Brits and cars

A new article in the Guardian on the British obesity epidemic makes it sound as though the average Brit is becoming just as bad as the average American in terms of driving more and walking never.   The bottom line is pretty obvious:

The researchers found that since the mid-Seventies the proportion of households without a car has halved, from 41 per cent to 19 per cent.

I was a little bit surprised by these numbers, that is actually quite a large growth in the number of cars on the road in a relatively short time.  And I’m guessing that (although it’s not mentioned here) the number of households with more than one car has also increased substantially in that same timeframe.

I like living in the UK precisely because I do like not having to own a car.  Although I  do admit, I loved my last car (2005 Kia Spectra5) a bit irrationally.  It was a 5-speed, which always got a few raised eyebrows in the US (although here in the UK pretty much all the girls can drive a manual so it’s not so special!)  We put on a lotta road trip miles, and I drove it into several of the great cities of the eastern US including Washington DC and one very memorable trip through the Holland Tunnel and into Manhattan with my sister.   But I don’t miss the car payments, the charges at the gas station, the car insurance.  I really really don’t miss worrying about things like oil changes and tire rotations and routine maintenance.  And I will never ever miss dealing with taxes and license plate renewals.

My little urban existance in the UK, based entirely on public transport and mostly on walking with only occasional tube and train trips, is quite the delight. I simply cannot fathom why the Brits are trending towards the Americans on this one!


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