Should I sell my car and save the environment?

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Have you ever considered how little time your car actually spends on the road versus on your driveway, outside your work or in your garage? A US transport expert (Paul Barter) has researched this point and confirmed that cars are typically left parked 95% of the time.

I have started an experiment to try and understand the actual usage of my car and to measure this usage against the cost of ownership. We are a two-car family and to be frank, there are only a few times a week when both cars are actually on the road. If we sell one of the cars and seek an alternative, will it work and are there actually sufficient alternatives?

It is important to note that we live outside a major city (45 KM from central Dublin) and in a country that is not leading the way in respect to public transport infrastructure. My decision will be made on the back of the financials, the environmental impact and lastly convenience. Do not get me wrong though, convenience is key, I do not want to be faced with a hardship in respect to my travel needs. However, I am also a realist in respect to the future and where the market is going. We own two high-end cars in a declining market where all futorolgists believe we will no longer own nor drive our own vehicles in 10 years. As a financier I like to hedge my position, so selling one car does seem sensible.

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The independent think tank RethinkX predicts that by 2030, 95 percent of the miles traveled in the U.S. will be covered in self-driving electric vehicles owned by ride-sharing companies. “I think a child born today is unlikely to learn how to drive,” says futurist Juan Enriquez, co-author of Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth.

On this basis, we won’t own a car, have a licence nor have the need to concern ourselves about it. Uber and others will simply be available in an abundance with the click of a button (or more likely a voice command to Alexa). Google, Amazon, Tesla and others will likely be the market leaders while the existing car companies are starting to face the reality. Incumbent car manufacturers who fail to make significant and lasting change will be the modern day equivalent of a turkey voting for Christmas (or Thanksgiving for my US friends).

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I have always been a ‘petrol head’ and I owned my first Porsche at 24, so giving up on my passion and my only real material vice is a strange and rather unsettling feeling. However, waiting too long and having to sell our two cars into a market that is dumping diesel would quite simply be madness!

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What is my plan I hear you ask? It is really quite simple, I will compile my usage data for 4 weeks. At the end of this period I will take action. If, as I suspect will be the case, my data clearly shows that a second car is a cash burning menace, then it will be time for change. I would then intend to sell both cars and replace them with an electric family car which will have space for our dogs. The Tesla Model X is a likely solution here.

Then there is my need to get about, to access public transport or to get to the nearest car sharing / membership vehicle. Vespa appear to have seen the gap in this market. The new Vespa electric will be offering 100kms on a single charge, with style, fun and zero emissions. It’s time to save the environment, save money and face the reality of what driving will look like by 2030.

I will update my blog with the outcome in late Feb. I suspect I am in the 95% zone or possibly way higher as I work from home and I can also walk to my office! Are you thinking of making a change? Let me know your thoughts.

Justin Caffrey