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Opinion

Vehicle ownership requires necessary time, space, money

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March 26, 2008

Living, working and schooling in River Falls is great for me and anyone else that prefers to have all of life’s essentials within walking distance. The necessity of owning a car is minimal when the grocery, school, work, bars, restaurants, hardware stores, coffee shops, bakery and video stores are in close proximity. 

  However, I own a car only for my Twin Cities need, a need to venture out of the small town for the slight cultural enrichment of a Midwestern city.

  If I lived in the Twin Cities there would be no need for a car. If the grocer is too far to walk to, which it most likely wouldn’t be, public transportation is easily accessible and usually affordable.

  As much as I like my car and enjoy driving it long distances, I long for a public bus to hop on to get me to the Twin Cities, or an underground metro system that will get me there in even less time.

  Until then, I own a car. The car is paid for, extremely used with blown speakers, a clunky interior and miscellaneous broken items. I pay the auto insurance once a month. With the most minimal of auto insurance at only liability, I pay approximately $77.

  This may not seem like much, but when I factor in the frequency of use, it down-right pisses me off that I am supposed to pay some random number out of my bank account to a company that doesn’t actually give me anything tangible for only driving it less than once a week.

  I have never been in an accident (as a driver) and consider myself a safe driver. Auto insurance should be optional rather than illegal not to have.

  So after careful considerations through several months, I decided to cancel my auto insurance. Later, my parents will convince me that I should have it again. Within a single year I will change my mind back and forth about auto insurance four to five times.

  Some are lucky enough to own a car and are consequently fortunate enough to have acquired free parking, whether it is a garage, driveway or a parking lot. I, however, chose the location of my apartment over the benefit of a parking space for the rarely used vehicle.

  As I look around my surroundings I see several empty parking spaces in large lots go unused for long periods of time. This not only applies to River Falls, of course. 

  Some institutions find it necessary to call the Auto Satan (the towing company) to come over and steal your car because you needed a place to keep the chunk of metal.

  I understand maintenance costs, but the logic in paving the ground and not utilizing the space properly makes no sense to me.

  Of course, there are other monetary issues involved with owning a car. The cost of fuel, maintenance and parking are just the most basic.

  Teresa is a journalism major and a geography minor. She enjoys kangaroo burgers and creating pretty maps.

Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.