Why you Don’t really need your Car

If you have a car, you have it because you need it, and that’s that. However, when you really start looking into it, it might be that you only think you need it and nothing more than that
17 October 2023

If you own a car, one question to ask yourself is why – why do you have it? For a lot of people, it’s a symbol of freedom, and it’s convenient, but although it’s true that some will absolutely need their car, especially if they live in the middle of nowhere or have to reach out of the way places for their work or to visit loved ones, for example, most of us actually don’t really need our vehicles. 

That might sound like a silly thing to say. If you have a car, you have it because you need it, and that’s that. However, when you really start looking into it, it might be that you only think you need it and nothing more than that. With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why you don’t really need your car – they might surprise you, and by the time you’ve finished reading, it could be that you’ve decided it’s time to sell your vehicle and start living car-free. 

There’s Plenty Of Public Transport 

One of the biggest reasons why you might not need your car, and you could consider selling it (and keeping the money to do something fun with or add to your savings), is that there is so much public transport around – in most places, at least. Public transport, whether that’s a train, a bus, or even a tram, is efficient and easy to use, and you’ll be able to find it wherever you are. 

Not only that, but it’s much more cost-effective than using a car as well. When you think about the cost of buying the car in the first place, then you add in fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs, parking charges, and fines (because no matter how careful you are, you’re sure to get at least one at some point), it’s clear that it costs a lot more to have a car than it would to use public transport, even if you did it every day. 

Plus, when you’re on public transport, you’ll be less stressed – you won’t be the one behind the wheel when other drivers do dangerous or unexpected things, and you won’t be the one trying to work out the right route. You’ll just be sitting back and relaxing with your music, podcast, or a book, enjoying the chance to chill out for a little while. 

You Can Hire A Car

If you don’t use your car all that often, or you could get by on public transport most of the time, but you need a car for a longer trip or to get somewhere that public transport doesn’t serve, what about hiring a car? 

It’s true that you’ll have to pay out for the rental, but if you only do it once in a while, you’ll still be saving money overall, and you won’t have to think about long-term expenses like repairs and getting the car serviced and through its MOT every year; that’s someone else’s concern, and you just need to focus on getting where you need to go. 

Alternatively, if you want to save money but still get in a car, what about car-sharing services like Uber? In this way, you can go anywhere (as long as there’s a road!), including the places public transport can’t reach, and you don’t even have to think about where to park or insurance or traffic… it’s a great middle ground, and if it means you don’t really need your car, why wouldn’t you try it out? 

Environmental Benefits 

It’s impossible to talk about selling your car because you’ve found reasons you don’t need it without one of those reasons being the environment. Cars have a hugely negative impact on the environment thanks to their emissions, so if you want to take better care of the planet, that’s a great reason to stop using your car and start using other forms of transport – or walk instead. Walking is the greenest way to travel there is, so the more you can do that (especially if you might normally have driven, but it’s only a short walk), the better. If not walking, you might want to consider cycling instead – it’s faster, good for your health, and it’s fantastic for the environment. 

Public transport actually has lower emissions than cars, so although it’s still not ideal, it’s definitely better. Remember you’ll have more than one passenger on any type of public transport, so when you do the maths, you’ll find that it’s going to produce fewer emissions per person per mile. Even if you don’t know what the numbers are precisely, the point is that cars are the worst form of transport for the planet, assuming they’re not electric (and even electric cars need to use power). 

And of course, the more people who choose to use public transport, the more money the councils and government will put into that public transport – because it’s worth it. That means it will be more comfortable, there might be more routes, the vehicles will be newer, and so on. When that happens, even more people will want to use public transport because it’s nicer than they thought, and the cycle continues. 

Health Benefits 

We’ve briefly touched on the fact that walking instead of driving is better for your health, and now we can go into it in a little more detail. The fact is that when you reduce your reliance on cars, your health will benefit. 

You’ll be getting more physical activity for one thing, like we said about walking or cycling. That might not sound like something you’re keen to do right now, but that could be because you’re so used to driving, and even short distances seem a lot longer because you’re in the car. In reality, those short distances can easily be walked or cycled (or you could use a scooter or a skateboard or anything else – as long as you’re safe and look out for pedestrians, for example), and the more you do it, the shorter they’ll seem. That’s especially true if it’s part of a regular routine like a commute to work or school because you’ll be doing it most days. 

That’s your physical health helped, but what about your mental health? When you don’t have a car, your stress levels will probably be a lot lower – driving is stressful, and even on the best days with hardly any traffic and good weather (and a fully functioning car), you still need to be on high alert at all times so you don’t have an accident. Imagine how tense that’s making you all by itself, but when you add the other stressful elements like traffic jams and nowhere to park, you can see how much easier life can be without a car in it at all. 

In fact, many studies show that people who use other types of transport and don’t drive as much, if at all, are much happier. They’ll be less stressed, as mentioned above, but they’ll also be more sociable because they’ll be around other people, and because they have to work to the timetables of public transport, they also usually have a better work-life balance because they can’t stay late or do extra shifts; they have a bus to catch. 

You Work From Home

Finally, you might not really need a car because you work from home. Many people do these days, and it could be that if that’s the case for you, having a car on your driveway is just a habit, not a need. If you can’t remember the last time you got in your car and went somewhere, or if that place could have been walked to, then why not think about reaping the benefits of not having a car? If you’re not using it, what’s the point in it being there?