Walking the talk: my attempt to live without a car

blog-day1-squareYou might remember on January 1st when I pondered whether to take the plunge and try to live without a car.  Well, take the plunge I have!  Today my car will find a new home with a friend’s mother.  I’m so happy to pass on this fine specimen of a vehicle to someone who will take good care of it.  My car has been so wonderful to me – always reliable and trusty.

In its place, I will use public transportation, taxis and my newly acquired electric scooter.  I am excited and nervous at the prospect of this experiment.  It is definitely going to change my habits.  First, I will get more exercise.  The bus stop is 5 streets down, and I will have to walk whenever I take it.  Second, everything won’t be so damn convenient – I will appreciate the things I do each week, not just go about them mindlessly.  I can read while I’m on the bus or actually interact with strangers – something you all know I love to do.

I also realize I’ll have to rely on friends a bit for certain things – taking me to night time events that might not be close to a bus route.  I hope they’ll be understanding and accommodating, and I promise to be as independent of them as possible.  Perhaps some day I’ll feel comfortable with the scooter at night, but I need some practice on it first.

Apparently it takes about 25 cents worth of electricity to charge the scooter.  It will drive 20-25 miles before needing to be recharged.  The fuel costs of an electric vehicle are only 25% that of a normal fuel vehicle.  No more trips to the gas station for me for a while!  No more contributing to our dependence on foreign oil!  My goal is still to install solar on my house so my transportation fuel is created and provided by me (and the sun).

The worst part about the electric scooter is the lead batteries.  However, I am told that at least lead batteries are recyclable.  Lithium batteries last longer but are not yet recyclable.

I hope you enjoy following along with my experiment.  So many people think they can’t live without a car, but I know others who are doing it, too.  If more people chose to utilize our public transportation system, it would continue to improve and be more valuable to us.  I hope my story inspires you!


  • Woo-hoo! Good luck and I’m sure you’ll be a public transport convert.

    Presumaby buses don’t run at night in Sarasota then? Is there a taxi service for emergencies?

  • Hi Elsie, I support you in this endeavor. Feel free to remind me of this when I am complaining about walking to the bus stop!

    Don’t feel too badly about the lead acid batteries. They have a 97% recycle rate, and not just the lead in the batteries, nearly all the components of a lead acid battery get recycled!

    “Lead-acid batteries are the environmental success story of our time. More than 97 percent of all battery lead is recycled. Compared to 55% of aluminum soft drink and beer cans, 45% of newspapers, 26% of glass bottles and 26% of tires, lead-acid batteries top the list of the most highly recycled consumer product.” Source: http://aboutbatteries.batterycouncil.org/Why-do-we-use-lead-batteries

    Walk on! – Jim

  • Actually, Andrew, you’ll be delighted to know that Mon-Sat, the buses run to and from downtown until 11:30 p.m.! I’m getting so old and tired that I’m rarely out after that. When you and Shalene come to visit, we’ll experience the joys of Sarasota buses together.

  • Elsie — congratulations —

    a few thoughts:
    keep really good rain gear in your scooter. Keep your facemask or goggles treated w/ rainX. And drive slowly in the rain — it can get slick.

    I don’t have your bravery. I do use my scooter as the weather gets better, & I even ride my bike to & from work as the sun shines longer. But the commute from siesta Key downtown in inclement weather (especially at night)is just too grim for relying on my scooter.

    good luck — I’ll look forward to your on-going reports!

  • I don’t know who any of you are, but I love all the posts and just want to express my total support in the “no car” experiment. I too will be going “car-free” this summer as my daughter leaves for college and takes my car with her. We just don’t have the funds to buy her a car, and I honestly use it most just for going to the store and the library. I can walk or ride my bike to both of these places and I am the type that goes to the grocery store every day and just gets a few things (which shouldn’t be hard to put in my back pack). I also live right on a bus line – the bus literally goes past my house. I can also call a taxi if I have to . Anyway – Wish me luck !

    • Thanks so much for chiming in, Virginia! I’m so proud of you for going car-free! You will be fine! And, you will notice how much more connected you feel to your neighborhood.

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