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What kind of car should I drive?

Old 04-26-05, 08:43 AM
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GTcommuter
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What kind of car should I drive?

The H2 thread in another forum got me thinking, but I'm starting a new thread here because I think this question is more applicable to commuters and people who use their bike as a their daily mode of transportation.

So what kind of car should a bike commuter drive? Many of us need cars for longer trips, even though our bike is our main transportation around town. I think many bike riders would like to have a compact hybrid to fit our environmentalist ideals, but many riders are also outdoor lovers who could genuinely use a bigger pickup truck, off-road, or even SUV for weekend trips. And since bike's don't have a huge storage capacity, a light pickup makes since for errands to pickup big items. If we're saving lots of gas by riding around town day-to-day, maybe that entitles us to drive a gas-guzzler on the few car trips that we do make?

BTW, I drive a Volvo 240 on days when I can't ride the bike.
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Old 04-26-05, 08:52 AM
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Old 04-26-05, 09:00 AM
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Well my car is a 99 VW Golf 4 dr. Pretty decent on gas but honestly not all that comfortable on a long trip. I can haul all sorts of stuff if I put the back seat down though. Wife drives a 2000 Nissan Maxima which on a long trip is like a big couch and gets 29-30 MPG so it isn't terrible but it isn't great either. I am actually looking at getting a midsize PU or maybe something like a Subaru Baja so that I can haul things around that I wouldn't put in my Golf like lawn mowers and lots of wood and stuff.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:01 AM
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When I drive, its in a 4-door compact pickup. It tows the boat, and carries the family and all our stuff. Uses less gas than our car due to liberal use of the bicycle despite miserable mpg ratings (20 hwy/15 city, I average 17). I end up using ~25 gallons per month. My wife's car uses ~40, despite an average of 30 mpg.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:03 AM
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I know that Chevy is coming out with a Hybrid 1/2 ton pick up with in the next year. Also Dodge is offering a diesel Hybrid as well in the 2500 ram configuration.

I personally would look at the Ford Escape Hybrid that is currently out. I think it offers the space and the environmentally friendly ideals that most bike commuters would like to have. Lexus and Toyota are offering the RX400 and the Highlander in hybrid configurations as well but those are 40K plus. Just some quick thoughts.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:19 AM
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I think most of us commute because it makes sense; we are sensible people. We tend to think about the wise management of our resources, both financial and natural. So I would have to say that a car that is paid for is probably the best one for me to use, given that I don't use it very often. I have an old beater 4 runner that gets horrible gas mileage but the money spent on gas is minimal compared to taking on another car payment. Conserving the planet's fuel resources so that those who are less careful will be able to consume even more at a lower cost is actually a small priority for me.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:30 AM
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I drive a 1983 Suburban that weighs 6800 pounds and gets 9MPG. I'd feel bad about this, except that I burn substantially less total gasoline that my co-workers who drive Hybrid Toyotas to work every day.

I think not depending on your car for daily transportation can free you to get a less practical car.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:32 AM
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Mercedes 500SE sedan and 300E station wagon. The station wagon can easily carry the bike to the bike shop for service. The sedan need not be driven in snow and salt because of the bike. The sedan also has a removable bike rack, so I can ride the bike home after dropping off either car for service. I often wonder how bikeless people manage to take care of their cars.

If I get a "next car" it will be either a Jaguar XK-150S Drophead or a new Lotus Elise. Those are about the only cars that interest me.

My conclusion is just drive what you want to drive. If you bike commute, you can get the car you really want and not worry about salt, dents, etc.

Paul
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Old 04-26-05, 09:37 AM
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My other car is a bicycle!
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Old 04-26-05, 09:47 AM
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I'm a Honda fan myself. I regularly get between 33-35 MPG in my Civic Ex which lasts me about 2 weeks.

An interesting note. I was listening to the radio this morning at work and they were talking about gas and the taxes on it. Here in KY we pay 34 cents on every gallon of gas. As we are driving less the state and I'm sure the Fed Gov't is getting less money. The DOT has recently begun a test on how to make up for the reduction in taxes. In Oregon, Utah, and New York they're testing a program to tax people based on the mileage they drive. Supposedly they'll use a GPS transponder in the car to record the miles traveled and when you go to fill up the transponder communicates with the pump to accumulate the correct taxes. The taxes are then collected when you pay for the gas.

This is a scary concept. It looks like it won't matter if we drive a hybrid or SUV if they start taxing on mileage we'll all be paying more.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by kymtb
I'm a Honda fan myself. I regularly get between 33-35 MPG in my Civic Ex which lasts me about 2 weeks.

An interesting note. I was listening to the radio this morning at work and they were talking about gas and the taxes on it. Here in KY we pay 34 cents on every gallon of gas. As we are driving less the state and I'm sure the Fed Gov't is getting less money. The DOT has recently begun a test on how to make up for the reduction in taxes. In Oregon, Utah, and New York they're testing a program to tax people based on the mileage they drive. Supposedly they'll use a GPS transponder in the car to record the miles traveled and when you go to fill up the transponder communicates with the pump to accumulate the correct taxes. The taxes are then collected when you pay for the gas.

This is a scary concept. It looks like it won't matter if we drive a hybrid or SUV if they start taxing on mileage we'll all be paying more.
What is to stop someone from filling up a 5 gallon container at a few different locations to avoid the tax?
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Old 04-26-05, 09:51 AM
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Old 04-26-05, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by billh
My other car is a bicycle!
Love it! I'm getting ready to buy a second bike too.

IF I were buying a car instead, it would be a compact pickup or minivan. Just big enough to throw a couple bikes in and head for the trails, but not too bad on gas consumption because I'm a cheap b*sturd.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:54 AM
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My wife drives a 2001 Nissan Altima, and this is always the car we drive on the weekends etc too. It has roofracks with two bike carriers, and can easily carry all the stuff we need to get to our ride locations and to go away for weekends camping etc. Gets about 24-26mpg around town, and around 30mpg on the highway.

When we both need to drive, I use our old 1995 Ford Explorer 5 speed. The gas mileage isn't the best, but it has been handy for carrying larger loads of dirty stuff and also for heavy snow days. Mostly I just drive it to and from the airport and on the weekends when each of us needs to go to different places. I'm seriously thinking about getting rid of it, and picking up something more frugal like a Honda Civic coupe or similar. On heavy snow days we can either stay at home or ride the mountain bikes!

I'd love to own a hybrid, but I also refuse to spend much money on cars. While something like a Prius is definitely affordable and would be great to own, I just can't bring myself to spend that much.
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Old 04-26-05, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by kymtb
Supposedly they'll use a GPS transponder in the car to record the miles traveled and when you go to fill up the transponder communicates with the pump to accumulate the correct taxes. The taxes are then collected when you pay for the gas.

This is a scary concept. It looks like it won't matter if we drive a hybrid or SUV if they start taxing on mileage we'll all be paying more.
Not that scary for us, if we're commuting regularly by bike
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Old 04-26-05, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Sawtooth
What is to stop someone from filling up a 5 gallon container at a few different locations to avoid the tax?
I never said it was a smart idea. I guess that like the IRS it would all catch up to you eventually. I just don't like the idea of a GPS in my car that I'm not in charge of. The less gov't involvement the better.
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Old 04-26-05, 10:03 AM
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if the reason you want a pick up truck is for the extra space to haul stuff, I would suggest getting a diesel truck and converting it to run on vegetable oil. many people are doing this now.

i will post some links later on where you can find more information. but i'm sure if you google it, you will find some.
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Old 04-26-05, 10:08 AM
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I drive a 96 Honda Accord with 160,000 miles. I own it outright. It's got a 4 cyl engine and gets around 28 MPG. It's got a fold down trunk so I can throw all my skis, snowboarding stuff, or bike into the trunk. It looks like hell though. I park it on the street in Boston. Great all around, do everything city car. Front wheel drive is good in the snow too. Pickups and SUVs are too big to park on the street in Boston, for me anyway.

I'll be in the market for a new car at some point in the near future. Probably get a sporty sedan or a low end luxury sedan.
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Old 04-26-05, 10:10 AM
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It's too bad the Smart car isn't available yet down there. That's a great car for trips across the city, etc. I wouldn't use it for really long trips, but awesome for short trips. Apparently, about 3,000 have sold already up here with a waiting list for 3,000 more.

I was reading yesterday in the Toronto Star about a small electrical car being built in town here that will be going on sale in the US only (???). It's not as practical yet as it will be, but a good viable option to fossil-fuel cars.
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Old 04-26-05, 10:44 AM
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Im getting a VW golf soon when I sell my car

will be fairly cheap and it gets 45 mpg O_O
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Old 04-26-05, 11:01 AM
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and a late 70's Gladiator for when I feel like knuckle-dragging
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Old 04-26-05, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kymtb
I never said it was a smart idea. I guess that like the IRS it would all catch up to you eventually. I just don't like the idea of a GPS in my car that I'm not in charge of. The less gov't involvement the better.
Circumventing such a thing as a GPS in a car would be so easy I can't see how anyone considering themselves a "research scientist" could even seriously consider it.
I have been building car computers for years and utilized many things in them, touch screens, GPS, voice command, ODBII controls, it's quite fun and I've made alot of money on the side doing it. And with this experience I can say for an absolute certainty that if I were forced to have a monitoring GPS in my car that in 15 minutes, using no less than $1.75 of household items, I can force the thing to register whatever I wanted it to, or even cause it to blackout all together registering nothing.

This whole thing reminds me of the (insert large hooved animal here) defication going around a few years back about the post office trying to get the government to charge people per email.
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Old 04-26-05, 11:36 AM
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While I ride, my wife drives a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. She takes several cross-country trips every year (Houston - Missoula, MT) and the gas-milage is simply awesome. Loading capacity is not a problem, she fits everything she needs for herself and two kids on those trips. The last time we needed something bigger about a year and a half ago when buying new furniture. We borrowed a pickup truck for that.
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Old 04-26-05, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by EnigManiac
It's too bad the Smart car isn't available yet down there. That's a great car for trips across the city, etc. I wouldn't use it for really long trips, but awesome for short trips. Apparently, about 3,000 have sold already up here with a waiting list for 3,000 more.

I was reading yesterday in the Toronto Star about a small electrical car being built in town here that will be going on sale in the US only (???). It's not as practical yet as it will be, but a good viable option to fossil-fuel cars.

Those smart cars are pretty cool. I see them all over the place now. Unfortunately, they are sort of overpriced. For purly practical, economical transportation for about half the price of the smart, I'd grab a bare bones toyota echo hatchback and be done with it. 30+ mpg in the city, and 40+ on the highway. Not too bad.
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Old 04-26-05, 01:17 PM
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What's wrong with the 240? Those are one of my all time favorite cars...

https://ofofhy.blogspot.com/2004/11/old-gold-volvo.html

A little cheesy metaphor for life in the beginning, sorry about that, but my favorite memories of that car nonetheless. Shameless self-promotion of a blog!
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