By John P. Anderson
Our family of four is a single-car household. We’ve lived in San Diego since Fall 2009 (5.5 years as of this writing) and have selected our residences in San Diego where we live based on where we work.
We’re currently on our third neighborhood. Having a short commute and a variety of transport options is important to us for reasons of both time and money. Today we use bicycles as our primary method of transport, supplemented by our car, bus, Car2Go, and Uber.
Our current car is a 2002 Ford Focus station wagon which we purchased in March 2012. We bought it with 72,700 miles and today, about three years later it has 88,130. Just 15,430 miles over three years yields an average of 5,143 miles per year.
We’ve taken a few road trips to Eureka and Phoenix but mostly have used the car for beach trips and some errands or airport pickups. The Californian driver averages 13,636 miles per year so at average rates our household would be at 27,272 miles per year. We’re currently at 18.9% of that figure and trending downward. Using the IRS mileage rate of 57.5 cents that means we’re saving about $12,724 per year just on operational costs. That kind of money makes a big difference to a single-income family.
Using the IRS mileage rate of 57.5 cents that means we’re saving about $12,724 per year just on operational costs.
I share this only to show that even with a family and living in a city and region that is constantly referred to as auto-centric, it is possible to reduce the transportation impact on your wallet and environment.
It starts with reducing non-discretionary miles — commuting to work, school, and other frequented destinations. Choosing to live and work in closer proximity can save you massive amounts of money as Mr. Money Mustache details. It also helps to build your neighborhood community since you can spend more time in it, rather than driving on the road.
In San Diego we have the good fortune to have mild temperatures and little inclement weather. There is no city in the U.S. that provides better conditions for getting out of the car — all we have to do is choose to take advantage of it.
This article was originally published on John P. Anderson’s blog.