Economical Cars

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australia_car3 My oldest daughter was in Australia for a college semester abroad and sent me this photo.  She said that almost all the vehicles on the road there are of similar style.  With the exception of delivery trucks and the occasional pickup, drivers all get around with these types of cars.   I think this shows that we could easily make some changes in that direction here in the U.S. if we could just adjust our thoughts about what we need to drive every day.  Our need to use our big SUVs and trucks for every trip out could really be tempered if we were committed to it. As JD wrote in his post here, “Energy Security IS National Security IS Economic Security”.

Even those of us, (like me), that have the need for a pickup truck, can choose to drive a second, smaller car, (me again), for 90% of our trips.  When you account for the fuel savings, reduced insurance, and lower maintenance on the small car, even if you own both a large vehicle and a small one, you can save money and fuel.  Fuel prices do seem to be the driving factor behind what we drive.  I noticed in the past when the price of gas and diesel went way up, a lot more small cars arrived on the roads.  Then, when fuel prices drop, more large SUVs and trucks make their way back on to the road.  Now fuel is high again but it seems to be having less of an effect on what we drive than in previous years.

In Australia the decision to drive these fuel efficient cars is not reached because of fuel prices.  My daughter says the price of gas where she was in south west Australia is the equivalent of $2.80 U.S. per gallon.  So they just have a different mindset towards what they need to drive everyday.  Does anyone think we will ever get to that point here in the U.S.?

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Will Sig
1 JD Thomas

Living in a large city (Philadelphia) I know people that manage to live without a car at all and use PhillyCarShare when they need a vehicle. Those people are rare, but more common are folks like Brian and I who have scaled down to the smallest cars we can comfortably use and when we need a truck we just rent it for the day from UHaul or Home Depot.

This saves on parking hassles (we have on street parking in my neighborhood) as well as on insurance since we really rarely need to haul things that are too big for our cars more than 2-3 times a year.

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2 Steve

Hey Will,
I’ve seen a few “smart cars” here in California and they look so cute. I have no idea how much they cost though. I think we’ll see smaller cars when gas prices go back up. Notice I said “when” and not “if”. If any politicians had the courage to implement a real gas tax we might see them sooner. ~ Steve, the trade show guru

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3 Will

JD- For one of the years when I lived in San Francisco, I did just that. I found I was needing a vehicle every weekend and with my dog it just was not working. So I bought a yellow Toyota SR5 pickup. Easy to park and perfect for my needs.

Steve – I think you are correct but what intrigues me about the cars in Australia is that the price of gas is not high, relatively speaking. I think the populace there just has a different mindset towards what type of vehicle they need. And that mindset has little to do with the cost of fuel.

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4 Anna

I used to laugh at the little SmartCars on the highway, but I think those would be great here, lol. I my self prefer small cars, but then explain that to my husband lol. Will I visited Germany couple of years ago, and you know what was the dominant transporation – a bike. I couldn’t believe they had dedicated parking lot for bikes at the zoo, and there must have been hundreds of them. This will be my future transportation, lol….Anna 🙂

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5 Shanavas

When I think about car earlier I only thought about big size cars. But now I am planning to buy a small car only. It is much economical and also easy to drive in narrow roads

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6 Joey Logano

I am not sure if the SUV dominance will change unless something drastic happens. The change in gas price back when it used to cost $4.25 per gallon helped it, but now that the gas price is lower, not many people are concerned. I think the SUV’s have become a way of life and whats “cool” for Americans, so I am not sure how to change that.

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7 William

Will,
Yes I agree that a pick up truck is a handy item to have. My wife and I also have a Honda Accord that gets 33 mpg and we commute to work almost daily in the Honda. We also take trips in it. At present I would be afaid to drive a “smart car” or similar sized car. Whe you stop next to a Ford 250 it is a scary thing. Getting hit in one of the small cars is likely fatal. I also owned a Honda CRX it was fun, but very easily intimidated. I mostly use the tuck for hauling stuff for home, mulch, taking yard waste to recycle, etc. Also being older and wider, a small car can be very uncomfortable. People who live in large cities may not need a car, but the rest of us do. Create an efficient train service in the rural areas like was common in the 40’s and we will all use it. Good Day.

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8 Tony McGurk

Here in Tasmania, the main southern part of Australia LOL we have lots of these small sized cars on the roads. Our car is only marginally bigger than the one in the photo. I mainly use my super duper petrol miser 125cc motor scooter to ride to work & around town. Our car is very economical too, I only use it if my wife & I go anywhere together or if I need to carry anything that I can’t fit under the seat & in the rear carry box of my scooter..

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9 Tony

Here in Tasmania, the main southern part of Australia LOL we have lots of these small sized cars on the roads. Our car is only marginally bigger than the one in the photo. I mainly use my super duper petrol miser 125cc motor scooter to ride to work & around town. Our car is very economical too, I only use it if my wife & I go anywhere together or if I need to carry anything that I can’t fit under the seat & in the rear carry box of my scooter..

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10 Will

Tony – It is amazing how different other countries are. Here in the US, someone like you would be considered eccentric. I just consider you smarter than the average US driver. As I have mentioned before, I have a full size pickup truck but mainly drive a 21 year old Toyota Corolla. The truck is 9 years old with 50,000 miles, mainly long camping trips and the like where it is needed. The western US is a big place! I have never liked motor bikes of any sort. Too dangerous for my liking on our roads here. Great fuel economy though!

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11 Tony McGurk

I’ve never been eccentric before, Wow I kinda like the idea. Maybe I need to get a funny hat & ummmm… I dunno, what eccentric people really dress like
.-= Tony´s last blog ..Don’t Try This At Home =-.

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12 Tony

I’ve never been eccentric before, Wow I kinda like the idea. Maybe I need to get a funny hat & ummmm… I dunno, what eccentric people really dress like
.-= Tony´s last blog ..Don’t Try This At Home =-.

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13 Max

Wow, this post is a year old and now that gas is over $3 here in the US and pickups/SUVs are still the most bought cars in the country I think it’s safe to say that gas prices are not really affecting the cars people choose. I do like the Australian mentality about the smaller and more efficient cars. In fact, I spend a lot of time sitting in traffic, and I’ve realized that if everyone’s cars were 4 feet shorter, that would make a difference of being a few miles closer to my destination. So not only are these cars more efficient, they also contribute to less wasted gas while driving through traffic. -Max

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14 Amanda Sanders

those cars are so cute ! I ‘ll get one of those soon 🙂

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