Try to catch me Ridin’ Dirty –

This is our little car.

It’s pretty reliable, although, please excuse the humming on the right side, that’s the air vibrating against the slightly separated front bumper.  If you happen to hear a squeak when I break, don’t worry, the mechanic said it’s normal for brakes to squeak when they are wearing in.  Whether they should be doing it when they are eight months old of course, is anyone’s call.  And sometimes the transmission whines, but so do I, so I call it even.


In March I asked my car for about 44 trips there and back again, racking up a total distance drove for the month of 672 mi. The shortest trip I took was to Salem State (literally blocks from my house.  I’m almost ashamed to admit this one) – Round Trip less than 1 mile.  The longest trip was to Hudson, Ma to visit family – Round Trip this was 87 Miles.

Breakdown of the 44 Car Trips:

15 were between 0 and 5 miles roundtrip

25 were between 6 and 20 miles roundtrip

3 were between 21 and 50 miles roundtrip

1 was between 51 and 100 miles roundtrip

During the 31 days of March there were 4 days the car never left the driveway, and 11 that it left on more than 1 trip.

This is my other car.

I took between 10 and 15 trips with this one, all less than 2.5 miles roundtrip, all into downtown Salem, or the Forest River Park.

The average American household seems to own between 1.8 and 2.5 cars, my family owns an even 1.0 Yeah, that stroller doesn’t really count, ain’t got no engine.  How does my husband get to work?  For the last year he has taken the train, but in the near future, this will change.  As you would suspect, the place where the fewest people own cars is Manhattan with 75% of households car-less.

If I drove 700 miles in my car every month, this would be 8,400 miles per year.  Depending on who’s calculating average, that number can fall between 10,000 – 12,000 miles per year on a passenger car.  Most cars emit 0.86 pounds of CO2  per mile driven, or about 7,500lbs/yr.  (On a side note: Sometime I’m going to go through and calculate all our household emissions, but, not today.)


Are we less than average? Yes, but not by much, and when we start to use the car to commute, it would definitely bump up into the “average” range, although we would still try to avoid purchasing a second vehicle.

It would probably be possible to halve the amount of trips I make that are less than 5 miles round trip (going from 15 trips to 7) by getting a bicycle, something I hope to do this year or next. (I’m stubborn and want a new, name brand one.)  In general, I’ve found that walking more than 1.5 miles to get somewhere is “too long” to walk unless you really want the exercise, so a bike is necessary for those trips.  As it is though, we live in a fairly walkable area when it comes to getting entertainment.

The Howling Wolf Taqueria, where I went for my birthday

One strategy for reducing frequency of trips which I use is to cluster trips together so that you can run errands all at once.  This is something I definitely try to do when I head to the malls, Babies R Us, or Savers, and I usually employ this tactic after my son is in bed so that I reduce the frustration of hauling him in and out of the car seat.

Anyone else have an trip saving tactics, or other tips for decreasing car usage?


Author: Beth M

I love new ideas & information, connecting people, and discovering New England adventures.

2 thoughts on “Try to catch me Ridin’ Dirty –”

    1. True that you truck driver! But on the other hand you make it possible for me to drive less miles by bringing the goods to a store closer to me, as well as the hundred other people who are going to be using the products as well. Trucking is like a giant carpool. And though there’s certainly a lot of talk and action about buying local goods when you can, not everything is manufactured locally right now.

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