The Car

The car. We travel mostly by car in our industrial world. Prior to the car, we traveled by horse, by walking, or not at all. As time passes and the memory of life without cars dies, considering life without cars becomes more and more radical-sounding. However, the car has transformed our lives for better and worse.


1769: first steam-powered automobile.

1808: first internal combustion engine automobile, hydrogen-powered.

1870: first gasoline-powered combustion engine automobile.

1885: first production automobile, several copies made by Karl Benz.

1913: first car made on a moving assembly line, the Ford Model T.

The Good

  • Almost infinite mobility within range of a city.
  • Goods travel quickly.
  • Cars are extremely reliable today, inexpensive to own and operate.
  • Can visit friends and family far away easily.

The Bad

  • Enables sedentary lifestyle.
  • Driving alone Isolates from other people.
  • Expensive status symbol.
  • Cars are energy expensive.
  • Driving is statistically very risky, dangerous.
  • Enables us to live far from family and friends.

Keep the Good, Cut the Bad

Consider having one car for the family. At first glance, it appears extremely inconvenient or impossible, but imagine if you do not save the extra money from having just one car, and instead spend the extra money to alleviate the inconveniences. You could possibly:

  • Reduce or eliminate a second job.
  • Taxi / Uber when necessary.
  • Rent a car when you really need it.
  • Pay other parents real money to carpool your kids (while still using your one car to carpool sometimes).
  • Car time becomes family time with one car.
  • Nice bicycles to use for short commuting are cheap compared with a second car.
  • Afford a home closer to where you work and go to school.