This post is a free bonus chapter to go with my book “Greensplaining”. You can get the full book here.
In case you haven’t heard: the list of countries planning to ditch gas- and diesel-powered cars and vans is growing. Some places want to go emissions-free as early as 2025! More people agree that going car-free makes sense. So what can you do to prepare for the inevitable?
1. Go electric. This is the big one: all the countries planning to ban new diesel and gas cars will promote the sales of electric vehicles.
2. Walk. This is probably the easiest way to start. For the small trips, or the ones that aren’t in a hurry, just walk there and back.
3. Cycle. More ambitious, but more fun in the long run. This has become my favourite way of replacing my old trusty Golf.
4. Use public transportation. Your mileage will vary here – and not every place is as well-connected. But for many, this will be the most obvious choice.
5. Plan your car journeys. I used to be a traveling salesman, so I know how bad it feels to have to spend too long in your car! Plan ahead to reduce those last-minute rush-hour frustrating drives.
6. Get a taxi. No need to worry about driving. No need to worry about that glass of wine. No need to keep eyes on the road. Seriously, what’s not to like?
7. Batch your car journeys. Similar to number 5 above. There will be some trips you will still need your car for – but make them all happen on one day, and you’ll rely on driving less.
8. Join one of those car clubs. If you’re lucky enough to have a car club in your city – rejoice! You will have a car when you need it – and not have a car when you don’t. Sweet.
9. Carpool. This is becoming easier as more people use the Internet to make their carpools happen. But for commuters, trusting your old work messageboard / intranet could still lead to great carpool success!
10. Hitch-hike. Don’t look at me strange. There is still a right, safe, and legal way of doing this. Do your research, avoid lonely trips, and you’ll be going places in style.
11. Keep a car, but just the one. This piece of advice is for my Mom and Dad who kept way more cars than they needed for much longer than was necessary. It’s OK to just have one car. Really.
12. Get stuff delivered. Grocery shopping arrives to us these days, all nicely packed and exactly the way we want it. No parking nightmares and Saturday traffic in sight. Do this and breathe a sigh of relief.
13. Call in. You’re saying that your digital gizmos are good for billions of cat videos, but no good for a twenty-minute video conference? Sort it out, and skip a day of commuting in favour of working from where you are.
14. Stay in. I’m not saying “all the time” – but I’m saying it’s OK once in a while to get pizza delivered (see 12), sit at home and catch up with your folks without having to drive places.
15. Outsource it. There are many companies now, whose job it is to find other people who can pick stuff up, run errands, or sort something out for you. If this means your car stays parked, great!
16. Wait it out. Do you really need to get to that store, or are you just bored and a drive sounds better than nothing? Give yourself five minutes. Find something else to occupy your mind. If you still need to drive then, no problem.
17. Sell your car and see what happens. The nuclear option. You think it’s impossible to go car-free? One way to find out.
18. Make your life more local. Maybe you can find a job closer to home. Maybe your favourite store just opened two bus stops away. Maybe that cinema around the corner doesn’t suck anymore. Start working it out today.
19. Get there, then rent a car. For longer trips, holidays, or any other suitable setting. This means you still sometimes have access to hard-to-reach places, but can get in their vicinity by train, for example!
20. Drive for other people. Pick up your friends’ and family’s errands. Give your neighbours a ride. Volunteer as DD for a night out. If your folks are any good, they’ll start returning the favour – leading to fewer car trips.
Any more ideas like those? Hurry to Facebook or Twitter and share them with us!
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