The Many Benefits of Going Car Free

Posted on 22 Sep 2016 by Anna Scott
Today is World Car Free Day, and depending on where you live and what your situation is, this might be a far more achievable goal for some more than others. But if you are in a position to consider ditching your wheels, even for just one day a week, you might be wondering exactly what benefits there are to going car free. Everyone knows that vehicles aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, but would giving up your car for one or two days a week really make that much difference? And surely any savings made would be spent on using public transport? Here’s a quick guide to a few different positives, some more surprising than others…


Environmental Benefits

travelling by carWe all know cars have quite a sizeable environmental footprint, and there are ways to reduce this if you want to. Apart from completely giving up your car, you could also consider getting one with a smaller engine, or investing in a more up to date, environmentally friendly model, right? Well, the issue might be more complex than you realise.

When looking at the average figures for how one person uses their carbon, a car equates to 19% of this usage, compared to a combined 4% on buses and train travel, with most of our carbon usage goes on breathing – something we can’t really do much about – and gas and electricity. And even though cutting a car out of this equation might mean using more of our carbon on public transport, this would still mean a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

But for those people considering upgrading to a greener model, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. When taking into account the car manufacturing process, you really need to include sourcing the raw materials for new cars, the cost of running the offices of those car companies and many other ripple effects. When taking these things into account, keeping your older car for as long as possible has a much lower carbon footprint over its lifetime than upgrading every few years, no matter how environmentally friendly a newer model is on a daily basis.


Health Benefits

Recent research has shown that as little as one hour’s moderate exercise everyday can offset the risks of an early death, but this doesn’t have to mean a regular gym workout. Brisk walking can count towards your exercise goal and one of the easiest ways to include more walking into your daily routine is to leave the car at home. Of course, those who commute long distances and can’t rely on public transport don’t have this option, but if there is a possibility of walking or cycling to work at least some of the time, then the benefits are far more than just environmental. Consider using a park and ride service and including even a short amount of exercise into your daily commute and this could benefit your well-being in both the short and long-term.


Financial Benefits

travelling by trainRunning a car is a big expense and not just when it comes to the ever-increasing cost of petrol. There’s car tax, annual MOTs, services and potentially expensive insurance policies to consider too. But is travelling by public transport really any cheaper? Well, it all depends on your particular situation. Although some cars attract higher taxes and insurance policies vary dramatically, the cost of running a car has actually decreased according to average figures, falling by 5% since 2010, whereas the price of train tickets has famously escalated in recent years.

It’s impossible to accurately measure any financial gains of giving up your car on a permanent or semi-permanent basis because everyone’s situation is, but if any obvious gains are to be made, and when considering them along with those clear environmental and health benefits, then giving up your car for even a short period of time every week or month could make a huge difference.


So if you are considering parting ways with your wheels, for some of the time at least, celebrate World Car Free Day by taking a look at some Evans Cycles promo codes or Halfords discount codes for some alternative cycling suggestions and savings, and Virgin Trains promotional codes can save you money on those train ticket costs when attempting longer distances.

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