Original Link : https://rantteri.com/why-i-dont-want-to-own-a-car/

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Acar can be the solution to many problems, but also a thing that generates unnecessary problems on a smaller and on a bigger scale. I’ve never been a person interested in mechanics, cars, bikes, or anything that involves horsepower, grease and metal parts. I’ve always found it weird how so many men can be interested in something like that. My interest has always been elsewhere, and whenever I’m unwillingly forced into a discussion about car models or their technical characteristics, I have nothing to say. I don’t know how many horsepower makes a fast car, what torsion makes an amazing engine or what amount of cylinders makes a good configuration. A car that provides anything besides moving me from point A to point B is cool, yet unnecessary.

A car’s primary function is to move people and that’s it.

I got my driver’s license right away as I turned 18, mostly because the expectation in the Finnish society is that everyone must have it. At the time, the price was a ridiculous 2,000€, which gave you something like 20 hours of driving theory lessons from a man, who had zero teaching skills. On top of that, you got to drive a car for another 20 hours. And ta-duh, now you are allowed to legally drive. Around those days, 18 to 19, I liked driving around and quite often borrowed a car from my mom or dad. The freedom was the exciting part, not so much the car itself. 

But when I moved to my own place as university was starting in 2014, the driving halted. I had no car and I didn’t need one. Two straightforward reasons to not drive at all. Public transportation always took me to the university and to work during winters, and during summer I would ride my bike or walk. This has continued to this day for the past 5 years. I can even admit, that I’m slightly afraid of driving nowadays. I haven’t done it in such a long time, that I wouldn’t trust myself at the wheel. Especially driving a manual is a big no-no. I freaking hate those things – straight out of hell. I’m okay with an automatic car though, as they’re easy to drive and don’t require that idiotic hassle with gears.

A future without cars

The underlying plan is to live in a place, a city, in a location, where we can walk or cycle wherever we need to go. It will definitely make the apartment pricier, but I’m prepared to pay big money for great location. A personal hell would be to live far away from work and from the city, needing to drive long distances everywhere. I often wonder how so many people in the US have the stamina to live a 2-hour drive away from work; I would never be up for such personal torture. I seek to have the same circumstances as I currently got: a bike ride to work takes about 4 minutes, while a brisk morning walk takes 12 minutes.

In the spring of 2021, we are moving to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. That’s going to be the time, when we will seek to buy our own apartment in the city center, a manageable distance away from the workplace of mine and Christa’s. That move will be a personal dream come true and a big next step in life. And why is the move so important in this context? A great location means that we don’t need a burden called “a car”.

Besides, cars will experience a drastic change in the future, when it comes to owning them. Urban carpool platforms, new transportation methods and car leasing will lead to a future without consumer-owned cars. I strongly believe and already witness, that less and less people invest in a car for reasons, that I’ll talk about in the next section. 

The pros & cons of a car

Now, why is owning a car a good thing? Well, it helps you move from point A to point B quite freely, providing good mobility for people, functioning amazingly also as a device to carry stuff around. Positives besides these two? Not much.

A car is among the worst investments a person can make financially. Here is a concrete example of you buying a car, borrowed from another website. You buy a new car for 34,968€, which immediately loses 4000€ of its value as you drive away from the lot. That’s an immediate loss of 11% of the invested money. After one year of driving, the value has dropped by 25% and the car is now worth 26,226€. Three years later, you can expect a further drop of 46%, your car being worth 18,882€. And let’s say that after five years you decide that now it’s time to sell it or change. By this time the car has lost 63% of its value, you being able to sell it for 12,938€. You just lost 22,000€ in five years. And take into consideration that this is only the value of the car. You can further calculate all the gasoline, insurance and repairs that you’ll come across.

An average US driver consumes 1900 liters of gasoline per year. In the US, gasoline costs about 0,58€ per liter. That’s another 1,250€ per year, so in five years you lost 6,250€. Add some insurances and repairs on top of that and you’ll be happy if you end up losing just 30,000€. (As a side note – with Finnish prices the annual money spent on gasoline would go up to 3135€ – 15,675€ in five years.) Now, imagine that you don’t give a crap about your finances. An average human owns between 8-12 cars throughout their lifetime. If you went through the presented example 10 times during your lifetime, it would cost you 376,760€. I bet you would do plenty of cool things with that money. 

Besides finances, it is also an ecological choice not to purchase something so wasteful. You’re simply buying a metal box that stands still for 99% of the time, that moves you around thanks to a poisonous black liquid. What an amazing deal! I’d rather minimize the amount of destruction I personally cause on our planet and do my traveling through other means. Cycling and walking are much better, as they don’t generate extra emissions and are a great source of light exercise. If then at some point I need a ride on a car, I can either call a friend, a taxi or lease a car with ease. Spend money on having a great location, no car ownership, no responsibility, no waste. 

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