How To

Do You Really Need a Car In America?

(video: WalletPop.com)

The vast majority of people in this country would answer “Yes” with nary a thought. After all, this is America: land of the freeways and home of the SUVs. Without a car, whatever would you do? How do you get from point A to point B, with distances so large and public transportation so scarce in most parts of the country, urban or suburban?

There are, of course, places like New York City, where having a car is more of a hassle than not having one. Parking is expensive and often hard to find, traffic is a nightmare and the subway would take you pretty much within a several-block radius of anywhere you need to go.

Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Seattle all have sufficiently good public transportation or walkability to allow residents and tourists to get around car-less perfectly fine. (In fact, a good percentage of people who live in these cities walk or take public transportation to work, according to this widely-circulated graphic.)

But those places are the exception, you’d say. There’s no way you’d be able to survive visiting or living in California, for example, without the good old wheels.

Think again. As WalletPop.com‘s Jason Cochran shows you in the video above, you could not only get around a place like Los Angeles using only public transportation and your own two feet, you could actually enjoy it a lot more — and with gas prices now at $3.15 per gallon or higher, save quite a few bucks, to boot.

So the next time you head to work or vacation, don’t automatically grab your car keys or book a car rental. Consider the alternative: could you walk? Bike? Take the bus?

If you’re planning a vacation in an area you don’t know well, check it out on WalkScore.com. The site gives both New York City and Los Angeles a “walker’s paradise” rating, with scores of 98 out of 100.

For specific advice on how to see Los Angeles on foot, watch the video above, or here on WalletPop.com.