My wife’s cousin moved to Shenzhen China about three years ago. There, like many big cities, there is no need to drive. Walking combined with public transportation is really the only way to go. He explained to me that people do have cars, but pretty much only the very wealthy partake due to prohibitive costs.
The cars themselves cost more due to import and other taxes, as well as just the simple fact that they are at a premium. He said that Tesla advertises that unlike other manufacturers, they are selling their cars there for the minimum amount allowed by law, and yet they are still way more expensive than here in the states. Then there’s the cost of parking. Also, if you’d like to register the car in the city....not so fast. There’s only so many registrations allowed. Half of those are dolled out in a lottery fashion, and the other half go to the highest bidder. So good luck with that.
As a consequence of this, he hasn’t driven in three years. Now he’s back home visiting, and borrowing my car to get around. Making certain to get his license renewed while here before it expires is a priority for this visit. But you wouldn’t believe how nervous he was about driving again. He took the car out by himself for a spin around the block to see if he even still knew how. I thought he was being silly, but then he asked me, “Honestly, what’s the longest you’ve ever gone without driving?”
Great question. I have to think that since I’ve had my license, probably not more than one day has passed that I haven’t gone for a drive. Maybe a long lazy weekend combined with riding with the wife has gotten me through two days at some point, but honestly I’m not sure. Three years without driving? That would be really strange. Plus, car ownership is such a part of my identity that I think even taking away the need wouldn’t cure the desire. I just gotta have a car or I feel deprived of a certain freedom. It makes me feel almost claustrophobic to think of it.
Man am I glad I live in the land of open highways, large parking lots, cheap fuel, low interest rates, and extended financing options.