Sunday, August 28, 2005

Oh... The Irony

Dear Readers,
Did you see the interview on CNN the other day with the woman who said gas prices were really hurting her family? She had to shop alone, so the kids didn't beg for things at the store. She was having to cut back in several ways because of the high cost of gas. As the story ends, she drives off in her 2005 GMC Danali. If it weren't so sad, I'd have to laugh. Does anyone see the irony in this?

I'm constantly amazed at the number of new, gas guzzling, SUVs on the road now. These are expensive vehicles, then the owners have the audicity to complain about oil prices. Are these the same people who sit in line (with their vehicle idling) waiting to be served their $3.50 Double Tall Vanilla Latte (or whatever flavor they like). Whatever happened to the $1 cup of coffee or (heaven forbid) brewing your own!?!

Sadly, I suspect many of these new SUVs are being purchased with home equity loans. To me, this is a travesty. Home equity loans should be used to pay off high interest bills or investing in some equity growth tool, such as buying real estate or some other income producing investment. If you have to take out a home equity loan to buy a car, my opinion is you should be buying something a little more conservative than an SUV. Remember the old saying, "if you have to look at the price, you can't afford it"? Well, if you can't afford the gas (and don't forget insurance), you shouldn't be buying the vehicle.

If we're really concerned about oil prices, we need to reduce consumption, conserve, make some adjustments. If everyone did just a little, it would make a big difference and not be painful at all. We could carpool, take mass transit, telecommute. We could make one less trip a week to town. We could park at the bank and actually go inside instead of idling in the drive-through. The exercise certainly wouldn't hurt us! The possibilities are endless.

My husband & I took a trip to southern Alberta last week, as we do every summer, to visit his sisters and other relatives. Usually, we drive our 1989 custom van, which gets 15-18 miles per gallon... depending on driving conditions. The van is, admittedly, an older model but we keep it in good mechanical condition, looking nice, and it is so comfortable to drive. Plus, we can crawl in the back and take a nap if we get tired. But, this year we decided we were going to do something to contribute to reducing our oil consumption. We drove our 1999 Mitsubishi Galant instead. It's small, but comfortable, and the seats recline for some occassional shut-eye. It gets 30 - 33 mpg on the road. For the 1188 miles we drove, I figure we saved about 80 gallons of fuel. I love the idea of the cost savings, which was over $200... but I also like the idea of doing my part to conserve. If everyone figured out a way of reducing their consumption by 80 gallons by the end of the year, it would be huge.

Just my $200 worth!

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