Believe it or not there was once a time when having one car was a luxury, today its commonplace to have two or more in a household. In fact, when I lived with my Mum and Nan, it was only my Nan that had a car and much was the same for other households on our street.
My wife and I are paid up members of the two car household statistic. We are now financing my wife’s car with a PCP agreement and I bought mine outright when my old car started to cost more money than it was worth.
The idea of having two cars seems a good idea, as there is always that fear that I might be missing out should we get rid of one car, I’m not, but then I’ll hear that rattle that wasn’t there yesterday or receive notice that the insurance is up for renewal, which often means that tax and an MOT will follow not long after. These are bad enough with one car, but with two its just double trouble.
Reasons for having two cars:
In our own circumstance, I believe that this has just become the norm, we have never even discussed the idea of getting rid of one of our cars, but I’m sure my wife wouldn’t be against the idea, especially if it meant an upgrade.
But what might be the other reasons for the growing trend in two car households?
People are living with their parents longer
No surprise, what with the cost of rent and the possibility of home ownership out of reach for many
Everyone in the household is working
Not only is there a relationship to the above with this, but with society in general today.
On Question Time this week an audience member made an excellent point about the days when one parent could stay at home to raise a family while the other went to work to earn enough to support them are long gone and so both parents might need to work just to get by, relying on family members for childcare where possible.
The advantages of having two cars:
- Can be more reliable than public transport when schedules clash
The disadvantages of having two cars:
- Maintenance costs
- Roadside Assistance
- Parking fees
So why am I considering get rid of a car now?
My current 9to5, requires that I attend meetings in another part of the city and while my employer provides pool cars, not knowing what time these meetings can finish could mean that I end up driving back to the office, in rush hour traffic to pick up my car, when I could have quite easily driven home straight after the meeting.
The thing is I’m now looking for another job and this has me questioning, depending on the job of course, whether we actually need a second car.
Neither of our cars a particularly powerful or heavy on fuel consumption, in fact depending on what I’m doing in the month I might be able to get £30 to last me to next pay day, but those associated additional costs and those that crop up from out of the blue certainly make a difference.
What are the alternatives?
We only have one bus operator were we live and a weekly pass would cost me £30 to get into the city centre. If you factor in the further added known costs of owning a car, this is still relatively cheap on comparison.
The popularity of electric bikes is on the rise.
Though the initial outlay for a good electric bike can seem to be quite high but when you factor in how much it would cost me on the bus every week the cost seems more than reasonable.
I could go for a pedal bike, but after having two surgeries on my knee this could be painful and I don’t think that my colleagues would appreciate me turning up in tight cycling shorts a little sweaty and out of breath.
I know we should all try and work a lot more, but setting off at 6am to get to work for 9am doesn’t appeal not to mention that I’d probably not get home for 9pm either.
So has a decision been made?
Unfortunately not, while I’m looking for another job it’s too early to say whether I’m going to need to continue using a car and even should I get new employment there isn’t anything to say that I wouldn’t need it in any event.
The idea of being a one car household is appealing but if I was to be honest with myself at this time, it just doesn’t make sense.
Have you given up a car to become a one car household?
What were the reasons for you deciding to give up a car and is it something that you missed or wished you had done sooner?