Friday, October 26, 2012

Falling into a brief car-free experiment

Much of my energy recently has been taken up by juggling my PhD and Noah and Eli. I've had all these ideas that I want to share with you, but I feel like a hypocrite writing until I have magically cracked the code to a burden-less PhD.

There is nothing really helpful to write about the PhD. There's just this:

  1. I know, in a deep and fundamental way, that the PhD doesn't matter a whole lot. It's good training and it's wonderfully flexible.
  2. Despite this, I can't stop feeling that it does matter a whole lot, and trying to get it to go better than it is.
  3. I haven't been able to cool this simmering stress, and trying harder to relax is an oxymoron. So I'm just riding it out and trying to stay rooted in the best way to spend my time hour to hour. Kids have a way of keeping you grounded in the present.
So I'm going to go ahead and write from this space of latent hypocrisy.

On Wednesday we unintentionally fell into a brief car-free experiment, because our car has a broken part and the part will take at least a week to arrive at the garage. All in all, we'll probably be car-less for about 10-11 days. I thought it would be fun to take this as a car-free experiment, and try to be conscious of the triggers that make me/us load up the car-seats and drive. 

No big deal, right? We're hippies!

Well, sort of.

In between getting a car in March and now, we've fallen into using the car almost every day, and it's become a big part of our lives.  

For this post, I'm just going to share our current consumption, and the rest of the week I'll try to explore with you some of the issues involved with living car-free in Cape Town with a baby that's too young to go in a bike seat (not for long!).  

I've been gradually working on stretching our tank of gas/petrol and thus weaning us off the car a little: 

At the moment, we use 30L of petrol every two weeks. This is about 8 gallons. 

1L of petrol costs R11.85, which is about $5.30/gallon. Yes, it's not cheap.

We drive 410km on 30L, which is 13.67km/L. In U.S. terms, this is about 32 miles/gallon on a tank, which is very good, considering we don't drive a hybrid and this is only partly highway driving.

A lot of our driving we frame in terms of sanity- I need to drive somewhere where Noah will be his little awesome self and I won't have to play another one of his strange games while juggling Eli. This week is a chance to reframe. 

How do you balance petrol/gas consumption and sanity? How do you balance fuel efficiency with the cost of a car? 

1 comment:

leah said...

Last year were into this pattern of using the car every day. There are good reasons to do it, the chief among them that babies are crazy-making and it's good to have a mental break. When it seemed like the pattern wasn't serving us anymore it was pretty easy to set up a new pattern and stay home more. What I'm saying is, I wouldn't beat yourself up for reacting reasonably to the stage your at with your kids.... stages change rather quickly.