Cars, Communism and Consumerism

I have three months left with my current car.

Some readers may have seen by travelling around in my red Mini.

I have had three Minis over the past ten years.

For the most I have enjoyed these cars although recently when I discovered I had achieved a state of negative equity I decided enough was enough.

When I say negative equity, something I had only though related to houses, I understand the payment scheme I have been using has left me owing more than my car is worth. Or, something along those lines. You see, I was thinking of going for a fourth Mini when the garage revealed to me my financial state.

I was a little annoyed as I am sure when they sold me my current car no one mentioned anything about equity and I only really bought it because my the manual handbrake on my last car gave-way (with child inside on a steep incline) and it was too small to accommodate my son’s bass guitar.

Anyway, less of that.

I am looking for a new car.

And, it’s a minefield.

From what I can tell, you can buy petrol, diesel, electric and two types of hybrid.

There is something called a hydrogen car which I only discovered yesterday although those don’t look like they are going to become mainstream.

And here is my dilemma.

I don’t think diesel is a goer. For all they are good for miles to the gallon, they are apparently the worst for the environment. Noisy too.

The bad-old-days.

So, petrol, electric or one of the two types of hybrid.

You might be wondering about the Communism in the title?

Well, I was I think 15 at the time, at the height of my idealism, when I remember expressing to my big brother that I couldn’t see the point in all the choice in the shops.

‘Why so many types of coffee, biscuit or cereal,’ I asked, and this, somewhere in the late 80’s when there actually not that many types of coffee, biscuit or cereal on the supermarket shelves.

‘Are you some sort of Communist?’ He asked.

I filed-away the question which has left me pondering ever since.

In many respects I can’t be bothered with choice. I seem to be getting worse the older I get.

I know Obama and Einstein are two examples of people who had their thoughts so much on other things that varying selection of shirt or tie was not on their cognitive list.

Obama Style

Recently I have resorted to online ordering jeans and shirts based on the sizes of old designs; saves going to the shops and I know they fit.

I guess this is a little like the Mini situation.

Please don’t think me boring, although I realise that is what I am.

My dad, for his 40-odd working career had Cheddar Cheese sandwiches every day.

He was a man of unwavering taste.

Choice is one of those things that when present I can’t be bothered-with, but taken away becomes a big-thing.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into my psyche here, but take me to a restaurant and I don’t really care what I get.

I know part of this is a neurological process; it is the rule of heuristics. Essentially, in-build cognitive tracks that allow us to act without thinking or without dedicating too much mental energy.

A way to conserve energy.

Bruce Lee would have been pleased.

Getting back to cars.

Petrol, seems the worst as it will help accelerate global warming and costs at the pump (as they say), yet these cars seem to be the least expensive, I could therefore get a better car, albeit at the cost of the planet and my children’s chagrin.

Then there is electric which is the best in terms of poisoning the environment although I know the cost (in a planetary sense) of making a new car, petrol or electric is significant and no matter how ‘clean’ the car companies say they are I know there is havoc being wrought in Africa and South America mining such things at Lithium and other rare-earth metals.

Electric appear to be the most expensive.

In the middle are hybrid.

Until yesterday I thought there was just one hybrid.

It seems there are two kinds – one, the more old-fashioned Prius type which charges the battery as you drive, converting braking and downhill coasting energy into electric that is stored in the battery and used for driving short distances and booting the petrol engine. You can drive for two or three miles on electric before flipping back to petrol.

This doesn’t seem that great and although it makes your petrol car a little more efficient, it is nothing special.

Then there are plug-in hybrids which have batteries that can last for 30 or 40 miles then flip over the petrol; if you are driving petrol your efficiency is less as the battery weighs about 100Kg, meaning overall you are carrying around a dead-weight. These are OK for short trips in and around town.

The jury is out on these although I almost bought one yesterday by accident.

Add-in to the mix all the financial mechanisms with a host of different acronyms, hire purchase, pay as you go, or whatever and I am in a mess.

This is why I became fed-up yesterday and decided, ‘I want a red car.’ This was followed by a call to a local dealership.

The only thing that is certain is I want a red car.

The rest is choice and confusion. Obfuscation and complexity.

I wrote this blog with the idea that it might help me come to a conclusion.

I need to hand-back my car by the end of September.

The clock is ticking.

I doff my cap to the Trabant.

Trabant_601_JM_09.03.2020

5 thoughts on “Cars, Communism and Consumerism

  1. Oddly enough, the last time I saw a Trabi was at Sarah and Christian’s wedding. Some sort of obscure omen perhaps? You’ll note that in spite of the ”government’s” (I use the term loosely) best efforts I and Christine have so far avoided the present plague. Worryingly my younger daughter Jane and her younger daughter Emily have not been so fortunate, both being engaged in the educational system. No hospitalisation has been necessary I am relieved to report.
    I hope that you and yours are keeping well (apart that is from the mental turmoil you have described.)
    Love to you all, Alan (uncle).

    An afterthought – would it be possible to devise some sort of bass guitar carrying bracket to a tandem bicycle?

    Like

    1. Thank you Alan – great to hear from you!

      The only real Trabant I have ever seen as at Sarah’s wedding – they are not common on the roads these days. Maybe there should be an electric version.

      Sorry to hear about Jane and Emily – I hope they have fully recovered; this is the new normal – Covid isn’t going anywhere.

      Best wishes & it would be good to see you some time.

      I’ll speak with Rami about the bike option.

      Like

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