What Would it Take to Use Your Car Less?

In 2016, about 82 percent of Omaha’s workers drove alone to their jobs – a percentage that has stayed steady since at least 2013.

At the same time, we know that cars are expensive. Edmunds calculates the true cost to own a 2018 Toyota Camry in Omaha to be $33,594 over 5 years, which is $8,302 more than its purchase price. It equals out to be an average of $6,718 per year, which is lower than the AAA national average of $8,558.

It’s still a lot of money to own a car…and these costs don’t include societal costs like pollution, congestion, and wear and tear to our roads.

So what would happen if people started to drive their car a little less, and used alternative transportation methods a little more?

Cars would potentially last longer. According to Kiplinger, “If there’s one single thing you can do as a driver to get your car to last longer on its original parts, it’s to drive it less.”

We would breathe easier. According to the EPA, car trips of under a mile add up to about 10 billion miles per year across the nation. If we would choose to switch just half of these trips from a car to our feet, we would save about $575 million in fuel costs and 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. It’s like taking 400,000 cars off the road each year.

Public health would improve. A 20-minute walk every day is all it might take to live longer.

When people use public transportation, they’re usually walking to and from a station. It’s one less car on the road. The key is to make public transportation accessible to jobs, housing and entertainment, and to continue to make infrastructure friendly to pedestrians and to those on wheels, including bicycles, wheelchairs and strollers.