Saturday, May 02, 2009

Why I Drive a Gas Guzzler (or two)

I'm a single person with two 8-cylinder vehicles.

I dislike waste of any kind, I'm frugal, and I try to be a conscientious consumer in all areas. But I have an SUV (Toyota 4Runner) and a big sedan (1992 Chevy Caprice--my beloved "cop car"). I drive one in winter and the other in spring, summer, and fall. The Caprice does surprisingly well on gas for its size and power: 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. But it still probably qualifies as a gas guzzler.

I'm not defending my ownership of these cars, but I'd like to explain. I spent my first 26 years in NYC, and in all that time never knew anyone who was hurt or killed in a car accident. I drove a cute little Fiat Spyder convertible. When I moved here to the country, I was shocked at the number of automobile fatalities that occurred on a regular basis. I read about them in the paper and saw them on the TV news, and later, as a reporter, I wrote about them.

This area has a lot of young drivers. We also have a lot of drinking drivers. Combine that with winding, hilly (in some cases mountainous) rural roads, and treacherous winter conditions (plus clueless summer vacationers), and you can see why driving is a dangerous activity around here. A reporter I worked with was killed just a few years ago. On her way to work before 8:00 a.m. on a road I travel all the time, her gas-efficient car was hit by a truck driven by a young man who had already had an alcohol-related accident an hour before.

Even if I felt I could afford to go car shopping at this point (which I don't feel I can), I'd be very reluctant to give up all the metal that serves as a buffer between me and the drunks, the reckless, and the trees.

You won't find me burning gasoline frivolously. I commute 25 miles (each way) to work, and constantly juggle my schedule to combine errands. I like to drive well enough, but by the end of the week I've had enough of it and am more than happy to stay home.

And that's my report from the old farm, where one vehicle is parked alongside the ice house, and the other sits under a pear tree.

8 comments:

Dona said...

Good reasons, Susan. And you make up for the gas by still having the car from 1992. (Loved the "cop car" mention)

Susan said...

Hi Dona - I really do love that car! My plan was to have a '96 Impala S/S by now, but frugality won out.

crystal said...

Yes, good reasons.

The last car I drove before my eyes got too bad was an old Ford Galaxy 500 - a boat :) I felt so safe, though, because it was very heavy and solid.

Indigo Bunting said...

I hear you! I actually got a BIGGER car when I got one last year (trading in the 10-year-old Subaru Forester for an Outback), which I still feel kind of guilty about, but it does feel good and safe at times. When we have to replace Tim's car (he commutes about 45 or 50 minutes one way), not sure what we'll do. I hope that doesn't have to happen soon, anyway...

Eulalia (Lali) said...

That is one gorgeous last sentence!

Susan said...

Crystal, California driving must be an experience unto itself.

IB, good for you--I'm glad you're safe. Tim's commute is longer than mine, and mine is too long. My kids have longer commutes, too, including one stretch of highway I suspect could be compared to the Autobahn. :-(

Thanks, Lali - This is one gorgeous old property; at least it is to me....especially when I have time to mow the lawns and weed the gardens, WHICH I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO DO IN FREAKIN' WEEKS!! But I digress.....

crystal said...

Happy mothers day, Susan :)

Susan said...

Hey, thanks, Crystal! I was just writing my daughter a thank-you note for the beautiful silver earrings she gave me. My son brought me a huge hanging basket of purple petunias. It's now hanging from my living room ceiling because we're expecting a frost tonight. It was warm in the sun today, though. I got lots of mowing done.