Thursday, April 06, 2006

Car Talk

Yesterday, the price of a gallon of gas at the corner station we usually frequent was $2.39. This morning: $2.75. That's a 15% price increase overnight. And it's not uncommon. I don't know if it's unique to this area or if it's unique to the midwest in general or what, but we never had such dramatic price increases on the Gulf Coast. You might get that kind of increase over a week, but never over a night.

Which got me thinking some more about a new car. I'll admit I've had new-car-itis for a while now. Ever since G got heavy enough that lifting her into the back seat of an Xterra caused back strain. Let's see, that's been almost 2 years now! I've been wanting a plain, 4-door sedan that gets good gas mileage.

For a while I did the research on Hybrids. After a while I decided not to go that route for a variety of reasons (higher upfront cost not really balanced with fuel savings with highway driving). Then I turned my sites to diesel. Back in Houston, we had some friends who owned a Volkswagon Jetta diesel. They had done some aftermarket mods on it and it got upwards of 50-60 MPG highway driving.

Doing a little research today, I learned that the diesel market in Europe is exploding. It's a cleaner burning fuel and much cheaper to produce. Plus diesel engines can be tuned to get much better gas mileage. There are a number of diesel options in Europe. In the states, the only option at the moment for a sedan seems to be the Jetta.

So I'm trying to do all my homework and work the numbers and see where they fall. Basically I have to see if the numbers would actually convince J to give up our sporty Miata because that's what we'd have to do to pay for a new car.

If any of you have any advice or anecdotes to offer on this issue, I'd be most interested to hear them. I'm by no means settled on any one particular thing at this point and I'll take anything into consideration.

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