Can everyone live without a car? No, but a lot of people can.

I stopped owning cars in 2007. At first, I decided to try it for a year. But after only a few months, the benefits – physical, financial and mental – became apparent. I am now into my ninth year as a happy, productive, non-car-owning American.

I live in Bangor and teach English at the University of Maine at Orono. I also teach in the MFA writing program at Western Connecticut State University, and supplement these two jobs with freelance writing assignments. I’m in my fifties, divorced, with two grown children living in California.

The decision to relinquish car ownership was a long time coming. Like most Americans, I bought into the cultural wisdom, promulgated by the automobile and advertising industries, that one must own an automobile to participate fully in American economic life. I needed a car to get to work, to haul groceries, to see friends and family, to go on road trips, to run errands, and on and on. I am here to tell you that it isn’t true. Giving up owning a car was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Can everyone do this? No, but a lot of people can. And surprisingly, your life will improve as a result. You will have more freedom, more time, and more money. You will learn that your car is not the necessity you think it is. Skeptical? So was I. But I soon discovered that the vaunted “freedom” and “convenience” of owning a car were overrated illusions.

This blog is intended as a conversation among people interested in alternatives to car ownership. On it I will share my own observations, and provide an opportunity for readers to share additional information and insight. A good conversation often begins by challenging long-held assumptions. I hope to provide a forum for that here.

Hank Garfield

About Hank Garfield

Hank's writing has appeared in San Diego Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Downeast, Bangor Metro, and elsewhere. He is the author of five published novels, and is now seeking a publisher for his recently-completed novel, A Sprauling Family Saga.