There’s no getting around it — it’s expensive to run a car these days. You may have thought that you’d be better off without your car, and it can certainly be a reasonable consideration, depending on your circumstances. However, it’s important that you weigh the pros and cons before selling your vehicle, as in the long run you may end up in a worse position than before, if you haven’t done your research.
Every time you get in car to go somewhere, think about how that activity would change if your car wasn’t there. Would you be able to take the subway or bus? Would getting a ride be a problem? Do you have a lot of things to carry on a regular basis that would make it impractical to walk any significant distance? Just because your city has a public transportation system doesn’t necessarily mean it goes everywhere you need to go. Get some bus maps and check it out. Is there a direct bus to your work, or would you have to negotiate some transfers? Even with transfers, it still may be easier than driving to work and having to fight for parking near your office. What about the other places you like to go? Plan out all the things you normally do, and figure out how you’d get there without a car. It may seem like a big hassle at first, but often the initial struggle to work it all out is the hardest part, and it gets easier once you’re in a routine.
The upkeep and fuel for your car may be expensive, but alternative transport can be, as well. If you have not used public transportation on a regular basis, find out how much the bus, the train, and/or the subway cost is in your town. You might be shocked at how much it is. I have lived in places where the cost of a monthly train pass would have been more than the cost of filling my car up twice a week. Take everything into consideration, including your average monthly parking costs and maintenance on your car.
Selling your car is one option, but it’s certainly not the only one. What if you kept your car but joined a carpool? If you have regular places that you go everyday, like work or school, it can be really cost effective to split up the driving responsibilities among people who have the same commute. Also, if any of the places you frequent are close to your house, walking can be another option, as can cycling, both of which will help your fitness level a lot more than driving.
Not having a car is definitely a big change if you’re accustomed to having one, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something you’ll never be able to do. Environmental concerns, rising costs, and the stress of commuting are all strong reasons to consider giving up your vehicle, and if you can work out the logistics of how you will get where you need to go, it might be feasible for you. If, on the other hand, there are no good public transport options or benefits don’t outweigh the hardships, then you may have to think about other ways to make your car usage more friendly, both to your wallet and to the planet.