I Am Driving the Last Gasoline Powered Vehicle I Will Ever Buy

Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 12:45am
They just don’t get it.
Last night on the ABC World News with Charlie Gibson, they were talking about the admission earlier in the day by GM that in spite of all the bailout money they’d already taken, they are closer now to bankruptcy than before. Their suppliers are going out of business. Their raw materials are more expensive than ever. People are too frightened and insecure in this economy to buy a car from a company that might be going broke…. 

So — wait a minute. Consumers are too frightened and insecure to buy a car from them?

What is it about the price of oil/gas, the dependence on foreign oil, concern for the environment, and becoming less wasteful that the media, big business, and the politicians don’t understand?

I AM DRIVING THE LAST GASOLINE POWERED VEHICLE I WILL EVER BUY.

I have been saying that for 4 years. And I mean it. I am not buying another automobile until I can buy one that breaks the cycle of waste, polution, and pouring all our country’s money into our enemy’s pockets. Period. And quite frankly, if GM, Ford — if ANYautomobile company had been paying attention, they would have realized that I am not alone in my resolve, and they would have gotten the idea back in 2004.

We are empty nesters. We bought this mini-van because we needed cargo space for our toy shop, and because we wanted to take one last month-long driving vacation before it became impractical in the face of rising gas prices. We drove from the Texas Panhandle via Route 66 until we ran out of road; we were Indianapolis for the Indy 500; then we took the backroads through Ohio and Penn. Amish country, national forests, and some outrageously beautiful mountains; then we stopped over in western NY — you know — where the Baseball Hall of Fame is? We visited my favorite pigment dealer in the Anarondak (sp?) Mountains, then got to NYC in time to see Wicked on Broadway with the original cast, visit NYCentral Art Supply, the Metropolitan Museum, and have a fabulous dinner on a cool June evening.

We drove our little van to New Hampshire — and got soooo lost in the lakes, summer camps, vacation homes, and mountains that we missed using our tickets to Garrison Keillor’s live show in an open-air amphitheater. So we sat in the van and listened to it on the radio. We spent almost a full week toddling around NH and Vermont, visiting places I’d only read about — then through the vineyards of northern NY to Buffalo and Niagra Falls. We even stayed in one of the old tiny cabin motels for honeymooners built back when Niagra Falls was the destination of choice for such things. Now, the Canadian side of the falls has been so built up with casinos, all-balcony high-rise hotels, and Hard Rock Cafes, that if you try and look at the falls from Buffalo, all you see is neon — and if you try and look at the falls from Canada, all you see is traffic exhaust.

We learned we love Hannibal, MO. Enough to maybe retire there someday. We learned there is great merit in staying in mom-and-pop owned cheap-ish motels rather than the sterile, cookie cutter hotel rooms of the big chains. We learned main-stream denominational churches are going out of business from here to the Canadian border, and being replaces with one-off churches that don’t want to be identified with the bickering, rule-bound labels of the past. We learned we never never never want to try and find a hotel room in St. Louis when there’s a biker rally there the same weekend.

So now we have this lovely little paid-for mini van. It’s been scraped up and dented by rocks in New Mexico, and fence rows in East Texas. It’s had a flat in a 35-degree hail storm on a 2-lane highway on the way to a funeral.

But being sentimental about a vehicle is not on the menu. I’m sentimental about the places we’ve been. Even if we never take another driving vacation — maybe we’ll go by high-speed rail next time.

But we’re not buying another gas-powered car from GM, Toyota, or Audi or anybody else. Doesn’t matter who makes it. If GM and Ford and Volkswagon and Benz can’t see the writing on the wall and make me a car that doesn’t pollute and doesn’t depend on fuel purchased with the blood of men and women I see in the grocery markets every day — then I will walk, switch to a bicycle, and wait for somebody to get the message.

Fear has nothing to do with this. And no matter how good or bad the stock market is doing — I don’t buy high-ticket items from companies too stupid to get such a basic idea!

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