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Anyone making changes with their car?

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  • Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - 10:14pm

    #1

    Tom Page

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    Anyone making changes with their car?

Just before finding about peak oil, the Crash Course, and the stupidity of using credit to buy a depreciating asset I got a new midsized truck last year.  I paid it off to sell it, but delayed due to the credit crunch going mainstream in Sept and gas prices plummeting.  But I expect sooner or later gas prices will go back up, plus taxes may too.  Going to a small used car works out cheaper on paper, even with first year depreciation etc. already sunk, due to savings on gas, insurance, excise tax, and depreciation and will still serve 95% of my needs and give me some extra cash. There are super deals out there now on cars from dealers hungary for sales.

So what’s stopping me from trusting myself and making the move?  I’m afraid of having to sell the truck for much less than it’s worth now, if I can find a buyer at all, and giving up on that invested value – kind of like an investor not wanting to sell a lousy stock perhaps.  Plus not wanting to live without a truck for the first time in 20 years.

I have several bikes and pairs of sneakers and excellent health, so that’s my backup transportation.

Anybody else looking to make changes with their car?

 Tom

    

  • Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - 11:06pm

    #2
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

My wife and I have 3 cars.  

She drives a Subaru Impreza — we’re coming up on our last loan payment.  It’s got 135K mi on it but we’ve agreed we won’t replace her car until sometime in ’10 (figure we can squeeze another 50K mi out of it).

My car is a Dodge Dakota (6 cyl).  Only does 20 mpg, which for a truck ain’t bad but still…  I only drive it about 50-75 miles a week because… still have 2 years outstanding on this loan.

…we also own a Toyota Yaris, which we bought last year juuust before gas went bezerk (early March).  W/incentives, etc. we got it for less than US$10k and it gets about 40 mpg (when brand new it was doing about 45 mpg!).  Yes, it’s a tin can but it’s a damn economic tin can.  I drive a lot for work and do 99% of it in this car.  I only have to drive the truck for work when it’s snowy out (10 days a year, give or take).  But the Yaris saved us at least two thousand bucks on gas last year.  This is my best example of "trusting myself" — I just had a feeling, and although my wife couldn’t believe I wanted to buy a third car, she came around ‘right quick once gas hit US$4/gallon.

When the Impreza’s paid off, we’ll figure out whether we’ll double up payments on the Yaris or Dakota.  After winter’s truly over we’ll probably be looking to sell the truck (much as that’ll break my heart).  And find another snow-worthy vehicle (no doubt used) before next winter.  I hope I could break even on the Dakota, but we’ll see.  Even if it’d cost us a little we’d prolly do well to sell it before the economy picks up and we get the next round of gas-price shocks…(when demand for trucks will plummet).

I also own a 17+-year-old Honda Nighthawk.  Just a few more payments on the 18-year loan and it’s all mine.  I’ll be riding it as much as I can once the weather warms up…  That’s up around 60 mpg.  

Vroom!  Sager 

  • Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - 11:06pm

    #3
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I was, of course, totally kidding about owing a "few more payments" on the Honda.  Heh.  Zing!

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 12:27am

    #4
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Your better off just keeping your truck.  I would not buy any new car for at east 5 years because all the technology is changing.  I would hate to buy a new car or truck right now to find out that is obsolete in the near future.  The way things are going I expect bio diesel to bridge the gap until fuel-cell and electric cars become cheaper.  A diesel Volkswagen gets better fuel mileage than a prius and emits less green house gasses.  All major car manufacturers are trying to import their diesel models from Europe to the U.S. because they get way better mileage.  Diesel fuel is more potent than unleaded, and therefore your car or truck needs less of it to perform.  Also technology has come so far in diesel vehicles that they actually pollute less than regular cars.  Ford and GM are planning new small diesel engines to put in thier small trucks and SUVs.  I see a diesel electric hybrid as the most efficient vehicle in the near future.

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 01:23am

    #5
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

We’re currently wrestling with this lately as well.

My girlfriend and I either bus or bike to work everyday and we share a 96 Intrepid with her Father who lives in the same building. The car is on it’s last wheel at 216K(km) and we have until mid-April to either buy a new one or fix a multitude of problems just to get it to pass an emissions test.

I’ve always been torn when it comes to replacing older vehicles or appliances with newer and energy efficient ones. I have a hard time justifying that throwing you hunk of metal to the scrapyard and getting a new one as being more efficient in the long run once you consider the resources it takes to produce and deliver that new one.

Either way we DO need a new vehicle that reliable as we’re buying an off-grid cottage about 1 1/2 hours away and converting that into the sustainable home and permaculture farm of our future.

We want something efficient but can’t help but need something that’s roomy enough to haul the things we need (including friends) up there not to mention something that will hold up against a deer (we saw over 20 on the way up last weekend). Her father is also a very large man who likes his big American cars.

We’re thinking of a mini-van (Mazda MVP), cross-over (Honda CRV or Toyota Rav4), Jeep or just getting another big stinky cheap bastard like we have now to save on cost. We’ve just got to decide how much debt we can afford to get into.

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 02:05am

    #6
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

The Kia dealership, in the next city SE of us (5 miles), is having a B1G1 Free Sale; Buy a 2009 and get a 2007 free. Hmmm…

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 03:30am

    #7
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Having done a considerable amount of research on this, I’m planning to buy a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid next month, when this new model is scheduled to arrive on dealer showroom floors. My wife and I need to replace our current auto. The new Honda Insight is a five passenger sedan. It’s nothing fancy, but with careful, attentive driving, it should consistently get 50 mpg. Honda is providing a dashboard display that helps the driver maximize fuel economy. EPA mileage is 40 city and 43 highway, but a careful driver should be able to do considerably better.

The new Insight is not as technologically advanced as the Toyota Pruis, but it is simpler than the Toyota system, which is highly complex. The base Insight model will probably be priced around $20,000, which under prices the Prius base model by several thousand dollars. Within a reasonable time we can probably expect diesel hybrids to appear on the market, offering the prospect of 60-65 mpg fuel economy. At some point we may see plug in diesel hybrids offering real world mileage of well over 100 mpg fuel mileage equivalent for those who drive less than 40 – 50 miles a day on average. If I could wait for one of those, I would do so. Meanwhile, I believe the 2010 Insight is a good interim solution.

It happens that I live on a ranch, which means I must have a pickup truck. Mine is a Ford F-150, which gets 18-20 mpg. In an oil price spike (which is likely when a world wide economic recovery begins) it will become costly to drive a pickup. I figure I will park it and use it only when really necessary. Longer term, I’m exploring wood gasification technology. It’s possible to power a motor vehicle with wood. The technology exists and it is relatively simple. Furthermore, it is quite feasible to power a generator with wood. A wood gasification setup can run an internal combustion engine, which can power a generator set. Alternatively, a microturbine can be run on wood gas. So, if you have access to a plentiful supply of wood, you can figure out how to become relatively independent of the power grid.

 

 

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 03:50am

    #8
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

[quote=BSV]

Having done a considerable amount of research on this, I’m planning to buy a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid next month, when this new model is scheduled to arrive on dealer showroom floors. My wife and I need to replace our current auto. The new Honda Insight is a five passenger sedan. It’s nothing fancy, but with careful, attentive driving, it should consistently get 50 mpg. Honda is providing a dashboard display that helps the driver maximize fuel economy. EPA mileage is 40 city and 43 highway, but a careful driver should be able to do considerably better.

The new Insight is not as technologically advanced as the Toyota Pruis, but it is simpler than the Toyota system, which is highly complex. The base Insight model will probably be priced around $20,000, which under prices the Prius base model by several thousand dollars. Within a reasonable time we can probably expect diesel hybrids to appear on the market, offering the prospect of 60-65 mpg fuel economy. At some point we may see plug in diesel hybrids offering real world mileage of well over 100 mpg fuel mileage equivalent for those who drive less than 40 – 50 miles a day on average. If I could wait for one of those, I would do so. Meanwhile, I believe the 2010 Insight is a good interim solution.

It happens that I live on a ranch, which means I must have a pickup truck. Mine is a Ford F-150, which gets 18-20 mpg. In an oil price spike (which is likely when a world wide economic recovery begins) it will become costly to drive a pickup. I figure I will park it and use it only when really necessary. Longer term, I’m exploring wood gasification technology. It’s possible to power a motor vehicle with wood. The technology exists and it is relatively simple. Furthermore, it is quite feasible to power a generator with wood. A wood gasification setup can run an internal combustion engine, which can power a generator set. Alternatively, a microturbine can be run on wood gas. So, if you have access to a plentiful supply of wood, you can figure out how to become relatively independent of the power grid.

[/quote]

A Honda?  You must be anti-American!!  Laughing

I want the same car but we’re going ‘used’ for our second car (I WANT MY INSIGHT!!!).

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 04:14am

    #9
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I got rid of my car 18 months ago.  My new lifestyle means I don’t have to go anywhere.  Come three o’clock, when it starts cooling down, I’m off on the carbon racer to deliver 500 newsletters!  (not all today!)

My DH drives a 20 year old Ford Laser (actually a rebadged Mazda 323) which has 371,000 km on the clock (~ 230,000 miles).  We hardly ever go over 50 MPH in it (makes it last even longer!) and as a result we regularly get 40MPG.  Last winter we went on a driving holiday to the tropics (our last hurrah) and actually managed 52MPG over the distance between Rockhampton and Townsville (it was 880 km, or about 550 miles).  When I filled up, the 55L tank (14.5 gallons) had about 1.8 gallons left in it!

Who needs a hybrid?

Frankly, buying a car right now is about as stupid a thing as you can do.  Gas is likely to BOTH go up and get rare very soon, maybe even this year.  If the economy totally tanks after the big three go belly up, not only will there be no money to pump oil, but you might not even be able to buy the parts to maintain your car.  At least there should be parts for older cars for a while yet.  Keeping an older car, and keeping it going longer not only makes more financial sense (just on depreciation alone), it’s also more sustainable to boot.

My two cents worth…

Mike 

  • Wed, Mar 04, 2009 - 04:26am

    #11
    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

We’ve had two Hondas.  Best cars in the world.  So reliable.  But be careful, all the Japanese car makers are in deep doodoos, invluding Honda.  What will you do about parts when THEY go belly up?

Mike 

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