How do People Feel About Reducing Dependence on Cars?

Transport accounts for about a quarter of total green house gas emissions. 80% of car journeys are under 2km. We have a real issue with congestion. We do need to move to electric but do we also need to reduce dependence on cars?

Would be useful if a few people could share what they’ve done to reduce the use of their car and whether it’s been beneficial to them.

I figure if it is not the environmental angle then cost is a huge driver. With road tax, insurance, mot, servicing and petrol we need to start thinking about what we really need and benefit the world and our pockets at the same time.


I live in the countryside. It is almost impossible to imagine surviving without a car. We have an almost non-existent bus service and getting to the nearest civilisation by bicycle involves taking your life into your hands. Also I don’t have off-street parking so an electric vehicle would be pretty much impossible here.

However, I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to get in the car to go everywhere so I get everything delivered. Mostly this works out cheaper or breaks even.

I’m not sure whether that is better or worse for the environment though. Does anyone know of any data comparing the environmental cost of delivery vs your own transport? Something in my mind says that delivery should be more efficient as the driver travels less between deliveries than the average single journey. Although this could just be wishful thinking on my part …

We never owned a car and found this to be working well for us as we live in a city with walkable distances. We hire a care for our big summer holidays.


We didn’t need a car in London but here it has been essential for carrying loads, like taking stuff to the tip and getting our wholesale order of Suma products, which means we don’t need supermarkets so much. Smaller trips we can do on bikes, but put off by rain and traffic hazards. We noticed the Highway Code says that cyclists should take extra care around traffic calming measures. That just shows who these measures are for. They create dangers for cyclists.

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Hi @oxonjan . This is super helpful. Any chance you can share a little more of your experience of not having a car at all? I’ve set up a new thread about share car schemes which we will promote to people thinking about this (on other sites). It would be great if you could share your story.

Thanks a mill!

We’ve had a few electric cars, our current one being a 180 mile Renault Zoe but we still need an ICE car for longer distances although we are about to swap our diesel for a petrol electric PHEV which should cut down our carbon footprint during the week. Weekends we do travel quite a bit so after 30 miles of electric we will drop back to petrol but may be able to pick up a bit of charge at our destination bearing in mind we always give priority to pure EV’s if they need to charge as it’s the only fuel they have.


I think as people have implied, this does differ hugely depending on where you live. As I’ve mentioned on the EV thread, we went car free for nearly 5 years, until last September. However, we live in London (Newham) & I think it’s a lot easier in a city. I commute to work by bike (11 miles each way) and on the very rare days that I don’t cycle, I can get on the train. We do a huge amount of our shopping for small bits and socialising locally and we have been having our main grocery shop delivered for years, plus we get a veg box delivery. During the time with no car, we occasionally borrowed one from my father-in-law and probably hired one about 3 times for holidays. Our main reason for going back to having a car (Nissan Leaf EV) is down to ageing parents living outside London and having a dog (travelling by train with a dog and luggage is not a friendly experience). Having said that, the car still sits around a lot. It doesn’t get driven during the week (I’m thinking about getting a pool of local friends together to do a car share) and 99% of the time it’s used to go out of London - i.e. I don’t drive in the city. I would say that for most of us living in cities, with more and more car share schemes coming in, it is entirely possible to live car free (probably more so if you don’t have kids - but I know several local families that don’t have cars).
My sister on the other hand, lives in Wiltshire and travels to work in Cheltenham. The roads are not friendly for cycling where she lives (unless you’re an experienced road cyclist - you will see plenty of lycra out there) and certainly not suitable for riding with her 10 year old son. So… whilst I’m persuading her to go EV on her next car, she is my example of the impracticalities of car free life outside big cities.


This topic is pretty relevant to this discussion…

Once fully autonomous cars arrive we will see a dramatic reduction in cars as one vehicle can have many purposes. Drop dad at work, go home for moms school run, pick dad up, become an Uber car in-between earning enough to pay the car lease so other cars become one…with a bit of luck and a radical change in mind-sets !