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The Bail Out: Interesting article from Time
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
And then, of course, not a one of us would give up our cars, would we?


I would love to give up my cars if I could. However, it's not practical where I live which I think is true for most of us. So we make the best of it. My friend just bought a Smart Car and she's really enjoying it. We're on the wait list and orphan list for one but I am not certain we will go through with it. My husband wants to get rid of his gas guzzling SUV but will he really.

The EV1 was an experimental electric car that was driven by Californians for a while. Then GM recalled them and destroyed them. The drivers loved it and were upset to have to return them. Seemed like the influence of the powerful oil lobby had a hand in that decision. The EV1 could have turned GM around. Now I see they have plans for the Volt to be released in the next few years but it's not the same as the EV1. GM may find they lost out big time with the decision to eliminate the EV1.

Each of us have to figure out ways to conserve. I remember when I started driving in 1973 that regular gas cost something like .45/per gallon. Then a few months later the oil crisis occurred. The price of gas doubled and gas lines became the order of the day. My local gas station would announce when they were getting gas and its customers would line up to fill up. It wasn't unheard of to drive to the gas station at 9 PM to fill up my car. Could we see a return of long gas lines and doubling gas prices?

There actually may come a time when it's no longer practical to own a car. But until that day happens, I guess we're all stuck with our combustible conveyances.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to KarenS: My point was that I think a majority of people, myself included, can't do without one, and that contributes greatly to the influence of the oil lobby.

When I started driving, gas was .19 a gallon. A dollar's worth allowed one to "cruise the strip" for hours. Also, gas-saving cars aren't really a new thing, as far as I'm concerned. For example, in the late fifties I owned a 6 cylinder Studebaker which got 33-35 mpg in overdrive.
I don't recall what year it was built, but it wasn't "new."

For a while this year, I owned a hybrid Camry. To tell you the truth, I was scared driving it. Changing lanes was terrifying; one could press on the footfeed and it would sit for a while before moving. So until everybody drives cars like that, I still prefer those which have enough get up and git to move me away from peril, making me a part of the problem, I guess.

And I'm of two minds about it anyway. Thomas' Jefferson's "usufruct" theory stated that each generation has the right to the fruits of its labors. Maybe we've got a right to big cars that guzzle gas and just have to take the lumps that go with it.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
My friend just bought a Smart Car and she's really enjoying it. We're on the wait list and orphan list for one but I am not certain we will go through with it.


A friend of mine in Europe has one and I fell in love while visiting. Not sure if they're still doing this, but hers has a name that it--or he, I should say--was given in the factory. Ever since I got home and started looking at them, though, people keep e-mailing me Consumer Reports sayng they aren't all that. Ok, other cars might get better mileage, and maybe a Smart Car isn't the most comfortable ride--my son hated it, said it made him carsick--but there was something about it . . . Sigh. I doubt I'll get one anytime soon, what with the economy and all, but maybe I can live vicariously through you. Did you want a red one by any chance? A convertible? Yes, a little red convertible, I know, I'm a total mid-life cliche masquerading as an environmentally concerned citizen. But they're so darn cute!

Let me know how it turns out for you.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
KarenS wrote:
My friend just bought a Smart Car and she's really enjoying it. We're on the wait list and orphan list for one but I am not certain we will go through with it.


A friend of mine in Europe has one and I fell in love while visiting. Not sure if they're still doing this, but hers has a name that it--or he, I should say--was given in the factory. Ever since I got home and started looking at them, though, people keep e-mailing me Consumer Reports sayng they aren't all that. Ok, other cars might get better mileage, and maybe a Smart Car isn't the most comfortable ride--my son hated it, said it made him carsick--but there was something about it . . . Sigh. I doubt I'll get one anytime soon, what with the economy and all, but maybe I can live vicariously through you. Did you want a red one by any chance? A convertible? Yes, a little red convertible, I know, I'm a total mid-life cliche masquerading as an environmentally concerned citizen. But they're so darn cute!

Let me know how it turns out for you.


My husband is more excited about it than I am. Our kids think he's nuts for wanting one since they like his SUV so much. I think it's just a reaction to high gas prices. My friend has the yellow one and loves hers! We ordered the Passion Coupe in Crystal White with the Metallic Silver trim. A little on the boring side but I wasn't wild about the other colors. He now tells me there is a sports version with leather seats that's turbo-charged and may be only available in black and silver. You do have to get use to the transmission in them since it's a manual transmission with an electronic clutch. So we will see what happens.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We purchased our Smart Car today which is a Cabriolet in Crystal White with the silver trim. We drove home with the top down enjoying the great weather. There was one person who gave us a thumbs up. Our kids will be home later this evening so it should be interesting to hear their reactions. They were trying to talk us out of buying it yesterday. It was DH's decision since it was his SUV that we got rid of.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
We purchased our Smart Car today which is a Cabriolet in Crystal White with the silver trim. We drove home with the top down enjoying the great weather. There was one person who gave us a thumbs up. Our kids will be home later this evening so it should be interesting to hear their reactions. They were trying to talk us out of buying it yesterday. It was DH's decision since it was his SUV that we got rid of.



I hope you enjoy it. I have a VW Cabriolet I enjoy immensely. But, I don't drive it that often and I rarely take it on the Interstate and when I do, I'm hyper vigilant. Personally, especially when I have my family in the vehicle with me, I want as much size and metal around us as I can get. I'm a very defensive driver. After more than 40 years of driving with only 1 accident (which wasn't charged against me) averaging about 20,000 miles per year, I know that most likely if I'm involved in an accident, it will probably be the other guy's fault. In that case, I'll most likely be driving my SUV or my full size pick up truck and have an equal chance of walking away alive.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with LisaW: Until everybody drives the smaller cars, I want a car that can withstand collisions as best as possible. When my son was a teenager, his first car--at my insistence--was 1972 Mercury Marquis station wagon, big, heavy, and as indestructible a vehicle as I could find. In one of his peregrinations, he went off a country road, but managed to stop before rolling. The size, weight, and stability of of the car kept it from doing so. Although he hated the car--he was a teenager after all--he admitted to being glad that's what he was driving.
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI, what I remember hearing is that smaller cars get into fewer accidents, but they're more severe. Larger cars get into more accidents, but they tend to be minor. So either way you're going to get into accidents.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kass wrote:
FYI, what I remember hearing is that smaller cars get into fewer accidents, but they're more severe. Larger cars get into more accidents, but they tend to be minor. So either way you're going to get into accidents.



I'd like to see some facts and studies on that. Unless it's because there are more what are called "larger cars" (remember, the car rental places class a Taurus as a "full size" vehicle) on the road than "smaller cars" and we're looking at numbers not percentages. Otherwise, I don't see the logic.

I do know, people in small cars do some of the stupidest things I've ever seen. A friend and I were hauling her 23-1/2' boat to her place in Florida. Good size boat and a full size pickup truck. You just know when that idiot in that little tin can next to you is planning to speed up, cut in front of you and slam on their brakes. Little lesson here, folks. Trucks (semi and down in size) don't stop as fast as cars -- more weight. And Trucks with trailers cannot stop "on a dime" -- even trying will get you jackknifed with that trailer taking out everyone around. And, if I'm hauling my horse and you pull a stunt like that in front of me, you'd better die in the crash -- 'cause I'm going to hurt you for hurting my horse!
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no such thing as a 100% safe vehicle. However, large vehicles like SUVs give a false sense of security and are much more likely to roll-over in an accident or abrupt maneuver. Just because it's big, doesn't mean its safe. In a small car, a larger proportion of the overall weight is structural which protects the occupant(s) in an accident. In large vehicles, a large percentage of the weight is fluff, trim, plastic, chrome, sound-proofing, materials that do not contribute to crash worthiness. Here's a link from a few years ago comparing a Mini Cooper to a Ford F150 in a crash test carried out by the American Insurance Institute. In these tests stimulating hitting a concrete barrier the mini's cabin is like a roll cage and the occupants are relatively unscathed. The 150 folds up like an accordion.

http://paultan.org/archives/2005/11/08/mini-cooper-vs-ford-f-150-crash-test/

For the Smart car, it received the highest ratings from the same institute for front and side collisions. It scored acceptable for rear-end collisions. The Smart car is made by Mercedes and it has stability control, ABS and all the other safety features common to Mercedes. Vehicles with stability control are 40% less likely to be involved in single car accidents.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24599768/


We believe in driving the appropriate car depending on what we're doing. If we are doing local driving we will take the Smart car. If we're driving across the state on the interstate, we will take our sedan.

Safety is about managing risk. I think the safety features of the Smart car makes up for its small size. So I'm not afraid to drive it.
It's actually a fun car to drive. It's got great air-conditioning, heated leather seats and it's spacious on the inside. You sit up high so you have good visibility down the road so other cars can see you.

The Smart car is not for everybody and I'm not telling you to buy one. I'm just saying it works for me.
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Niftybergin



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1094

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do the Smart Cars really get such great mileage? Or, if mileage is not the appeal, what is? (Other than the fact that they're adorable!)

I have no problem with a small car -- no constant worry that I'm going to die in a fiery car crash on the interstate as a big SUV or Semi blows me off the road or runs over me.

I need my small wagon because I take my dog with me so many places, but I've often thought that I'd love to have a "commuter" car that got even better mileage. (I currently get about 26 in my little station wagon.)
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Niftybergin wrote:
Do the Smart Cars really get such great mileage? Or, if mileage is not the appeal, what is? (Other than the fact that they're adorable!)

I have no problem with a small car -- no constant worry that I'm going to die in a fiery car crash on the interstate as a big SUV or Semi blows me off the road or runs over me.

I need my small wagon because I take my dog with me so many places, but I've often thought that I'd love to have a "commuter" car that got even better mileage. (I currently get about 26 in my little station wagon.)


Niftybergin:

Your 26 mpg is darn good. You might get 36 around town depending on how much stop and go you're doing. If it's a mix of highway and some stopping you can get 40 mpg.

My husband's SUV on a good day was getting 14 mpg and it was usually one or two of us in it. Our kids have their own cars so they rarely ride with us. It's rare to have us all in the same car together so we couldn't see keeping it for the few times we all go somewhere together. My sedan will now serve that purpose. So we wanted a small car for 1 or 2 people to do local driving since that's what most of our driving consists of.

The Smart car has an 8 gallon fuel tank. Our first fill-up was 5.012 gallons and it cost us $11.32.

The Smart car starts out around $14,000.00 so the price is right for someone who doesn't want to spend a lot of money on a car. Considering its safety features, it's a bargain.

Karen
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I've ever seen anyone driving a Smart car, and I had a devil of a time finding an image of it. However, having found one, I don't think I could be comfortable in that small a car. I traded in a Lincoln MKS because I felt compressed in it, and it was much larger than the Smart car appears to be. And, you know, good mileage in a car is really not a "new" thing. I owned a 6 cylinder, straight stick Studebaker in the 50's which got 36 mpg on the highway in overdrive, and about 27 in town. It was comparable in size to a Ford Focus. Before I got disgusted with Toyota's drive by wire technology, I had a Camry which got 33 mpg on the highway at 75mph and the Camry isn't a small car by any means.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
I don't think I've ever seen anyone driving a Smart car, and I had a devil of a time finding an image of it. However, having found one, I don't think I could be comfortable in that small a car. I traded in a Lincoln MKS because I felt compressed in it, and it was much larger than the Smart car appears to be. And, you know, good mileage in a car is really not a "new" thing. I owned a 6 cylinder, straight stick Studebaker in the 50's which got 36 mpg on the highway in overdrive, and about 27 in town. It was comparable in size to a Ford Focus. Before I got disgusted with Toyota's drive by wire technology, I had a Camry which got 33 mpg on the highway at 75mph and the Camry isn't a small car by any means.


Dick:

Are you happy with your present car or are you looking for something new? It sorta sounds like you might be happy with an SUV. We traded in a VW Touareg (sp) for the Smart car. It only got about 14 mpg but it was a luxo-boat. Very comfortable, big, fully-equipped(loved the back-up camera) but sad to say a total gas hog. They are making a smaller version called the Tiguan that you might want to look at. If VW's don't float your boat, I would consider other SUVs.

As long as you don't have any difficulties getting in and out of a vehicle, the SUV could be a consideration. Our Touareg had the air suspension so you could raise and lower it. It could go up and down 10 inches. That was a nice feature for hauling groceries and getting my 92 year old m-i-l in and out of.

Good Luck with car hunting if a new vehicle is in your future.

Just received our Smart car Emergency Kit. It consists of three $5.00 gift cards to Barnes and Noble, Starbucks and Exxon-Mobil. I think they know their demographics pretty well.

Karen
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Karen,

So glad to hear you're enjoying your new car. Question: Did it come with a name? My friend's did, but that's in Europe. Don't know if they kept that feature for the US. -Liz
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