Anyone making changes with their car?

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Woodman's picture
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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

    

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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 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

 

 

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?
BSV wrote:

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.

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!!!).

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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 

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I absolutely agree with Jarhett and Damnthematrix, presuming your present car is not a lemon.  Don't waste your $$ on a new car.  About 5 years ago, fed up with high fuel and high insurance costs, I just decided to drive a LOT less, and keep my current car well maintained until they come up with a truly radically sustainable car, like Amory Lovins' concept Hypercar.  Until that day, I maintain I will never buy another gas-burning car for as long as I live.  Mine is a '95 pontiac sunrunner, best car I ever had, tough as a rock, 4wd on demand, easy on fuel, low maintenance (less than $2000 in 7 years).

If it should die on me, I will gladly switch to bicycle/public transit/carshare programs.  Cars are largely to blame for the decline of civilization and our current mess.

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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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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Ruhh, I do not mean to pick an argument with you, but I must jump in to comment on that thing you said about deer.  Sorry, I just don't buy that argument- that can easily be remedied by driving a bit slower.  I am no stranger to deer and other wildlife- it just isn't an issue below a certain speed.  Get a small car if you must get one at all, and just drive slower.  And you really don't need to take any more stuff to the cottage, the less you have, the more pure the experience.  Sorry for being so opinionated, but you know I'm right.

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

That's what Ilike about Damnthematrix -- his sense of tact. Damn it, Damnthematrix,  I can afford a new car and I'm going to buy one. It's not like I'm buying an Escalade or Hummer, for pete's sake. I'm planning on buying a $20,000 car, which is some kind of reasonable purchase. As I said, I live out in the country. As it happens, I volunteer for the Red Cross and I need transportation to do my volunteer work. If spare parts become unavailable, that's my problem and not yours. People who do not share your views are not necessarily stupid. It is just possible that they can think and plan for themselves.

If and when TSHTF, there will be lots of volunteer opportunities. Soup kitchens will need to be set up and run. Basic human needs will have to be met. It bothers me that so many survivalists seem to feel they can exist in little enclaves, ignoring the misery around them. I cannot and will not do that. Damn the consequences!

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Boy, you sure got your knickers in a knot......  I was just stating why buying a car was not a good idea, no need to jump down my throat if you want to waste your money...

For us, $20,000 is a lot of money!  You can power your house with solar panels with that!

BTW, we don't live in an enclave, as I have explained several times on this site (I notice you are new, having only posted 5 times)

I suggest you search this site for  a proper explanation of how we live, I sure can't be bothered rewriting it all...

Tactfully yours, 

Mike 

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?
Damnthematrix wrote:

Boy, you sure got your knickers in a knot......  I was just stating why buying a car was not a good idea, no need to jump down my throat if you want to waste your money...

For us, $20,000 is a lot of money!  You can power your house with solar panels with that!

BTW, we don't live in an enclave, as I have explained several times on this site (I notice you are new, having only posted 5 times)

I suggest you search this site for  a proper explanation of how we live, I sure can't be bothered rewriting it all...

Tactfully yours, 

Mike 

G'day, Mike -

Another saying from my past, "Often it's not what you say, it's how you say it."  Wink

Something that is hard to do when writing in these forums. What looks reasonable to you may be interpreted quite differently by someone else. I've had the same problem from time-to-time.

As for me - I always take you with a large grain of salt.  Laughing

BTW, it's been a long time since I've heard "... you sure got your knickers in a knot ...".  Gave me a laugh!

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I hate to admit it, but I am buying a new car right now, albeit for someone else...

I stopped driving over 4 years ago and have two bicycles - a six speed and a Yamaha hybrid-electric for when I go into town for supplies.  I've had the latter for a year now and put 2500 km on the odometer. Living in Japan I do have the advantage of trains and nice express buses for when I need to go further than say 20 km. 

I have not convinced my wife to give up driving - most of which she does commuting to work only 10 km from home.  Her car, a Toyota,  gets about 30 mpg but is now 15 years old with 190k km of low speed driving on it (no "freeway" driving around here, the speed limit is the equivalent of 30 mph with signals every few kilometers), so I am buying her a new car - the last car I will ever buy.  

We have bought a new Honda Insight.  The factories are working reduced shifts, so it won't be ready until some time in April. 

Interstingly, while car sales in Japan have plummeted, Honda sold 5,000 Insights in the first week they made them available.  Car sales in Japan have been declining for a long while, mostly because young people no longer buy into the idea of car ownership as a status symbol and would rather save the money. 

I was hesitant to do this as it takes a lot of energy and resources to build a new car, but my wife's old car is much less safe and already starting to need some expensive repairs, so I'm biting the bullet.  (I also bought her a new Yamaha hybrid bike.)

Sorry Damnthematrix, I agree with you most of the time, however, as Pee Wee Herman said, "Everyone I know has a big BUT!"  And I am no exception.      ;^)     And we're getting solar panels too.

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I have a 16 year old Volkswagen Passat diesel with around 300k miles on the clock. I average 50 mpg Smile

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Speaking of Honda Insight:

 

http://www.insightcentral.net/owners/stories/hypermiler-interview-02-200...

 

350k miles on the clock. And he can get it to 90 mpg. In fact the old Insight can get considerably higher mpg than the new. The new one is getting to big and heavy. The engine is probably a lot more efficient than the old one,but that's of no use if the car is heavier.

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

G'day Sam.....  you've been downunder?

Watch the salt mate, it's bad for your blood pressure!

Mike 

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

To clarify my original post, I have absolutely no intentions of buying a new car.  Already made that mistake once.  If one has the money and you enjoy a new rig then great, but for many americans like me on a tight budget it makes no financial sense to get something more than just gets me safely to work.  The latest technology can be bought used by waiting a bit longer too.  For me I've realized I'm actually less happy in life worrying all the time about keeping a newer vehicle scratch free and clean and putting money into the extra insurance and taxes than I would be putting that money into other things.  Now add in consideration for peak oil and it's clear I need to make a change.   

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?
yoshhash wrote:

Ruhh, I do not mean to pick an argument with you, but I must jump in to comment on that thing you said about deer.  Sorry, I just don't buy that argument- that can easily be remedied by driving a bit slower.  I am no stranger to deer and other wildlife- it just isn't an issue below a certain speed.  Get a small car if you must get one at all, and just drive slower.  And you really don't need to take any more stuff to the cottage, the less you have, the more pure the experience.  Sorry for being so opinionated, but you know I'm right.

I'm not that really worried about deer and wildlife when I'm driving but more worried about them when my father in law or girlfriend will beTongue out. He is a horrible driver and she is still quite inexperienced and under-confident.

I'd much prefer a sub-compact car or even just a motorcycle but I will still need to bring gear and tools to the cottage as we are getting it set up over the next few years. Once we load up with my girlfriend, two dogs and our pet bunny rabbits and myself there's hardly room left for a packet of seeds. We also want to keep our place as open as possible to our friends and family. Many don't have a vehicle and will be hitching with us. We need their labour and they'll eventually need our food or at least the serenity that they can find there.

cheers
ron

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

No more new cars for me. The value of a new car drops significantly the minute you title it into your name and it goes from new to used. I'll buy a year or two old one with low miles. Works for me. But in this economy with them giving them away, who knows.

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I really wish that we had the old Insight back and I wish there was at least a single model of vehicle available that did everything reasonable to be as efficient as possible. A Prius just doesn't seem good enough to me and at best it's just a compromise. I'd like to see vehicle designed for commuting and driver-only trips. I'm willing to bet that well over half of the trips made are with just the driver and little to no cargo. Why don't we have a car that fills this niche?

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Deer Suck, Louis C K, (Language warning)

I hate deer as well, rats with hoofs fits them perfectly, it does not matter how slow you are going they'll run into you if you're stopped.

Greg

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?
yoshhash wrote:

Ruhh, I do not mean to pick an argument with you, but I must jump in to comment on that thing you said about deer.  Sorry, I just don't buy that argument- that can easily be remedied by driving a bit slower.  I am no stranger to deer and other wildlife- it just isn't an issue below a certain speed.  Get a small car if you must get one at all, and just drive slower.  And you really don't need to take any more stuff to the cottage, the less you have, the more pure the experience.  Sorry for being so opinionated, but you know I'm right.

I have to disagree that driving a bit slower will allow you to avoid hitting deer and the like.  I've hit one deer and one moose on the highway, both times going slower than the speed limit and both times having very little time to react.  Going a little slower will improve your chances but it's FAR from a guarantee.

That being said I do think you're right in that a large car/truck isn't necessarily the best answer.  Both of my "wildlife incidents" occured while driving a Hyundai Accent, a pretty small car.  And though there was body damage from both accidents (more from the deer than the moose surprisingly enough), my car didn't have frame or mechanical damage and ran beautifully for many years afterward.  And I've seen similar accidents with deer and moose involving large trucks and cars that had to be totalled. So a lot of it is pure luck (or lack thereof)....

- Nickbert

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

LMAO-- Are deer really that stupid?

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Nevermind the deer, have any of you driven Canadian roads? Yell

It's hard to tell which people are driving drunk and which ones are just avoiding potholes. I should just buy an Argo.

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I'm in the process replacing two vehicles right now so I was glad to see this thread.

Leases are disappearing because in most cases, the car companies have lost a ton of money by leasing.  Both of the vehicles I'm replacing are leased.  In both cases, the residual value estimated by the manufacturer is much higher than the actual resale value.  With a lease, you only finance the amount that you depreciate the vehicle.  So, if you lease a $30,000 car, and they assume it will be worth $20,000 when the lease is up, you only finance $10,000.  If the vehicle turns out to be worth $15,000 instead of the assumed $20,000 - they lose $5,000.     

I was considering buying one of the vehicles as my daughter likes it a lot but unfortunately; they must sell it for the residual value that was used in the lease - which is around $5,000 more than it's worth. So, you turn the vehicle in and they run it through the auction and take a big hit.  Like everywhere else in the credit world, they gambled terribly by giving crazy leases - thinking "prices will keep going up with demand" - the leasing bubble.

GM won't do leases and I think they are gone or rare with all US autos.  Many foreign companies dropped leasing or they adjusted their residuals to eliminate more of the risk - which increases leasing costs.  There are precious few leases that make good sense right now.

The 0% financing looks interesting.  For example, my daughter contributes toward her car and she can't afford a big monthly payment.  We looked at a vehicle with a 5 year loan and 0%.  Your payment goes directly towards the principal - so, you gain equity much quicker.  On this particular vehicle, the resale value has been excellent and I estimate that in just over 2.5 years, we'd hit the break-even point where the amount of money owed on the vehicle would be equal to it's resale value.  From that point forward, you begin to build equity in the vehicle.  I don't mean to imply that a car is a good investment - they aren't, but it's good to get to the point where you owe less than the car is worth as quick as possible. 

The warranties are really good on most new vehicles - free maintenance for 36,000-48,000 miles and very good coverage (that will be the next bubble!).    

The other vehicle I have to replace is mine.  I have a gas hog that I am anxious to get rid.  I'm thinking about buying used and paying cash - without spending more than I have to - but I'd like something fun.  Used car sales went up over 5% last month - and a lot of the prices I'm finding seem high.  Any tips or suggestions?

Larry              

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?
DrKrbyLuv wrote:

The other vehicle I have to replace is mine.  I have a gas hog that I am anxious to get rid.  I'm thinking about buying used and paying cash - without spending more than I have to - but I'd like something fun.  Used car sales went up over 5% last month - and a lot of the prices I'm finding seem high.  Any tips or suggestions?

Definitely go used and definitely go cash if you can afford it. They will probably knock off 5% if you have the cash because they don't want to wait and see if you can get the financing. If you have the time be a vulture and make a trip to the rust belt or anywhere else that's recently been hit hard with unemployment and you'll find fire-sale prices. Best of luck.

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

Hello from Germany, Ruhh,

I don't know, if this car is availabel in the US, but with your description, a Dacia Logan MCV (www.dacia-logan.com) might be an interesting diesel fueled car which is inexpensive (about 8.500 to 10000 Euros), needs very little diesel (4-7 liter per 100 km), and is simple and roomy. No worry, I'm no car dealer, I'm a landscape gardener - and sorry for any mistakes in english language, i'm not used to write in it -:)))

Best Greetings,
Regina 

 

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Re: Anyone making changes with their car?

I think you are right. While I love the idea of hybrid cars, can we be sure that anyone will make the batteries when TSHTF.

Here in the UK, we have very heavily taxed fuel. Petrol (gasoline) costs around 90p a litre, and diesel around £1 a litre. ($4.80 per US Gallon and $5.30 per US Gallon). They were as high as £1.20 and 1.30 per litre in July last year. ($6.36 and $6.89 per US Gallon.)

 This certainly makes you think about your fuel consumption. Here around half of new cars are diesel. (This gets around 25% extra mileage, so more than makes up for the extra cost. My diesel Citroen C5 does 55 miles per imperial gallon in mixed motoring. This is around 46 miles per US gallon. I am very pleased with the Citroen, but I would guess that the lack of tax on US fuel makes the mileage benefits inconsequential. Do any United States contributors have diesel cars?

James

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