The NY Times is finally understanding the concept of high mileage in a consumer car. When the recession hit in 2009 the Times ran a few articles documenting how consumers were coping with their economic struggles by keeping their cars longer. Pity the poor family who needed to keep their 8 year old V70 instead of trading it in for a new car. Have mercy on the woman who is roughing it in her BMW with over 25k miles and going out of warranty.
Today the Times documents the trend of drivers keeping their cars past the 100k mile mark. The article feature photos of a clean and mean 1990 Volvo 745 with over 300k. Citing technological changes in piston rings, catalytic converters and rust proofing, engineers explain how recent cars can be expected to last much longer than vehicles from previous generations. And if you take proper care of it your car may even outlast you.
Other People's Bricks
Can we assume the pink flames on the back of this brick demonstrate that it runs as slow in forward as it does in reverse? Or that it has a bad backfire problem?
via That Crafty Bitch
Last August Wired’s Autopia blog rated the red-block Volvos as the winner in the Beater class for its “5 Best Bang for Your Buck” cars.
(People) will assume that you could be driving a better car, but that you just have better things on which to spend your money.
Unfortunately it placed 5th in on-line voting.
On a related front, Get Rich Slowly makes some good points in “Why I Drive a 13 Year Old Car“. The author calculates how much he saves over buying a new car, based on the annual cost of repairs on a 1995 Geo Metro (My buddy Chuck would argue those repair costs would be zero if he owned a Honda Accord). It drives home the point about breaking free from the new car fetish so many Americans have and embracing the idea that cars can be repaired instead of scrapped.
I owe my Brick ownership partially to Dave Ramsey’s “Drive Free, Live Rich“, and partially to a low bonus payment from MTV back in 2006. I didn’t have a car for 10 years, so I didn’t have a car payment for 10 years. Seeing as I’m now unemployed, but have a car with no car payment, I think I made the right choice. But PDXgirl comments on Get Rich Slowly that she doesn’t know if she’d be driving her 1982 Volvo tank if she had kids, or had to make long trips. I’ll try to answer that in eleven years.
Congress’s stimulus package included a proposal to pay drivers to junk their old cars in return for cash to buy a new car. Luckily, it just died this week.
The “Cash for Clunkers” program would have given up to $10,000 to people of cars older than 10 years as long as they used it to buy a new American car. The idea was that it would pull allegedly polluting deathtraps off the road and jump start Detroit. But it was such a dumb, misguided idea that we can rejoice in its defeat.
I’d been putting together some links to make a mega-post about the subject, but it’s moot now. So here’s a link dump.
• Freakonomics points out what should be obvious; people who drive older cars aren’t the kind of people who are in the market for a new car. They buy used!
• The Truth About Cars takes a look at the potential for fraud. If you were in the market for a new car, wouldn’t you try to find the cheapest POS on CraigsList and get it to limp into the federal garage for your incentive check?
• SEMA opposed the program because it would do more harm than good. How many crap cars are really out there anyway, and do we really need to scrap them when they could have perfectly good parts that could be picked and pulled?
• Hot Rod Magazine follows a similar logic and opposes the scrapping of cars that could be candidates for restoration and repair.
• Wired points out that if you want to do something about global warming, buy a used car. “…it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt — one you won’t pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.”
Here’s hoping “Cash for Clunkers” doesn’t raise its ugly head again in the near future.