Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tired of Gas Prices? 5 Tips for Ditching Your Car and Still Getting Around

Gas prices have almost tripled since 2002, causing many people to ditch their cars to save money. Leaving car ownership behind is easier when you have confidence you can still get around. Good news - you can survive without a car, even if you don't live in a major urban area. Here's five tips to help you get started.

1. Use Public Transportation

A handful of cities are known for such excellent public transportation systems that having a car is an anomaly instead of a requirement. But most cities have some public transportation. Consider buses, trains, trollies and even publicly available bicycles.

Scheduling your day around public transportation can take some adjustment. Research makes the transition easier. Look up routes, print out a list of exchanges and times and program the customer service number into your phone for quick information.

While taxis aren’t as cheap, they can definitely do in a pinch when you need to get from point A to point B very quickly. A taxi service in Naples might be just the thing for you, and you always want to make sure you get a ride from a trusted company, like Southwest Florida Transportation Group, Inc. Don’t just hop into any old yellow car and hope it’s a taxi!

2. Walk or Bike

What's a great way to learn more about your city, get some exercise and save on gas? Using your own two feet as your primary mode of transportation. Walking is free and even investing in a good bicycle pays for itself in a couple months of saved gas bills.

Living in a central location that allows you access to frequent destinations may be more expensive than other housing options. Keep in mind the money you're saving without a car payment, gas bills and car insurance when making your budget. 

3. Reduce Your Trips

Without a car, you learn to consolidate trips. Not running out for fast food may be inconvenient at first, but you'll be saving even more money in the long run. Whenever you need to go out to the store or run other errands, plan ahead. If you need to go to the grocery store or if you need to go get your haircut, go to the grocery store last. This will allow you to take care of all of your other tasks without letting any of your food going bad and it will prevent you from having to go back to the grocery store later. It will also give you time to think if you need to add any more items you need to get at the grocery store to your list. This will help you avoid the risks of going back later because you forgot an important item. Work ahead to avoid unnecessary trips. Plan out your week's meals and shop for everything you'll need at once. Odds are, you'll eat healthier, too.

4. Buy an Alternate Motorized Vehicle

Electric bikes, mopeds, scooters and motorcycles are growing in popularity as gas prices rise. They are the best of both worlds - you can travel long distances in short amounts of time and use less gas than traditional cars. A bonus is that many options don't require insurance.

5. Car Sharing for Special Trips

No matter how satisfied you are with your car-free life, there will come a time when you simply need a car. In those situations, consider a car-sharing program. City Car Share, i-Go, FlexCar, ZipCar and Lyft are just a handful of the options available. Some research will help you find the best car-share program for you.


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