How to Avoid Buying a Car – Updated 15th Feb 2020

Arial view of People in the Shape of a Car

The most sustainable car is the one doesn’t exist. Why? Well according to the author of the book ‘How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Nearly Everything’ Berners-Lee estimates that more than making a new family car emits 40% more carbon dioxide than driving the same car for 5 years. The percentages may differ for electric cars but the principal stays the same, buying new is always less sustainable than doing without.

So if you’re someone who only needs a car on occasions why not save yourself a packet and a ton of hassle by not buying one in the first place. And even if you do need to own a car perhaps the option of hiring a car or van on occasion might dissuade you from buying second car. If that’s piqued your interest here’s are some options to consider.

Cycling
How can you reduce your carbon footprint, save money and become more healthy? Start cycling. If you’re unsure whether it’s for you why not try making just a few more journeys by bike before deciding.

The Dublin Bike Scheme is run by the local council in Dublin and allows you to buy a 3 day pass for €5 at their credit card terminals. The hire of the bikes is between €0.50 for 30 mins up to €6.50 for up to 4 hours.

Bleeper Bikes is a privately run company that facilitates bike rental in Dublin and Sligo via it’s free app at a cost of €4 for 5 x 60 min rides or €8 for unlimited bike usage over a 24 hour period. Dublin Bikes need to be returned to one of their designated bike parks around the city but Bleeper Bikes can be returned to any cycle parking location.

Public Transport
Getthere.ie is an Irish website that allows you to search all of the timetables of the various public transport services in the country.

Hit the Road is another very useful website that allows you find the best way to get to somewhere using public transport. A little tip for the website is that if you use the url hittheroad.ie/bus/14 you’ll see the route of the no 14 bus, just change the number to see all another bus route.

Google maps can also be very good at giving you the various travel options to destinations.

Car Hire
In the past we’ve only really hired cars on holidays when we didn’t have access to our own cars and public transport wasn’t feasible, but since we’ve become the owners of a 2012 electric car model we’ve become accustomed to hiring cars for long car journeys in Ireland. You can read why in my review of our 2012 Nissan Leaf here.

I’m not going to go through all of the hire companies in Ireland. They’re well-known and all pretty much the same in terms of price and quality, although we’ve found Thrifty.ie the easiest to deal with and the best value time after time. (By the way, I don’t get paid by companies I mention)

Car Sharing Schemes (aka short-term car hire)
In addition to traditional car hire companies we have what are being called ‘car-sharing schemes’. To my mind car sharing is the non-profit sharing of vehicles amongst members of a community but that’s not what pops up when you search the term ‘car sharing in Ireland’.  What does appear are companies offering short-term car-hire schemes and if they reduce the number of new cars bought every year I’m a fan.

Go Car is probably one of the best known ‘car-sharing’ schemes in Ireland and you may have spotted their white cars parked around some cities. With their scheme you pay from €8 per hour and

  • Fuel is covered as part of the car hire charge and each car has a fuel card in it.
  • Insurance is included.
  • Parking  in Dublin City is FREE!
  • You can use your leap card or your phone to unlock the cars so no need for another piece of plastic.
  • You can hire offer cars – fossil fuel and electric – and vans.
  • You can hire cars to take from train stations, helping you use public transport for at least part of your journey.

 

Toyota have recently jumped on the bandwagon with their Yuko scheme.  By hiring one of their Yaris’ for €8 per hour you can avail of;

  • Comprehensive Insurance
  • Free on-street parking in Dublin city
  • 50kms free fuel

 

Lift Sharing / Car Pooling Platforms
When you’re less concerned about driving somewhere than you are about getting there you might consider car pooling or lift sharing. Here are a few websites that facilitate this in Ireland, albeit on a limited basis if my research is accurate.

Getthere.ie, mentioned above, has a life sharing option on it’s website

Carpool.com is a free and open platform where people seeking to share car journeys can connect. Those driving can upload their journey and those seeks to travel can upload a request. The platform charges for each post, unless it’s for a once-off event. Those sharing a journey can make their own arrangements on how to split travel expenses. I spotted two journeys in Ireland, proof of some forward-thinking citizens in this country!

Liftshare is 20 year-old ride sharing platform based in Norwich in the UK and showing lifts in Ireland. Joining the platform is a free and when you’re listing a journey it gives you a suggested contribution per passenger, which you can adjust.

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2 thoughts on “How to Avoid Buying a Car – Updated 15th Feb 2020

  1. Yes – it’s great that cars are becoming less needed these days. I do have one (a 1998 Corolla) and although it’s not as fuel efficient as a hybrid, I figure that hanging on to it (thankfully they last for decades!) and just keeping the mileage as low as possible is better than buying a new car that would entail a carbon cost that wouldn’t pay off (I drive less than 30 miles per week).

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