Driving less

I know it's trendy to drive less, but we've been racking up far fewer miles on our cars over the past several years. By how much? Let's just say we're planning to go down to one car, but some background is in order before I talk about that.

Melody never has driven very much; the fact that she didn't own a car until about 10 years ago probably has a lot to do with it. We do take it on trips (Spokane at least annually, and we've taken it to Yellowstone and Oregon) but other than that it's mostly around town. Including our most recent Spokane trip, she's driven the car about 1,500 miles in the last six months. That doesn't seem to have varied much over the past several years.

I used to do much more driving when the boys went to school across the lake in Bellevue. Now that they go to school in Seattle as well as riding their bikes and taking the bus a lot, I've gone from 12-15,000 miles per year down to about 2,000.

Both Melody and I take the bus or walk when we can, driving when we need to carry stuff or if the distance, location, or time of day makes driving more sensible. There aren't many times when we both need to drive at the same time, so we're thinking about selling one car. Even though I get better mileage, she has an automatic and all wheel drive (nice for those few days per year when the roads are icy), so it makes sense to keep hers.

Don't get me wrong - going down to one car would be quite a change for us, and we'd need to figure out what to do for those times we need a second car. At one point there used to be a Zipcar not far from us, but it's no longer there and the closest one to the house is about a 35 or 40 minute walk (there are several cars near my office, though). Mostly the need for the second car would be when Melody is skiing, but since she usually just drives to a park and ride and takes a charter bus from there, I could always go fetch the car if I needed it. I guess my feeling is it'd be inconvenient but not impossible, and we'd only really need the second car probably fewer than a dozen times a year.

Being from Southern California, it's hard to imagine not always having a car available. However, we're pretty convinced we can handle being a single car family, so what's left is to actually do it.