I love cars. As a teenager, I had twin subscriptions to Car & Driver and Road & Track. My chief school-bus skill was the ability to name the make and model of every vehicle that passed. Until recently, I have always owned the best-handling car I could reasonably afford. I especially love high-revving Japanese sports cars like the one I drove from Miami to Washington, D.C. when I moved here in 2003. I remember the trip lasting about six hours, assisted by a tailwind and a top-of-the-line radar detector.
But an interesting thing happened when I arrived in Washington. I found myself driving less and less, and paying more and more per mile. Aside from trips to Home Depot and the occasional country jaunt, I had no reason to break my car out of its garage. Between walking, biking, and our extensive Metro transit system, driving was rarely the most convenient choice. And the parking lot beneath my apartment building charged a small fortune in fees. Add to that the availability of ZipCar car-sharing in my neighborhood, and it soon became apparent that going car-free was the most convenient option.