Monday, January 16

Our Next Car

There is a reality creeping which ultimately must be dealt with. I've hinted at it in the past, but now I think I want to call it out pure and cold and watch it melt.

Our 1999 Subaru Forester, Forester Gump, is approaching 280,000 miles on the ole odometer. For now he runs fine. For now he serves our purposes faithfully. We cannot expect an indefinite term for our faithful family motor vehicle though. Life happens and cars wear out.

Where will we look next? Will we simply replace like for like? A new Subaru? It is the official Colorado State Car after all. You can't swing a skier by the tail without hitting a parking lot full of them around here. We've been driving Subarus since about 2003. And we like them.

There are a few lines of thought floating 'round our house on the future of transportation for the family. One thought is that we should go diesel so we can utilize biofuels. Our favorite mechanic adamantly denounces Volkwagens. We've discussed getting a Vanagon. Some friends have one, the second we've seen them with, and we covet it often. An old VW bus would be pretty cool too, but again, our mechanic would probably disown us. He already dislikes the fact that we own a Subaru. He's a GM man through and through.

So stemming from a conversation with him I came to the conclusion that a '90s era Jeep Cherokee would be a good choice. 4WD, family sized and dependable, a Cherokee would serve us well, though would be a gas burner and not fuel efficient at all. But we've so reduced our dependency on fossil fuels so far, I don't think we'd break the bank, so to speak, by going with a 6 cyl. Jeep.

And then there is the unspoken option of looking into other modes. Electric? Hybrid? Horse?

Our family transportation needs at the moment require us to have a vehicle. There is no way it would be feasible for Mandy and the kids to bike year round to school. There are factors which make it extremely difficult. I know my wife would embrace the opportunity if it was feasible for her, but the reality is that bikes just won't solve our transportation needs 100% at this time. The longtails do make it feasible for us to reduce a significant number of local and short trips though, and we are committed to doing so for as long as we can.

Car share is out for us, because the nature of our daily needs. We need a car daily, not just occasionally. Mass transit is a possibility, but not a favorable one for a mom with two young kids in tow. I know so many do it. I know many must live by the bus schedule, but unless we have no other choice I just don't think it would work well for us. Though I do think having better working knowledge of the bus routes would be a good tool for us to have, to make us more resilient in the case that we may not have a working car at some point.

As our finances seem to be somewhat improving, I wrestle with the prospect of getting the second car before the sole four wheeled vehicle in our driveway gives out. It's not a dire situation as of today, but it may become so in the next year. For now our arrangement works, and works fairly well with only the occasional hiccup. And we have the luxury of planning ahead for our next car purchase so hopefully we make the best decision for ourselves and for the future.

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