'I haven't owned a car in six years.' How some metro Detroiters have changed driving habits to cut costs

Changing driving habits
Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 12, 2024

(WXYZ) — Inflation continues to put a financial burden on many American families. The Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows consumer prices rose by another 3.2% in February.

RELATED: Inflation rate ticks up as Fed decides on interest rates

The combined effect of rising gas and housing costs drove the increase.

RELATED: Check fuel insights for Michigan here

Another big reason is the price of transportation, such as car insurance, auto repairs, airfare and bus tickets.

Transportation costs jumped 1.4% in February and are up 10% in the past year — and that's why some metro Detroiters are frustrated with the rising vehicle costs.

"About a quarter of my budget goes to transportation," said Hector Solis, a metro Detroiter.

Solis doesn't own a car. He primarily depends on public transportation, followed by rideshare. Solis says it is better than paying high car insurance rates.

"Do I spend $20 on an Uber or Lyft ride, do I spend $20 on food, do I spend $20 on a bus pass, so you're always having to make such choices," Solis said.

Jeannet Quattrocchi says she is doing her best to deal with high gas prices.

"I don't really have a choice; I have to pay it," said Quattrocchi, a metro Detroiter.

"I don't have any options. I'm just aware of what stations have lower prices and where to get your gas," Quattrocchi said.

Eric Brewer says he has expensive car repair bills he has to deal with.

"We need better city transportation," said Brewer, a metro Detroiter.

Brewer also changed his driving habits.

"Try not to do as much stop-and-go driving; try to make more trips combined," Brewer said.

Meanwhile, Richard Armaly works at the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop and the 38-year-old believes he has found the best alternative.

"I haven't owned a car in six years. I use an E-bike, a regular bike or anything to get around, not a car," said Armaly.

Armaly rides his bike every day from Rochester to Ferndale. And if the weather gets bad, Armaly opts for a rideshare.

"Bikes have no insurance that's needed for them. You don't need a license. They go 25 mph. They are lightweight. Putting them on a bus if it's raining, not a problem. And for safety, wear a helmet," Armaly said.

He said he got rid of his car because it was getting expensive overall — and it turns out, most of his customers are leaving their vehicles for good to kick the pedals.

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