Baby You Can Drive My Car

In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, I’m a pretty big Beatles fan. (Monkees, too…lots of old school music, in general.) So, I just HAD to use that title.
Photo by Paul Martin Eldridge/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Anyhoo, we’ve had some car headaches around the McCoy Dellecese household these past…well…actually since before McCoy met Dellecese. Mr. D. has a Saturn Ion, which he bought new in or around 2007. He’s had little strange issues with it from time to time, from his headlights turning on on their own to the security alarm awakening everyone in the neighborhood at 2am for no reason. Lately, it’s been issues with, well, the entire electrical system to the point where it cannot be turned on. It’s crazy, and it’s all caused by moisture.

When it rains, does my car not work? When snow melts, does my car’s lights decide to turn on? When we get sudden humidity, does my car stubbornly do its own thing rather than what I tell it to? No, my car’s a good boy. Dave’s…isn’t.

Currently, we’re battling, along with his very kind parents, with both GM (who is not handling all issues with Saturn vehicles…in case you didn’t remember that Saturn went under) and the certified Saturn mechanics. At first it seemed that we’d be getting more help than expected from GM — but now that it’s said to be water issues, there’s “nothing they can do”, and the mechanics are avoiding the GM rep, anyway. So, if we must, it will be on to inciting our state’s Lemon Law. *sigh* I just feel so badly for Dave…and his obnoxious car.

So, since I can’t really DO anything other than provide as much moral support and an ear to vent to, I busy myself by researching a new car. Well, “new car” is pushing it a bit.

We’ve discussed that, when the time would come, we’d like to have an eco-friendly vehicle. While the time may be approaching, we’re not in the financial state to purchase the latest snazzy hybrid or zippy electric model. But does this mean that the choice can’t still be friendly for the environment and helpful as the gas prices steadily rise? Of course not!

I found this article, Go Green – Buy a Used Car. It’s Better Than a Hybrid, which reminded me that not only do we need to buy a fresh, “lots-of-research-and-technology-made-this-possible…and-expeeeeensive” car (or furniture…or clothes…or decorative items). How I’m trying to keep an eye out at Goodwill when I get the shopping urge. Reusing is just as eco-friendly since it means that items don’t go to waste (literally) filling landfills. Anytime you can save something from the junk and not contribute to the “mine’s shinier than yours” mentality, hooray!

Not that we’re going to be getting a 1968 jalopy. Naw. We’re thinking we’d like to procreate, so for safety’s sake, that wouldn’t cut it. Something used from after the start of the “New Millennium” would be nice, and lots of research is going into the rest of the decision — something with good (or even excellent?! Is there such a thing?) gas mileage, and that’s safe and reliable. Simple. Or so it seems. I’ll share the final decisions, when all this stuff eventually dies down and gets worked out.

If you have any suggestions on more eco-friendly used vehicles and luck that you might have had, please feel free to share!

Can You Quit Your Car?

Meep. Meep.

I recently read a blog post by a friend over at EcoBuffalo. They were checking in with their reading audience (of which I’m a part!) about their 3 months of living car-free. I am so genuinely happy for them that they’re able to live life without the added cost of owning and using a vehicle, without contributing to the fossil fuel crisis, and while truly experiencing their surroundings by walking, biking, and utilizing public transportation. It’s frickin’ awesome!

I haven’t made it a secret that I’m not very pleased with the purchase of my current vehicle, a 2009 Kia Sportage. There are a number of reasons for this, from gas usage (and cost) to the price of owning a new car (which lost value immediately upon buying the thing) to the fact that the thing has a pretty big eco-footprint. *sigh*

But, at the same time, there’s a reason I bought it. I had just gone through two hellish winters working at an uber-rural school, losing control of my old lil’ Sentra at LEAST once a week, and several times ending up in ditches. I wanted 4-wheel drive. I’d done a lot of research, and my sister and mother both own Kias — which they love. Also, admittedly, I wasn’t in a very green state of mind at the time of purchase. So, call it a regret, but it is what it is.

Reading Dana and Jon’s new-found joys of life without a car, it makes me think about whether it’s something that we could do. Unfortunately, I jump to the quick conclusion that it just isn’t feasible with our current living situation and jobs. *double sigh*

We’ve got 2 cars, the Kia and Dave’s Saturn Ion. It’d be pretty much impossible for Dave to carpool into work; there really isn’t anyone with a similar schedule close enough to where we live (most of ’em are in the Utica area, or boonies). My little issue with carpooling is the general fact that I don’t stay late at work, so I’d probably be waiting around for folks to be ready to pile in. I probably could figure something out, but it’d also mean that I’d still have my car — one week would be mine, another week Mr. X, another week Miss X. *shrugs* Wouldn’t solve the problem of being able to get rid of one of our cars, really.

Some day, when circumstances are a little different (ie one of us working from home — won’t give any further indication of whom or how, just that it’s in the works ;-D), I think that we will be able to live off of one car.

That being said, I’ve got a couple of “dream car” ideas that I’ll just indulge myself in. Obviously, we’re going to drive these cars into the ground as best we can — but, if I’m able to eventually trade mine in, I’d rather not take it quite THAT far. I’d love to have a hybrid vehicle, but given that technology will undoubtedly be different by the time that I’ll be shopping, I’ll be doing more research before making such a decision. Otherwise, I’ve always wanted a VW SportWagen or Jetta, or perhaps a Subaru wagon. I like being able to fit antiques, tons of gardening dirt, or simply pack for a family vacation, so a wagon seems sensible. I highly doubt that I’ll own another SUV, though. Sportage is supposed to be a smaller SUV, but when I got it home it was about the same size as my mother’s Sorrento — man, was I disappointed.

So, what about you? Would you be able to quit YOUR car? I wish I was in a situation that a car would be less needed, but, unfortunately, there are simply too many excuses to keep mine.