store goes, we have two within two blocks of our house, one that has a shuttle to take us home if there is too much to carry. We actually live in a very good location! As for running around town taking the bus, we did that today and it was actually no problem at all. We had to ride two different buses and walked in between. Now, I’m not saying it was completely pleasant as it was really hot out there, but we are both willing to sacrifice comfort for the benefits. We also work at home, so we don’t have to go somewhere everyday. As far as the vet goes, we rarely take our dogs to the vet, and if we really needed it there is a mobile vet service here in ABQ. If there were ever a serious emergency, both Aaron’s and my parents live in town and would be more than happy to give us a ride or let us borrow one of their vehicles. There is also the zipcar at UNM now, which would allow us to rent a car for an hourly rate. That all said, we have also decided that this will be an experiment. If it ever becomes too much of a problem we will buy a car, but pay cash and no more car payments! I too have lived without a vehicle several times in my life and I personally don’t think it is a necessity it’s more of a luxury to me. Thanks for countering my points! It’s always good to look at both sides. Like I said before, we have been discussing and weighing this decision for some time and the pros WAY outweighed the cons! πŸ™‚

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