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Going car free in LA




Kissing her wheels goodbye. Sue Carpenter prepares for life without a car for the month of October
Kissing her wheels goodbye. Sue Carpenter prepares for life without a car for the month of October
Sue Carpenter

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Cars are great for going anywhere at any time. But there are down sides: sl0-mo traffic, polluting emissions and money that just ... disappears.

Owning a car is expensive.

"The total cost per year is $8,558," according to Michael Calkins, with the American Automobile Association. "That includes the depreciation … of course fuel expenses, insurance, maintenance, various license, tax and registration fees, finance charges on the assumption that most people do finance their new cars."

All of that works out to about $25 each day just for a typical sedan. It's no wonder a lot of people fantasize about ditching their wheels because of the expense. It just doesn’t seem possible in a city as sprawling as L.A.

Or does it? These days, we have more options for getting around than ever before between trains, buses, ride hailing, car sharing, bike sharing. What if it is possible to stitch together transport from all the available options in a way that’s timely, convenient, affordable and safe?

To find out, KPCC motor critic Sue Carpenter parked her Ford F-150 and vowed to keep the ignition off the entire month of October for a grand experiment in DeCARifaCation.