Monday, December 8, 2008

Car Free: Week One

Here it is, a week into my new, car-free life. What difference has it made?

I still got my son to school on time every day. We walked for nine of the ten trips last week. Each trip is 1.8 km. Because I work from a home office, this means that I did the walk 18 times for a total of 32.4 km. I feel healthier for it, and look forward to continuing. And yes, I do own good winter boots and a warm parka.

We normally try to walk, but with bad weather, dark evenings and my general laziness, there's a good chance I would have wussed out and picked him up in the car a few times. If my walking replaced four round trips, that means my new car-free lifestyle saved 14.4 km of driving. My old 2002 Focus wagon got 8.3 l/100km, so that means I saved about 1.2 litres of gasoline. Not a lot, but there were no major trips last week. According to the government's Office of Energy Efficiency, burning a litre of fuel produces 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide. So my walking prevented about 2.9 kg of carbon dioxide from enering the atmosphere. Not bad for a start.

The one day when we took transit, we did so because I had a bunch of errands to run. With a $9 TTC day pass, this was an easy thing to do. I just ordered my errands so they'd be in a big circle route, then took subways, buses or streetcars between them. It did not significantly add to the time it took to complete the errands. Not cheaper than driving, I expect, but it was fun to just grab whatever transit I wanted, whenever I wanted, wherever I happened to be, without having to think about having correct change. Now I know what metropass holders feel like.

So, no major hardships yet. I feel healthier and happier, and my stress level is a little lower.

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