Mama’s Little Gold Car, Daddy’s Little Blue Car, and The Orange Car

So, what are y’all doing about the current gasoline crisis? Is $4.00/gallon a tipping point for you? *Is* it a crisis?

MMCB and I were over at Barry’s this morning solving all of the world’s problems gossiping and, since no deer have died in her yard lately, the talk veered off into the realm of four dollars a gallon. I think the mortgage greed crisis had a cameo role in our spirited discussion too. We are both highly opinionated about how people should run their lives and we were being all high-minded about what *we* were doing to make the world a better place and what he/she/it/Yahoudi should do, etc., etc., ad nauseam. But we became stymied when it came to making any kind of prediction about the long-term effect this will all have on “the economy” and what shape any changes will take.

Personally. I gave up my minivan the POC a few years ago. Happily for the most part, although I cried when I drove away from it. I’ve been driving mainly two Honda sedans for the last few years. Gas mileage was a consideration behind that change but I have to admit it wasn’t really the foremost one. After the POC’s serpentine belt frayed at 13,000 miles and another umpteen little problems happened before the vee-hickle was out of warranty, I never had a whole lot of confidence in its reliability. And then it was hit by a tornado and then a tree fell on it. The tornado didn’t actually do much damage but after the tree fell on it, it just never felt right any more. I had been hoping they’d total it, but no… Not to mention that, in its later years, oftentimes I was the *only* person in the vee-hickle. It’s one thing to be hauling your kids and their friends around. But me and a couple bags of groceries? Hmmm.

Full-time employment has had the best effect on my carbon footprint. Although I drive to work five days a week, it is only an eight-mile commute to the south side of town. I am no longer randomly driving willy-nilly around town on multiple separate errands. If I need to buy groceries, I hit the Saline Rd. Meijer, which is on the way home. Or I walk to the Plum Market. Depending on what I need. But then, we still travel north frequently and there’s no way I can cut that out of my life.

I dunno. Is four dollars a tipping point? Have you changed your driving habits? What are you doing to change your habits? Are you biking or taking public transportation? Can you reasonably *take* a bike or public transportation to your work or wherever it is that you have to go? Are you still driving a hummer? Are you still driving a hummer with a beer in one hand, a ciggie in the other and a cell phone in, um, we’ve run outta hands… Okay, I was kidding with that last question. What do you think the future holds?

P.S. We won’t talk about The Indefatigable. It is a legacy vee-hickle. Kinda like Fortran.

13 Responses to “Mama’s Little Gold Car, Daddy’s Little Blue Car, and The Orange Car”

  1. Maquis Says:

    I seem to recall a conversation with Jim and Bill about super polluters. Iā€™m glad my folks gifted their 1970 Mercedes diesel. It could probably out pollute a Mack. Although, it is probably still out there somewhere. It was a tank. I think it had well over 300K when they passed it on to a nice young military couple in Monterey.

  2. Maquis Says:

    My one reget is they never let me drive it.

  3. Valdemort Says:

    I run a program at work that was written in Fortran.

  4. Jay Says:

    Well we have the Prius for commuting, and there are three of us that try to carpool at least a few times a week to get to work (25 miles). The guys have tried the bus a few times, even though it is at least one transfer and over an hour. This is definately an improvement from when I started at work 20 years ago. We had to buy a car so I could get to work. The bus was only a commuter, and I go in the reverse direction.

    Now with old one hand I will do my commuting in the Mazda (not bad on gas either). The bus will come I am sure, but not quite yet. And I paid $4.45/gallon yesterday. My best car – still the 1980 Honda Civic. Regularly got 40 miles per gallon before it was fashionable. At 280,000 though it was time to move on (to the Mazda). I still have a warm spot for Hondas.

  5. jane Says:

    Valdemort – I’m sure you are not poo-pooing Fortran. it was a fine language back in the day, and apparetnly still has spots for application. not everything has to be new and shiny.

    Cars – well I’ve only ever had 2 Hondas. I’m in the midst of spending $2500 which isn’t fun, but the car is 10 years old, so I’m making an investment and hoping for an additional 10 years. AND the bonus is that my gas mileage has improved nicely since the work has been done. not sure exactly which part of ‘fixing’ helped the mileage, but I’ll certainly take it.

    I can’t say if $4 is the tipping point, but mentally it’s shocking to finish filling the tank (yes, the light had come on the day before so it was very low) and have the total be $59.97. the shock was such that I exclaimed ‘holy sh*t’. in my outloud voice. I’m sure the guy on the other side of the pump knew what I was talking about. I no longer just go out for a ‘Sunday drive’ down Huron River drive as I may have in the past.

  6. kayak woman Says:

    Jane: I miss that Huron River Drive thing too, although I have to admit to still doing it on a Sunday here and there. Just not every other day.

    Fortran? Yes. It is alive and well, and many establishments are still using it. I think Fortran programmers will be in demand in the coming years, as companies try to upgrade their old stuff.

    When I was writing a resume during a “professional practices” class, a teacher advised me to omit my (fairly extensive) Fortran experience. With some trepidation, I did omit it. Then, during an interview, when my boss heard that I had Fortran, he wrote “FORTRAN” in big letters across my Fortran-lacking resume.

  7. Sandy Says:

    I’m not sure what the tipping point will be. Tucson gas is $3.83. We have two old cars (20yrs with 70,000 miles, and 12 yrs with 67,000 miles) and they aren’t the most efficient. But, we don’t put many miles on in a year unless we take a major trip. Most of the 67000 miles were multiple trips to Tucson from Salt Lake looking for property, then building a house, and moving ourselves. There were also several trips back to the midwest. We live about 5 miles from the nearest store so we just try to limit trips and combine outings — post office, bank, grocery store, etc. I volunteer one day a week about 8 miles away. That is when I get to go to Costco, Home Depot, Target, the mall, etc. The truck will make one more trip back to South Dakota, Michigan, Tennessee and Arkansas the end of August, then hopefully we can agree on a car that meets all of our criteria. Mass transit only available from my destination to the downtown area. I had a Honda for a year or two in Salt Lake, but had to go back to a Subaru to get up and down the snowy hills. Reluctantly sold the Subaru when we left Salt Lake — don’t need 4 WD in Tucson, plus the truck has 4WD.

  8. jane Says:

    $3.83??? cool! here (Ann Arbor) it is currently $4.18 – 4.35.

    This past weekend I was talking to a friend as he drove (carefully, with both hands on the steering wheel šŸ˜‰ and he said ‘hey – gas is only $4.09’, to which I replied ‘that’s not bad’. What is wrong with us that suddently $4.09 is a good price???

  9. gg Says:

    I still use FORTRAN at work; perhaps 20K lines of code. I also use Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications (heaviest use), Visual Studio C++, C, and a few other cheap tricks.

  10. Dog Mom Says:

    I doubt that Valdemort was “poo-pooing” FORTRAN, just commenting that it is still alive and well and living at the USDA or some such location. I liked it when I was using it – albeit for too-short a portion of my programming life (also too-short a period in my bigger-picture life šŸ˜‰ ). For some reason, there are folks out there who seem to think that going to ever-higher-level programming languages is *always* a good thing; I disagree. But, at least FORTRAN isn’t Assembler Language, either *whew*.

    I recall even being able to interpret portions of a hexadecimal core dump at one brief moment of history….

    As for tipping points? Yeah, I tipped and changed jobs at the time the gas prices were beginning their skyrocket! From a 60-mile round-trip commute to something like a 5-mile round trip. And gave myself a Quality of Life improvement too – I hope!!

  11. isa Says:

    i think we’re going to experience reverse suburban sprawl, when people realize that in a lot of ways densely populated areas make more sense. i have seen as high as $4.79 here in the bay, and am coping by moving my car essentially only to avoid street cleaning tickets. i did take it camping the other weekend but that was the first time i had driven significantly since we moved in may…

  12. Valdemort Says:

    Jane — not poo-pooing Fortran at all! I like it — very easy to read. I’ve been doing JS programming at work and I like that language a little less. It’s . . . wordy. Fortran’s pretty simple to read. VIM’s fun too. : )

  13. Maquis Says:

    Ah FORTRAN, I met my wife to be while learning to speak BASIC in high school. We started dating the next semester while learning to speak FORTRAN II It was a pigeon tongue, full of GO TO 1ā€™s and IF (X=Y) 1,2,3. Not much syntax, very little alliteration, I mean what can you do with a six character variable name. At semester break we started dating by going to see Bob Seger and the MC5. Is it logical to love? I hope so.