In Harmony: Car-Free Yin and Car-Lover Yang

February 14, 2013

One of the chief skills required of a marketing writer is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, no matter how different their lives may be from yours. Through the various brands I’ve worked on in my career, I’ve worn many styles of metaphorical footwear – everything from upscale toy shopper to paranoid schizophrenic.
As a writer for – and firm believer in – Arlington’s Car-Free Diet, it may seem a bit scandalous to admit that I’m also a car enthusiast. You’d be right to wonder how one could reconcile these two seemingly opposing interests. After attending the Washington Auto Show this weekend, I realized this would be a perfect time to share a few ways Car-Free Diet enthusiasts and car lovers can not only play nicely together, but can even be one and the same.
1.  Recognize common goals
Cleaner air and lower fuel consumption are two major motivators for people to go on the Car-Free Diet. As it so happens, they’re also two of the biggest drivers of innovation in the auto industry today. The Auto Show featured a new generation of more efficient vehicles, where engine and fuel are just the beginning. In addition to hybrids and alternative fuels, automakers are developing other ways to improve efficiency. One example is Mazda’s SkyACTIV suite, which takes a more holistic view, enhancing every part of the car to increase mpg. Your father’s Oldsmobile, these are not.
2. Share the ride
Even if you love to drive, there’s a good chance you have friends who aren’t so keen on it. Why not start a carpool? They chip in for gas and parking, and you get to stay behind the wheel, while cutting CO2 emissions, gas consumption. And just think – that’s two or three unenthusiastic drivers and their cars you’re taking off the road.
3. Remember it’s not all-or-nothing
“Every trip counts” is a mantra we use for the Car-Free Diet. That means even if you take just one trip a week somewhere without driving, you’re on the Diet. Sure, cars are fun. And some are jaw-slackeningly gorgeous. But on the Diet, you’ll find other ways to get around that can be just as much fun, and save a lot of wear and tear on your car. So even if it’s just once a week, you hop on the Metro instead of the Beltway to get to work, or take the bus into Clarendon on a Saturday night, you’re still making a difference. And your driving half and car-free half can peacefully co-exist.

Aaron Spratt, Pulsar Advertising


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May is National Bike Month. Bicycling five miles takes 30 minutes or less, and 60% of all trips are less than five miles.

League of American Cyclists

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