Here’s my dirty little secret: I don’t drive. And I have good reasons not to drive.
First of all, I’m petite. I can barely see over the steering wheel. I have to scoot my chair all the way up just to reach the pedals. And I’m awful at parallel parking.
But these aren’t my biggest reasons for not driving. I abstain from driving because I can save quite a bit — among other great benefits.
1. I save (lotsa) money
Cars are expensive. Even the most modest, no-frills sedan costs more than $10,000 if you get a new one. Add in taxes, financing fees, registration, gas, maintenance, and insurance and you can see how expensive car ownership can be.
In fact, according to AAA, if you drive a small sedan 15,000 miles a year, it’ll cost you $6,735 per year on average — or about 44.9 cents per mile. And that’s on the lowest end of the spectrum. Those who drive midsize sedans shell out nearly $9,000, while SUV owners spend about $11,360.
All of that money can be better spent — on shoes, for example. That right there is one of my most compelling reasons not to drive.
2. I save the environment
The average driver adds about 13,000 pounds of CO2 to our atmosphere per year, which isn’t great for our planet. But there are many other environmental reasons not to drive.
Producing cars takes tons of energy and resources. Think of all that steel, plastic, rubber, and paint. And once they become unusable, they have to be disposed of eventually. Sure, 75 percent of the modern automobile can be recycled, but that still leaves a huge portion to rust quietly in landfills.
3. I save my sanity
Driving is stressful. There’s traffic. There are people who cut you off, don’t signal, or follow too closely (which can lead to road rage). There’s the constant need to pay strict attention, the unpredictability of the road, the risk of accidents.
So, thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather keep my sanity and take in the scenery, nap, or read.
4. I save my waistline
Though driving gives you the power to be incredibly mobile, it also (ironically enough) immobilizes you. Driving, after all, is a sedentary act. And with its door-to-door convenience, it also means that you take fewer steps in a day and burn fewer calories than someone who walks, bikes, or takes public transit to work.
And research backs this up. A new study by the University of Illinois suggests that the less we drive, the lower our body mass index (BMI). According to researchers, if all adults drove one mile less per day, we could lower the national average BMI by 0.21 kg/m2 in 6 years.
Sure, that stat may not mean much at first glance. But when you consider the fact that eating 100 calories less per day lowers BMI by 0.16 kg/m2 after 3 years, you can see that driving less is the same as dieting (which is great for someone like me who eats 6 times a day).
5. I save my relationship
Think about it. A richer, greener, saner, slimmer me can only spell good things for my significant other.
And as the designated copilot, I can help him do everything from input directions in the GPS to ask for directions if it leads us astray.
So despite all the hype behind driving (a stick or automatic), I have lots of reasons not to drive. I think I’ll be a passenger, public transit rider, and pedestrian for life.