Downsizing to One Car

Jupiter

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It absolutely would not work for us, as we’re a half hour mountain road away from work, which would be bus/monorail/train/bus again by public transportation. Plus we got three teenagers.

One strategy we could consider is to radically downsize one vehicle to like a two-seater…
 

KelvinS1965

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Can't really help the OP since I live in the UK and my kids have grown up, but this thread peaked my interest: My company car goes back when I retire in a few weeks and we are going down to having one car. We'll have to replace it for something with more than 2 seats just so we can go out with the grand kids if we want to. I guess I'm cheating slightly as we've bought a car for my son, which I'll do all the work on first before he takes his driving test in June, so the plan is that we'll use that for journeys needing more than 2 seats until we change my wife's car.

The thing is that we are a short walk from the main train line into London and bus services (my wife is old enough to have a free bus pass too). I'll be disappointed if it turns out that we can't cope with just one car once we've changed my wife's car. I guess it's a mindset thing too, or being more organised/plan ahead but not having young kids (other than the grand children) means it's probably easier than it would be if we had young kids living with us like the OP.

Actually my retirement project is to restore an old car I've had off road for over 20 year and barely had chance to work on due to work and family commitments. However, once it's done the plan is to sell it and cash in, though I'm sure I'll have a few drives for old time's sake no way I'd put it back into regular use (I'd spend too much time worrying about it getting damaged/stolen if I left it parked somewhere).
 

0SubSeanik0

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We have 1 car plus an electric cargo bike (that is used for about 95% of all trips outside the house). If your situation works for that setup, I highly recommend it.

Edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention that our car is a RAV4 (very utilitarian, but very reliable).
Two points I didn't elaborate on, that I probably should:

1. Cargo bikes are HEAVY. Unless you are a hardcore rider, former bike messenger, etc., look to electrics with pedal assist (not throttle). Mine is a small one (because I have a tiny garage) and it weighs 70lbs. But, it's big enough to haul wife, kid, and nearly anything else I can strap into it. Max capacity is 400lbs.

2. We're I live, we have an E/W bus line every 2 blocks, and a N/S about every 1/2 mile. Ubers, Lyfts, and taxis are not difficult to get either. My situation has lots of alternatives, if all else fails!
 

JL_LI

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I’m retired. My wife still sees clients and does workshops. There are times both cars are in use. Not always but enough that we couldn’t do with one car. We can’t even compromise and have a cheap one. Wifey and I are both car snobs. Neither of us is willing to look outside the luxe performance niche. We are looking at a compromise two years from now. I may buy the 330i off the lease.
 

keithb7

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If we could get down to 2, or even 3, I could see a few benefits.

1 vehicle? Nope. Maybe when we are both well aged and less active. We both love our independence. We live in a rural area. No bus route. No walking to the store. Cycling is pretty-well out due to the long killer, steep hill to get back home. I see triathlon athletes training on the hill. Not average Joe cyclists. Great way to give anyone over 40 a heart attack.

Some day 1. Not for a long time I figure.
 

rockymtnguitar

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I've worked from home for 10+ years. My wife became work from home in March 2020 (when that thing happened). Since that time my daughter has turned 16 and gotten her driver's license. We've basically given her my wife's car and we now share "my" car (2018 Mini Countryman). We have no real problems with three drivers and two cars, even during the school year when my daughter has the car with her daily. If something happens to one car we have the other to fall back on, so we're not quite the "one car couple" the OP is asking about, but close.

I, for one, am fine with keeping one car for my wife and I. She is more skeptical but we've had zero problems in two years. It's great not having two car payments and insuring that many cars. Plus oil/gas/maintenance is way less.
 

supersoldier71

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I’m trying to imagine a life situation where we’d only need one car. As a kid, my parents only had one car, even though they both worked. My mom was able to walk to work since it was maybe a half mile.

Maybe when I retire-retire, rather than my semi-retired, seminary student, motorcycle sales retirement right now. But even then, I’d keep a motorcycle.
 

dogmeat

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like the idea of a larger Hybrid. you can do a lot with the electric and save money on fuel costs (in the long run). and when you need the extra power or range, the gas engine is there
 

telepraise

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• "long trips with kids"- with a 300 mi range EV, you'll have to plan ahead your lunch stops for a restaurant that has a charging station handy. When our girls were little, we took them camping in the mountains every summer. Even in a Caravan with Disney videos playing, a full day in the car was never fun with them.
• kids plural- when they get to middle school your going to be driving them all over the place, usually with them not going to the same place. Two cars is definitely an advantage.
• my initial thought would be to hang on to the CRV, it's amazing how much stuff you can fit in those and they are very utilitarian. As the family grows you can always re-evaluate.
 

lammie200

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We only have one car. Our garage is too small for two. If we had a larger garage I would get an EV for trips around town. 90% of what we do anyway.
 

telepraise

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Wow lots of helpful replies. Thanks yall! One of the reasons we are mulling this over is the ridiculous offers I've been getting for my Passat. They're either right below or slightly over what I paid for it new 3 years ago. I don't really like that car either, If I'm honest. I love VWs but I'm a GTI man which is what I had before we had kid number 2. I think eventually I'd like to get a beater GTI to work on but that's down the line.

Electric vs Hybrid is tough. We have plenty of stations around here and we've mapped out a few long road trips and it's doable, but right now there aren't a lot of larger electrics so we're mostly leaning towards hybrid. I love the Sienna, and almost pulled the trigger on one a few weeks ago but the Mrs is dead set against a minivan. Oddly, she loves the new VW ID Buzz but that's a ways off. Maybe a hybrid highlander or I think they make a hybrid Tucson?

Even though we're both working from home our schedules are a little different with most of her work taking place in the afternoons and early evenings, so I think conflicting needs for a vehicle won't be a huge issue. Still, I know it'll be an adjustment. I like the idea of doing a trial run for a month or two to see how it goes.
I have a 12 year old Highlander, great on the highway and in the mountains. When they came out with a hybrid model, it actually got lower highway mileage than my base model (I get 27mpg), don't know if that's still the case. Sell the VW! The way they polluted our air for six years, I'll never own one again (and I drove a Golf for 13 years).
 

Geoff738

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Haven’t had a car in decades. But I live in a densely populated urban area of 6-7 million with ample, if somewhat unpredictable, public transit. I know for many that will not be the case.

Cheers,
Geoff
 

CharlieO

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We're a one-car family. My wife works retail; thus, non-standard hours. So she mainly uses the car. It helps that we live right on the border of downtown St. Paul and a light-rail station is 5 blocks from our house. I take the train to downtown Minneapolis when I go into the office, which is still only 2 days a week at this point. It's a 30-minute, and a round trip costs $5. No dealing with the crazy drivers on Interstate 94, no parking fees, and I can kick back and listen to podcasts while I'm riding. It works well for us. We also don't have any kids...just our dog!

Our Honda Civic is 10 years old and still doing well (and paid off for the last five + years). When it starts hitting the law of diminishing returns, we'll trade it in on a hybrid--we'd love to go electric, but there just aren't enough charging stations around yet for us to be comfortable with that.
I can't believe that "there just aren't enough charging stations around yet for us to be comfortable with that" unless you are taking frequent long trips into rural Minnesota or the surrounding states. Plugshare says that there are 1228 charging stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington. Consider how many will be available when you are ready to get rid of that Civic. And if you live in a house rather than an apartment or condo, you can easily charge at home and may never need a public charging station.

Having said this, I have been driving plug-in hybrids for the past 10 years. I don't see the sense in buying a "conventional" hybrid when plug-ins are available. I drive almost 100 percent electric, and have only driven 18 miles on gasoline since January 1.
 
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CharlieO

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I live in the northeast and would hate to get stranded on a highway in an EV/Hybrid due to accident or inclement weather.
I don't understand this comment. What is the difference if you are stranded in a conventional gas powered car or a hybrid/EV due to accident or inclement weather?
 

jvin248

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Kids with activities will push you to two vehicles.

If you are one who takes their vehicle to the shop for repairs ... which may sit there several days before they can work on it or wait for parts ... a 'backup vehicle' can be helpful. You could rent a vehicle but then your repair project cost goes up, especially with delays.

My wife works 35 min away so that's an easy hour each loop to drop her off and pick her up when down to one vehicle (if one is down for repairs). If you are doing that regularly you are doubling your gas burn, tire wear, and mileage depreciation on the vehicle.

Do not focus on 'long trip' needs when selecting a vehicle. Just rent a long trip vehicle with all the seats, one of those with 'unlimited miles'. Use a conventional gasoline model and not get stuck with the Range Anxiety of an electric. The statistics for Sport Utility Vehicles with off-road capabilities ... less than 5% ever leave pavement -- a big over spend for small potential use.

I'm keeping my eyes on the Tesla '4' launch (or whatever the one smaller than the Model 3 gets called) with the new 8640 battery pack, and the Aptera two-seater with a thousand mile range and self-charges up to 40 miles a day with built-in solar panels. Target price for each is around $25k. The second one is a great 'around town' option or may work for shorter commutes with open lots (not parking decks).

.
 

SlideGuy123

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We have my wife’s 06 Accord (looking a bit shabby but runs well) plus my 21 Forester Limited, which we got a year ago — still got a great deal on it, and it’s now worth more than we paid. We visit our daughter in Boston from here in Virginia 5 times a year, and we’re usually bringing and taking home a lot of stuff. Plus i wanted something that works for going to gigs.

We considered a hybrid, but:
1. It’s 500 miles each way to Boston. We fill up in Connecticut, which takes about 6 minutes vs how long to recharge once or twice? We don’t want to make a 7.5 hour trip into a 9 or 10 hour trip.
2. At home, a plug in is out. We’re in a middle of the row townhouse, no garage, no outside outlet.

If the Accord goes, we’ll stick with one car - too hard to replace it now, anyway. We both work from home, and if needed, there’s Uber or Lyft.
 

bobio

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We have my wife’s 06 Accord (looking a bit shabby but runs well) plus my 21 Forester Limited, which we got a year ago — still got a great deal on it, and it’s now worth more than we paid. We visit our daughter in Boston from here in Virginia 5 times a year, and we’re usually bringing and taking home a lot of stuff. Plus i wanted something that works for going to gigs.

We considered a hybrid, but:
1. It’s 500 miles each way to Boston. We fill up in Connecticut, which takes about 6 minutes vs how long to recharge once or twice? We don’t want to make a 7.5 hour trip into a 9 or 10 hour trip.
2. At home, a plug in is out. We’re in a middle of the row townhouse, no garage, no outside outlet.

If the Accord goes, we’ll stick with one car - too hard to replace it now, anyway. We both work from home, and if needed, there’s Uber or Lyft.
600 mile range if I drive it like I own it, 500 or so if I drive it like I stole it ;)
2017 Prius Three Touring...NO plugin recharging, 10 gallon gas tank.
It charges through regenerative braking and when the gas motor is running.
On a long trip without a lot of regenerative breaking, I still easily get 500 miles.
The drive across the state for my son's kidney transplant appointments is 250 miles.
We get there and back with gas to spare every time. :cool:

20210327_030015931_iOS.jpg
 
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