OK, allow me to have a second go at this. I think the first one sounded a little bit soapbox-ish. I was in a hurry. Saturdays are busy days chez moi, plus we had to have a rehearsal, because Woodsongs would like each of the three songs we are to play on Monday to be no longer than 3.5 minutes – that’s 3 1/2 for the Americans…
Well, the question is not just how often you’d need to rent a bigger car, but over what intervals. Now, I guess it depends, from person to person–hey, I can’t even drive yet, so I don’t know much about this, lol. But some people have families that can’t fit in those tiny (and really cool-looking) cars, and some people might need a bigger car one or two days every week, in which case renting might become a bit of a hassle.
I think you made a good point, Adam. Obviously a Tango is not for everyone. But it is great for a single person or an excellent second car – I have two friends who each have an SUV and a Porsche 911…
I think the point I was most trying to make is that we often buy cars, and believe me so have I… cough cough Mercedes Geländewagen (I had one from 1992-1995) cough cough… well, I bought it used, OK? …where was I? Oh yes, we buy cars in order to fulfill some sort of ego transfer – I am cool if I have a cool car, because that’s what all of the advertising tells us.
The car is an American dream. Even though the 4 stroke engine was invented by the German Nicolaus Otto – there is a statue to him in front of the railway station of Köln-Deutz, where I grew up – and the car was invented independently by the gentlemen Daimler and Benz – one built a three wheeled car and the other a four-wheeled vehicle and together they much later built the Mercedes for a Spanish industrialist… the car really became the full-blown crack drug in these endless states of the west, where no other mode of transportation quite as much meant independence, yes? And now L.A. is all about cars, but that’s because mass transit was sold out to Detroit by the politicians – and that’s another story.
Well, somehow my parents made do with two boys and a little VW Beetle… ands then the 12M, a Ford built in Cologne, Germany. We really thought we were in the lap of luxury when my dad bought a used Audi 80…
Obviously a contractor or carpenter or drummer will need something bigger than the Tango. But, most of the vehicles I see on the road are only carrying one person – most of the time. Check out commuting hours around L.A. or any other car-dependend city – it’ll amaze you.
Fact is that Americans love their cars and cars have become their surrogate bodies. You’ll see a really out-of-shape guy climb out of a Corvette and think he is the coolest… meaning some kind of transfer happens, where the car becomes us and as long as the car is cool, we don’t have to eat right, or go to the gym… we don’t have to be strong, as long as we are sitting in a Hummer. Dig?
If a person is afraid of traffic, s/he’ll buy a giant SUV to feel safer (which is not true if you check out facts about their safety record) – instead of taking an evasive driving course. The driving course will make you more confident and a better driver and will save you money.
As far as the environment goes, a lot of people are thinking the hydrogen fuel cell is going to save us in a couple years – and along with that I think there’s the conception that fuel cell cars will be the same size and horsepower as most current cars. I’m not sure about all that, I haven’t really researched it, that’s just what I’ve heard other people say. But like you said in an earlier post “baby steps”.
Anyway, I just think a little pocketbook incentive could go a long way in promoting efficient cars.
You are making two very good points. Yes, there should be an fiscal incentive – although I believe that is unlikely to happen anytime soon since too many jobs, read votes, are tied up by GM and Chrysler and Ford etc… And yes, we need to start getting used to less powerful cars again. The incredible inflation of horse power over the last few years is ridiculous. Some of the sport-cars twenty years ago had less horse power than many regular sedans have these days. Oh, and check out this find by Carol:
DaimlerChrysler AG has no qualms about ignoring female tastes – at least when it comes to selling Dodge cars. The new Dodge Magnum sport wagon and a soon-to-be-released Dodge Charger, a modern update of the classic muscle car from the 1960s, are very much targeted at a male audience, said Trevor Creed, design chief at the company’s U.S.-based Chrysler unit.
“It does scream male, there’s no doubt about that. We found that in our market research and focus groups,” he said at an automotive conference in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.
What does that say about us men? I think it says two things:
1. Economical and efficient, earth-friendly cars need to look and feel sexier.
2. Guys have to get with the program and be a little less superficial.