Friday, May 16, 2008

Vehicle Downsizing, or Having a Fit

Bell's Auto in Varna informs me that the Subaru I've owned since November of 2005 needs a new engine. It's a nine-year-old car with 123K miles on it, but still. I downsized to that from my Pathfinder, as Paul has downsized in recent years from a Bronco to a Subaru and now to a Hyundai. (Full disclosure: We have upsized in trucks, however, and we still have a tractor that uses diesel fuel.)

So I looked into Honda Fits (40 mpg), but none will be available in this area before July. The question now becomes, do I spring for the new engine and get another year or more out of the Subaru before selling it (it is perfectly fine other than the putt-putt and gray smoke thing), do I buy a cheap car that will get me through two years and then buy a new car, or do I get something reasonable now and give up the Subaru, which is worthless at this point?

I really hate not having a car. I did figure out that I could save close to $1000/year in gas if I had a car that got 40 mpg. That makes it worth having to climb up the driveway on certain winter days--I'd have to give up AWD to get that kind of mileage. These are the issues we juggle in spring of 2008.


Mary Ann said...

I vote for the new car. I usually advise against borrowing money, but in this case, your gas savings will offset finance charges and make a peak oil statment at the same time. Perhaps your consumer choice will add to the feeble voices reaching Detroit, "We NEED better gas mileage!"

Anonymous said...

This is something we're all trying to figure out. If you want the smallest carbon footprint (and the least cost) get a used low MPG car (Civic, Corolla, Jetta) as the manufacturing of a new car has a big impact.

KAZ said...

It's interesting--I'm limited by where I live. I am leaning toward a cheap, high MPG, new car, which looks to be about the same or a little more than a cheap, high MPG used car, at least in terms of what's available within 25 miles. All the Fits and Yarises that I would consider are unavailable here. If I have to drive 50 miles for something, that, too, impacts the carbon footprint. But I'm doing a lot of research. Can't say I'm enjoying it much. But I'm happy to see that there are a couple of little American-made cars that are up there with the Hyundais and Kias. I'm leaning toward a Hyundai Accent, downsizing again nearly back to where I was 12years ago, when I drove a tiny Hyundai with no power steering or AC.