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Old 09-26-2011, 07:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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(Re)considering the wisdom of automobile ownership?

OK, we've "beaten & killed" the Domestic Domicile, what similarly can we say/do about the Domestic Vehicle?

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Old 09-26-2011, 09:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How bout let's not do it like the domicile thread.

That said, my perception towards automobile ownership has definitely changed over the years. Yes, I have a fleet but I contemplate thinning the herd... they are mostly toys anyway. As such they are not being run often, and as such they are not consuming fuel and polluting very much. Car hoarder.

There are metro areas where car ownership is almost more a liability than asset, and some have taken steps to have access to communal vehicles, or have non-car-ownership lives. That's all good. I know in Santa Cruz CA a person can live a very nice non-car-ownership life; they've done some nice bicycle-centric things there.

I have to go where the busses don't run, though. I'll keep a car around for that. The pickup and large trailer I could send down the road, but they're already depreciated and paid for, and useful besides (if not for me, with things I haul for others). At this point it's cheaper to keep it than get rid of it and then have to make arrangements for borrowing/renting a truck for when I do need it; if I didn't already have it I wouldn't go out today to get a truck and trailer.

Just saw an article today about how GM is keeping OnStar "active" even when the vehicle owner stops the service. Soooo... GM is able to track and keep a database of all OnStar vehicles (and their whereabouts, movements, etc.) whether the owners have "active" OnStar service or not. I never did like the concept of OnStar- it reminded me of Orwell's "1984" too much.

But then I went for Progressive's "SnapShot" which is pretty much a tattletale similar to OnStar, although supposedly it only knows trips times, speeds, and accel/decels, not whereabouts. At least in that case participation is voluntary (for now.... ) and it puts some money back in my pocket UNLIKE the OnStar B.S.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
OK, we've "beaten & killed" the Domestic Domicile, what similarly can we say/do about the Domestic Vehicle?
Most people own a vehicle out of necessity.

Wisdom has nothing to do with it. Unless perhaps this thread will be taken in the direction of discussing the fine points of terms of automotive leasing (as opposed to ownership?)...
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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...paraphrasing Ms. Browning's poem: "...How can I travel? Let me count the ways."

1) Walk, that's what feet are for.
2) Bicycle, that's one step UP from a tricycle.
3) Bus, that's what Public Transportation is all about, lots of other riders though.
4) Taxi, expensive, but likewise exclusive (just you in the vehicle).
5) Lease, like owning, but it's not yours really.
6) Rent, great idea for weekends and l-o-n-g test-drives of new vehicles.
7) Hitch-hike, worked great during WWII and for getting through "The Galaxy."
8) Car-pool, a cross between Bus, Taxi and Renting--only among friends or co-wokers (usually).
9) Ride-the-Rails, clickiddy-clack, a hobo-stick upon your back.
10) Horse & Buggy, ala' Quakers and Amish?

...your turn!
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There are metro areas where car ownership is almost more a liability than asset...
Yeah. Unfortunately, taking advantage of them means you're pretty much limited to living in a metro area :-(
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think electric bikes are the future, especially when the price of Li-Po batteries drops.

I recently took a trip to Amsterdam, and was amazed at the number of bicycles in use there. In fact there is a 4 level bicycle parking garage there that holds 500,000 bikes!

Owning car(s) seems excessive when you add up all of the costs for car ownership. Licenses, Taxes, insurance, oil changes, tires, not to mention the $5K you spend just to drive it off the new car lot.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Out of the 3 of us who live in my house, I'm often the only one who drives in a day and that is only because my job is 4 miles away up and down hills.
I do use my bicycle a fair amount, just like my house mates, I even have studded tires for winter, so really we could get away with being a single car household without great impact other then we all showed up with our own vehicles and once a month or so we all head off in different directions in our cars, but if we did have a Zip Car or other car sharing service in town we would join.

I find that for non work related trips that cell phones and text messages help a lot, need something from the store? send out a text and see who else is going or who is already there, need to head to the next town over? see if that same trip is part of someone else's plan and sometimes if you think you need something from the store, just asking around will lead you to finding out that someone else already has said dohicky and that for them it's just taking up space, thus freeing up their space, your time and money all while saving gas and resources.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
10) Horse & Buggy, ala' Quakers and Amish?
Being married to a Quaker, I can tell you they don't drive horse and buggy. Subaru, yes. But not horses. The Amish are nearly alone as the great luddites of the 21st century USA.

Most of the important routes to work, doctors, vets, and other activities are too far for bike, train, bus, taxi, or walking to be feasible. Southern, Coastal, Orange County, California is just too hilly/mountainous and spread out. And the public transport infrastructure is just too weak. The freeways are our public transport infrastructure; I need a car to have choices.

But I'm with you Old Tele Man. A house is a consumable that sometimes turns out to be a reasonable investment, but a car is a money pit every time. Minimize its impact financially, and enjoy what you drive. I do, thoroughly.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't know: from out here it seems that you non-car folks must live a life that consists of nothing but going to work and coming home to watch TV until you go to bed, with maybe the occasional visit to a local bar or restaurant.

I know about de gustibus and all that, but really, what sort of a life is that? Don't you ever want to get out and take the dogs for a long hike (and not on the same old trail every time, either), or go play at the lake, go skiing in the winter, or otherwise live a little?
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I live in the near city suburbs of Edinburgh, mainly so that A-junior can go to a decent school, otherwise I would happily out of town.

For a brief period I worked in the centre of town so of course I did the commute thing on buses - its only about 5 miles to the town centre. During that time whilst minding my own business on buses I had to intervene in one mugging, worried daily about the usual drunks getting out of hand and had to endure leaking buses with either heating that was on full in summer or not working in winter.

As I was on contract and there was a car park at the end of the road where I worked, I asked about parking on expenses. This was granted and I never went back.

During that period and before I was disolusioned by the whole thing I did strongly consider getting rid of my car, but that was partly to get a weekend classic project toy thing. So I would have had A car anyway.

My main reconsideration has been in HOW I own a car. When younger I would have credit payments rolling on a car, but since we were fleeced by Volvo I have refused car credit ever since. George only came along when I could pay cash, and the previous Skodas were the same. Also I keep cars longer too - in the credit days I would roll over and get a new one maybe every 24 months, now I aim for 5 years at least depending on the warranty of course.

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