Going car-free may seem radical in America, considering the prevalence of car-centric culture. However, there is a growing trend of families ditching their cars or significantly reducing their usage.
Younger Americans are increasingly abandoning the automobile in favor of alternate modes of transportation, including e-bikes. Between 1997 and 2020, the percentage of Americans aged 20 to 25 who had driver’s licenses fell from 90 percent to 80 percent. Many European cities are also making progress towards becoming car-free.
For many individuals, going car-free or car-lite is attainable, especially if they replace driving with riding an e-bike. E-bikes offer the same benefits as regular bikes but with easier pedaling. They are a practical option for car-free living, as even people with average fitness can handle daily e-bike rides.
E-bikes also allow for the transportation of kids and cargo without causing fatigue. This makes them suitable for the whole family, especially when opting for a high-quality e-bike with a large cargo capacity.
Switching from a car to an e-bike provides significant advantages. Here are the top five reasons why e-bikes are better than cars.
1) Cost Savings
Selling your car and using an e-bike is an effective way to save money on transportation expenses. Owning a 10-year-old car in the US costs an average of $5,914 annually, including fuel, finance charges, depreciation, insurance, maintenance, license and registration, and taxes. This estimate doesn’t even consider parking fees, parking tickets, and the time spent searching for parking.
By e-biking instead of driving, even for just a 10-mile trip, individuals can save approximately $2.30. Commuting to and from work by e-bike alone could save over $500 per year, and there may be additional savings in reduced car insurance premiums due to decreased mileage.
2) Improved Physical Health
E-biking serves as a form of exercise. E-bikers burn roughly the same number of calories as brisk walkers, and they are likely to burn even more calories when carrying kids and cargo. E-bike riders tend to cover longer distances and ride more frequently than traditional cyclists, thereby boosting their overall health.
E-biking is also a far healthier alternative to driving. According to a study published in The Lancet in 2020, individuals who cycled to work experienced a 24% lower likelihood of cardiovascular disease compared to those who commuted by car.
3) Enhanced Mental Health
E-biking positively affects mental well-being by stimulating the production of endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals while reducing stress levels. Driving, on the other hand, tends to induce stress, with factors like traffic congestion and parking difficulties leading to increased blood pressure.
E-biking, like other forms of exercise, also improves cognitive function, benefiting mental clarity. Research has shown comparable cognitive benefits between e-biking and traditional cycling, which is particularly advantageous for older adults who may face cognitive decline and find regular biking more challenging.
4) Environmental Protection
Driving cars is a significant contributor to pollution, leading to climate change, acid rain, and respiratory issues like asthma. The costs associated with the health and climate impacts of car pollution have been estimated at $18.42 per gallon in the US.
Choosing a car-free or car-lite lifestyle is a highly impactful way to live more sustainably, and e-bikes offer a zero-emissions alternative to driving.
5) Increased Quality Time with Family and Friends
While not immediately apparent, families who have adopted a car-free or car-lite lifestyle and own e-bikes consistently report this benefit. Commuting with kids in a car often creates a sense of distance and isolation due to the high speed and limited interaction with the surroundings. However, using an e-bike transforms the experience.
Commuting on an e-bike allows for engagement with each other and the environment. Guelph, Canada father Cameron Ogilvie reported a significant boost in his happiness after his family replaced its car with an e-bike. One of the primary reasons for Ogilvie’s happiness was the quality time that Ogilvie spent interacting with neighbors that he had previously not known.