People Who Ditched Their Car Are Happier

small car

There’s are individuals who advocate against making our cities better places to live because they fear losing their dependence on their automobile (car marketers encourage this too). We need to let car-brained individuals know that their lives will be better if they have more transportation options and that they will be happier too. People who got rid of their car for non-monetary reasons increased their happiness!

to reduce energy and resource consumption beyond technological modifications. One way to do this is to forgo ownership of certain consumer goods, such as cars. Although proponents of sufficiency claim that car shedding (i.e., giving away a vehicle so that the household no longer has its own car) might increase subjective well-being (SWB), there is little empirical evidence supporting this. This paper aims to help fill this gap by adding empirical evidence on the relationship between car shedding and SWB. Data from the Swiss Household Panel is used (2006–2017) with a fixed-effects model assessing the year-to-year changes in evaluative and affective well-being (life satisfaction, leisure satisfaction, joy, and anger) before and after car shedding. Separate analyses for non-affordability-driven and affordability-driven car shedders were conducted. Results show that non-affordability-driven car shedding has a positive effect on feelings of joy one to three years after the event. Affordability-driven car shedding, in contrast, is associated with a decrease in leisure satisfaction and feelings of joy up to three years later. Levels of positive affective wellbeing already decrease in anticipation of affordability-driven car shedding. A sufficiency measure like non-affordability-driven car shedding is not associated with reducing SWB, and this may have policy implications.

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