Monday, May 19, 2008

7 Days of Blog Retribution: My New Car

Wow, it only took two days for me to completely miss a day. I'm just not cut out for the heavy blogging.

So, today, I'm putting myself on trial. I bought a new car on Saturday and, if you know me well enough (or have paid attention to key posts) then you know the new ride isn't a Corolla, it isn't a Civic, and it probably isn't a Prius.

I bought a Honda Element.

2007 gray Honda Element SC

2007 gray Honda Element SC

2007 gray Honda Element SC
First, the conversational stuff...

Yes, I love it.
This is a vehicle I've been pining over for a good 5 years or so. For all of you out there who hate them, I hated them too... HATED them. But I rode in one and the owner, a good friend, loved it to death. And then, something in my brain changed and I knew I had to have one. It's everything I want and need in a vehicle in a very unique package.

The GTI had to go.
Poor Gretchen (yes, she has a name) was running a bit rough and had me a bit scared I might be stranded on the side of the road (again). A check engine light and a funny clunk in the front (along with a few other things) made it seem likely that a few thousand in repairs were coming up soon. I drove that picky German b*tch for 9 years and almost 112,000 miles and had very few problems up until about a year ago (maybe a bit before that).

The price was right, the car was right.
This is exactly how I would spec one of these new and there happened to be one on the lot, waiting for me (got there 4 days before I did). Fate?

I guess the big question is why would a green-guy like myself trade UP in vehicle size when I could afford something much smaller and more economical (like a smart [which I briefly considered]). I'll tell you why...

This gets the same MPG.
Yup, that's right, this little guy is rated at the same MPG as my GTI (actually, one less, 23 vs. 24). It's bigger, taller, clearly less aerodynamic, and it's getting about the same. Volkswagens are typically heavier cars and not very fuel efficient (unless they try).

It's an automatic.
Automatics are notoriously better for fuel efficiency because they switch to a high gear when you're not pushing on it. Driving my mom's big SUV around town back home, I found I could squeeze about 25 MPG out of a heavy V6 just because it was automatic (and had a MPG gauge). I find I'm much less aggressive in this car and tend to be about 5mph slower on the freeway; it's just easier to drive at a slower pace.

It can actually fit 4 people.
No more taking two cars because it's too cramped. The 3 other cars I ride around in besides my own are all 2-door and, if they have 4 seatbelts, it doesn't mean 4 adults should be in there.

It takes 87 octane.
And I'm dead sick of spending the money on premium.

So that's the deal.

To be perfectly honest, it was a big issue to buy a new-to-me car that didn't get much better miles-per-gallon. The gas prices are atrocious but my concern is and will continue to be actual consumption, not finances. I know, however, that the difference in overall consumption between 25 mpg and 30 mpg simply isn't enough to justify big sacrifices in my own life.

From spending my own time recycling to this blog to teaching others around me and volunteering for events, I do a lot to affect as many people as possible and, hopefully, convince a few more to make responsible choices. I replaced my bulbs, I control my speed on the freeway, I reuse plastic like a madman, I take cotton bags to the grocery store (when I remember), and I just recently started carpooling with a co-worker. Environmental choices are about more than just a car.

Trust me, I thought this one through. And I'll be the first one with an aftermarket hybrid kit when a solid, tested kit comes out... that or a low-emissions diesel engine from Honda!


Chelsea said...

No more GTI??? holy crap. Do you have this one run for 20 minutes before turning it off to??

and it's pretty.

Josh C said...

"Do you have this one run for 20 minutes before turning it off to??"

HAHAHA thank fully no though I still do every once in a while out of habit!

Thanks for the compliment... some people HATE it