Practical and affordable alternative transportation

Getting Around Town in a Golf Cart

by Debra Karplus

American City and County in a May 2013 report discusses some of the benefits of using a golf cart that include the savings in transportation cost and reduction in pollution. They mention that this can be an especially attractive option to young families, to senior citizens, and to other populations of drivers as well. Cheaper than a car and possibly more versatile than a bicycle or motorcycle, using a golf cart for errands may be just the solution for you and your family for tooling around town on short jaunts to the grocery, bank, library, school, or even to work.

Before you proceed, you should know the law. Using a golf cart, also known as a low-speed vehicle or LSV, was made legal in Illinois a few years ago and some other states after 2009. City governments ultimately legislate and enforce the law on this so be sure to know what's legal in terms of what you can drive and where you can drive it. The Pantagraph out of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in 2015 stated that most of the cities around Central Illinois that allow golf carts on city streets typically have a population less than 10,000, but some of the larger cities are coming on board with golf carts for transportation because of the many benefits.

Getting Around Town in a Golf Cart

What golf cart should you buy?

Not unlike buying a car, there are numerous options when it comes to purchasing a golf cart or golf car, as many call it. Start your search online to see some of the many options. You can actually buy them online at places like, or you can go to a retailer that specifically sells golf carts, located in a municipality where the carts are legal on city streets. Price varies based on size, how many seats, and what accessories and extra options you select.

Golf carts are gas, electric, or hybrid. Gas operated golf carts require routine maintenance just like a car and can travel at speeds up to about 25 miles per hour. Electric carts are about 10 to 12 horsepower and are very quiet, less polluting, and are great for short trips, as long as you keep the battery well-maintained and fully charged. Electric carts require very minimal maintenance otherwise. Expect to ride as fast as about 20 miles per hour. A well-cared-for battery can last about five to six years. Whichever type you buy, be sure that the tires are suitable for the street, not just a grassy area like carts used only for golf courses.

You'll need to decide if you want a new cart or pre-owned. If you buy used or refurbished, try to learn why the cart is being sold and see if you can discover if anything major might be wrong with it. A used cart can sell for as little as $2000. Carts can hold about 1500 pounds and seat two, three, or four people. Like your car, you can purchase all sorts of special features and accessories, such as a sound system or fancy tires. Don't be surprised at the sticker price of about $13,500 for a golf cart that is "loaded." Although a gas cart uses relatively little gas mainly because you use it at low speeds and for few miles, there is the added expense of gasoline over time.

There may be other nominal expenses involved in owning a golf cart for transportation.

When considering the purchase of a golf cart for transportation, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to find out if it needs to be registered the way a car or motorcycle needs to be or just ask the dealer at the place you might be buying the cart.

Do not forget insurance. Your auto insurance may cover the golf cart or possibly it is insured via your homeowner's or umbrella policy. In any case, contact your insurance agent before buying anything and get some solid information about insuring your new or used golf cart.

A golf cart or golf car when driven safely at an appropriate speed on less-travelled streets is a great way to transport yourself and your family around town in a very affordable and less polluting way than a car or motorcycle. Also, it will hold more people and cargo than a bicycle. Consider purchasing a golf cart.

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Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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