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What Is Car-Free Living?

Updated on September 12, 2015
erinshelby profile image

Erin Shelby is a freelance writer. She blogs at

Taking a bus gets car-free people from Point A to Point B
Taking a bus gets car-free people from Point A to Point B | Source

Car-free living is a choice to use a means other than driving a car for transportation. While car-free individuals may rent a car or carpool, they typically use other ways of getting things done. These include taking public transportation, biking, walking, working from home, eliminating or reducing errands, purchasing groceries on the internet or changing habits to eliminate the need for a car.

Why Do People Live Car-Free?

There are many reasons people are choosing to live without a car or to reduce their car dependency. These include:

  • Environmental: Car-free individuals enjoy knowing that they’re reducing the amount of car exhaust placed into the air.

  • Financial: Many people who have gone car-free believe it’s cheaper to live without a car while others enjoy not being surprised by unexpected car repairs. Car-free citizens pay for transportation in some form but do not pay a monthly car payment, car insurance or gasoline.

  • Moral: Some car-free citizens believe it’s their responsibility to make sure the next generation can inhabit the earth without trouble. Living car-free is their way of leaving the earth unharmed.

Biking is both leisure and transportation
Biking is both leisure and transportation | Source
  • National: The amount of oil left in the world is limited and oil is a source of conflict among nations. Car-free individuals are doing their part by conserving what remains.

  • Physical Fitness: Walking and cycling are popular modes of transportation for car-free people to stay fit without a gym membership.

  • Safety: Katie Alvord’s book Divorce Your Car! cites compelling statistics on how often car accidents occur.

A train is another option for car-free citizens
A train is another option for car-free citizens | Source
  • Social: Car-free individuals may feel more connected to their communities by getting to know people as their stroll through town. The common feeling of “road rage” that motorists experience is not likely to be felt by a car-free individual.

  • Spiritual: The cursing and one-fingered wave that happens from road rage can’t be good for spirituality. Those who have chosen a car-free lifestyle may experience the sound of birds singing or just silence, which can lend itself to reflection.

What's the biggest benefit to going without a car?

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    • erinshelby profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      @ wrenchBiscuit- Thanks for your sharing how fitness and car-free living go together!

      @ sharonkaylewis- Thanks for sharing how finances and car-free are connected.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a very good article. I have been car free all of my life, mainly due to financial reasons. I work 2 part time jobs from home and live within a 10 minute walk to a bus stop.

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 

      7 years ago

      Interesting Hub.I have been semi-car-free for 3 years.I still use a car occasionally,but whenever I can I ride a bus or a bicycle.I don't have to worry about my weight any more or watch what I eat.

    • erinshelby profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      Good for you, DreamerMeg!

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      We have now been car free for a year!

    • erinshelby profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from United States

      Hi Annee,

      Thank you for the comment. I hope people will be inspired to hear your story!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      See how one family of seven "suburban bike ninjas" lives car-free at and on Facebook at


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