Our Car Share: One Less Car & One More Bike!

Jun 26, 2019

After many months of planning and thinking, we sold our 4WD ute, bought a second electric bike and entered a car share arrangement with some mates around the corner who have a small “buzz box” car. It feels really good.
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Jodie and Marty’s buzz box and our two electric bikes

But Why?

Two main reasons – firstly, it’s cheaper to share a car. We did some back-of-the-envelope sums and figured out we’d save around $5000 each year. Secondly, in the very big face that is the current climate crisis, we’re constantly looking at how we can prevent carbon emissions from occurring in our own lives to contribute to the solution and not the pollution. Check out this graph drawn up by Brenna Quinlan that shows the power of personal action in the face of climate change.
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Not having a car is the second most impactful thing we can do in our society – right after considering how you approach family planning. Australia’s Climate Council has this to say on the matter…
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“Transport – cars, trucks, public transport, domestic flights and shipping – is Australia’s second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution. The sector emitted 102 million tonnes carbon dioxide (MtCO2) in 2018, representing 18% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas pollution…
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The major source of the problem is cars, responsible for roughly half of Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution from transport. In fact, Australian cars emit roughly the same per year as Queensland’s entire coal and gas fired electricity supply (Climate Council).”
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Yeah, so cars are a big deal, yet most folks consider them to be an extension of our bodies and lives. But do they have to be for everyone? In an ideal world, we’d have amazing public transport systems *everywhere*, affordable electric cars and bike infrastructure and incentives that get urban folk on their bikes and out of their cars. But that’s not an option for a large portion of us.
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For example, we personally can’t afford an electric car (however we do hope to access one in the future), our public transport system is average at the best of times and our bike infrastructure is limited. It’s easier to drive because that’s how our city and whole island infrastructure has been designed and developed.

How does the car share work?

A car share is a practical solution to our current lives where we still need a car for work and sometimes play. Tasmania currently doesn’t have a formal car share enterprise set up (as other parts of Australia do), so we initiated our own with some mates (thanks Jodie and Marty) around the corner who have a small, efficient car they were willing to share. We’ve done a range of things to formalise the agreement and make record keeping easy, these include:
  • Having a contract that outlines everything super clearly. There’s nothing wishy-washy about what we’re doing, everything’s written down which ensures we’re all on the same page.
  • Establishing an online calendar so we can book the car in when we need it.
  • We have a shared Google Docs form where we all enter how many kms we did, if you spent on money (fuel, repairs etc) and whether we did city or highway driving.
  • We have insurance – this will cover any accidents (touch wood) and remove any big financial risk associated with them.
  • Agree to meet every quarter to review the agreement and resolve any costs if needed.
  • If we both need it at the same time, the household who needs it for the least amount of time will rent a car instead.

What’s challenging about it?

There are some challenges to this new way of transport for us, actually there’s only one. We need to be more organised with our time. But really, being more organised is a pretty ace life skill, so fostering that is actually a positive.

Should everyone do a car share?

No. We acknowledge that this isn’t an option for everyone. It happens to be for us because we live in Hobart city, this makes it easy for us to walk and ride for 80% of our trips. Not everyone can access housing in a central city or town, or make their lives and/or work functional without the use of a car everyday.
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I’m completely uninterested in sounding like a white, privileged bozo and flippantly saying that everyone should do this cause we can. What I will say is that we can all do things to transition to a meaningful life that can help prevent the climate crisis from getting worse. What that thing/s is will depend on your context. I simply invite you to explore your world and find that thing/s and make it happen :-).
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For us, we’re on a one-way track to constantly working on untangling ourselves from being so dependent on fossil fuels and capitalism. We often ask ourselves the question “do we really need this thing in our lives, or is there another way?” Often, there is another way and we like this other way. It’s full of better health, community connections and resilience.
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Anton and Frida rugged up and on their way to Kindy

your thoughts:

18 Comments

  1. Asia

    Exceptional post. Thanks for sharing. We need less cars on the streets.

    Reply
  2. Asia

    Billionaire Chuck Feeney, does not own or drive cars, instead he takes a taxi or use public transportation. He lives in an apartment with his second wife, so I read in a book about his life years ago. Just sharing in case you missed this important fact regarding Mr. FEENEY, who gives his money away now while he is living. .

    Reply
  3. Lisa

    Hi Hannah, fantastic post! I am interested to learn where you got the bikes from and what you think about the environmental/social impacts of batteries used for electric bikes and cars? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      Hi Lisa, As far as I’m aware the batteries from electric cars are now recycled but I don’t know of an option for electric bikes (will need to research that one more). There’s always going to be n impact on the earth with *everything* we do!

      Reply
  4. Sylvia

    Awesome!

    Reply
  5. Sylvia

    Awesome!

    Reply
  6. Hannah Moloney

    Hi Lisa, As far as I’m aware the batteries from electric cars are now recycled but I don’t know of an option for electric bikes (will need to research that one more). There’s always going to be n impact on the earth with *everything* we do!

    Reply
  7. JB

    Good on you – can understand why it’s electric rather than ordinary bikes, living in Hobart!
    Cheers Jon

    Reply
  8. JB

    Good on you – can understand why it’s electric rather than ordinary bikes, living in Hobart!
    Cheers Jon

    Reply
  9. tjarlz

    If the Corolla is yours then that’s a good choice. Solidly engineered from the ‘golden age’ of Toyota… and what they drive in Afghanistan!

    Reply
  10. Leah Worsnop

    Hello, I’m also on an Electric bike with my daughter and we’ve sold our car. But I’m not 100% happy with my bike.

    Are you able to share a post about the design features of your bikes, especially relating to kid and stuff carrying?

    Cheers
    Leah

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      Hi Leah, It works really well for hauling loads of stuff including kid/s and sacks of chook feed. It has a weight capacity up to 200kgs which is amazing. We ought an electric kit and retrofitted our long bike and had to choose a more powerful motor than what the shops sell as otherwise it wouldn’t get up our hills properly (we have big hills).

      Reply
      • Artist as Family

        Hi Hannah, are you happy to share the brand of your electric kit you retrofitted your long bike with? After ten years of solid use, I am now in the market for a new kit for my long bike. Meg x

        Reply
  11. Leah Worsnop

    Hello, I’m also on an Electric bike with my daughter and we’ve sold our car. But I’m not 100% happy with my bike.

    Are you able to share a post about the design features of your bikes, especially relating to kid and stuff carrying?

    Cheers
    Leah

    Reply
    • Artist as Family

      Hi Hannah, are you happy to share the brand of your electric kit you retrofitted your long bike with? After ten years of solid use, I am now in the market for a new kit for my long bike. Meg x

      Reply
  12. MJ

    You guys inspired me to buy an ebike, put a trailer on the back for my little boy and use it to get around instead of another fuel-guzzling, money-guzzling, pollution-vomiting car (hubby needs one for his hour commute to work and we live rural). Still getting confident with riding around our town but thankfully we have some bike lanes near our house. Lots of hills though haha they’re not fun.

    Reply

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