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Before you ditch your ride ...

  • Alexandra Hill, 22, of Andersonville
Alexandra Hill, 22, of Andersonville (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
July 31, 2012|By Leonor Vivanco, RedEye

Chicago is an easy place to go car-free, said Jason Rothstein, author of "Carless in Chicago." Before ditching the car, Rothstein, 40, of West Town, who has been car-free since 2006, gives a rundown of five things to consider.

>>Take a trial run ahead of time. Leave the car parked for a few days or weeks and try to go through your regular routine without it. It could be cheap if you bike or take public transportation or pricier if you sign up for a car-sharing service.

>>Consider whether it will be burdensome for you and other people involved, particularly for trips you take on a regular basis but not every day. For example, will someone have to pick you up from a train station when you visit your parents in the suburbs?

>>Run the numbers to find out what owning a car costs and what the savings would be if you didn't have a car. Take into account gas, depreciation, insurance, licensing and registration, tire replacement, maintenance and repairs. AAA provides a formula to calculate it: bit.ly/K94Px9.

>>Decide whether it's realistic to be without a car. Ask yourself if you have mobility issues or feel comfortable taking a different mode of transportation.

>>Remember, it's not a permanent decision. If it doesn't work, you can get a car or at least access to one through a car-sharing program.

BY THE NUMBERS

2.9 million

Number of Illinois licensed drivers under 35 years old

9.8 million

Number of registered vehicles in Illinois

24 percent

Increase in bike trips for 16- to 34-year-olds from 2001 to 2009

16 percent

Rise in frequency of walking to destinations by 16- to 34-year-olds from 2001 to 2009

40 percent

Increase in number of passenger-miles traveled on public transit by 16- to 34-year-olds from 2001 to 2009

$4.5 billion

Amount of auto-related taxes and fees generated to Illinois

Sources: Illinois Secretary of State, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, Auto Alliance

lvivanco@tribune.com | @lvivanco

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