Monday, November 18, 2013

Ode To The Earthf**ker...


After my bombshell revelation that I'm thinking of trading the Dodge in on a more fuel-efficient vehicle, I've had some time to think about my internal combustion conveyance. It dawned on me that, for the past 20 years, I've owned a pickup truck for more than half of them, and a truck for nearly all of them (the one and only car I owned in that time period got traded for a van, and my second pickup was traded for a Durango after my son was born).

There's something about a pickup truck: It's the ability to help a friend move, or haul a pinewood derby track, or climb into the bed and sleep in (somewhat) dry comfort under the camper shell during a torrential downpour. Two of the three pickups have had extended cabs, meaning that my truck seats more people that most passenger cars these days. I can tow a trailer or bring home a yard of mulch; I can head over to pick up TheBoy and his bike at a friend's house if it's after dark; or I can bring a load of clothes and toys to Salvation Army.

With a new house looming on the horizon, I won't be divesting of the truck any time soon. They are infinitely handy to have when appliances need to be purchased or rugs acquired or furniture brought home from IKEA (yes, we're succumbing. Don't judge us). I may even look into a used commuter car and keep both vehicles - or hold off a year on divesting of the Dodge. Another possibility is relying more on the Harley for commuting - motorcycles can use the HOV lane that is significantly less crowded than the rest of the highway.

Gee, ride more and hold onto my pickup longer? I might be able to get on board with that plan...




And not for nothing, but I traded a Coupe de Ville for my second Dodge Ram...

That is all.

15 comments:

Paul, Dammit! said...

I'd never go back, myself. Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife just doesn't have the cultural cache to appreciate my truck. "But honey, it's got a hemi!"

Harley season runs, what? Late April to early December down there?

Geodkyt said...

1. Keep the Earthf*cker for hauling.

2. Ride the bike as much as possible for the HOV access.

3. Get a beater commuter for the mileage in inclemnent weather.

Balancing appropriate insurance coverage for each mode of transport to achieve acceptable costs is the key.

Geodkyt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geodkyt said...

Heck, as much as I HATED the Purple Turd (an "aubergine" {"eggplant", i.e., "purple" to guys} Cavalier) it was a GREAT commuter car, and I paid $500 for it.

Jester said...

Coming from someone that can't afford a truck like that..
If you got the thing paid off what harm does it do or how much does it really cost you a year to maintain it and insure it? For those times that you could argue renting a truck for as often as you are likely to need it would that cost outstrip the costs of keeping what you have?

Formynder said...

I just upgraded to a brand new 2013 Tacoma with a double cab, and I'm loving every minute of it. Well, apart from the minutes at a gas station. I wouldn't really want a larger truck in the NoVA area what with the miniscule sized parking spaces.

Ian Argent said...

It's a little extreme, but I know of several people in the Smart community who own a pick-em-up truck and bought a Smart to commute with. the savings in gas more than covered their car payment. I imagine you could get a Yaris and do the same thing - they're nearly as cheap to fuel per-mile; worse gas mileage, but drink cheaper gas.
The reason this works is because Smarts are dirt cheap - they start at $13K, and everything you need and most of what you want fits under $17K new. That's roughly half what a prius goes for. OTOH, your commute is perfect for a hybrid, so that might factor in as well.

Geodkyt said...

Good point, Ian -- And, IIRC, aren't hybrids eligible for single occupant HOV access in NoVA?

Still, when I think "commuter", I tend to think, "Cheap, used, and no emotional attachment when the wheels fall off in a few years," rather than something that is pricey enough to need a car payment.

Formynder said...

Geodykt- They ended the hybrid HOV access program. Though if you got in early you can keep your plates when you buy new cars. We had a grumpy old guy here at work that is on his 3rd or 4th Prius and he keeps chuckling about his plates.

Ian Argent said...

@Geodkyt - depends on where your opinion of a commuter car falls on the Vimes Boots spectrum, I suppose. I would prefer any care I own to go 10 years+ from when *I* acquire it, and nothing I've owned has failed that metric yet

Geodkyt said...

True. I used to figure, if purchase and repairs (including "big ticket" routine maintenance like timing belt changes) cost me no more than $100/month average over the total service life of the car in MY use, it was a win for me. I'd guess that cost window should shift to $150 or $200 these days, but the theory still applies.

Of course, my view of commuter cars is that they are the most likely to get banged up, so I don't want to invest a whole lot of emotion into them to begin with.

Anonymous said...

2007 Dodge Ram 1500 right?
I got one too.
it's pretty bad when the monthly fuel bill = the car loan bill.
:(
but I luv my truck.
I luv the sound of the pipes when I turn the key on and purge $1 of gas. I luv not having to look UP at every minivan that goes by.
and I really luv the haulage space and tow capacity.

Ian Argent said...

@Geodkyt - Most likely is still fairly unlikely. I've had 3 fender benders in 24 years of commuting, one of which was my fault, and all the rest I've not been out of pocket on the repairs due to insurance. Two of those were on the same vehicle, on the same commute (which I no longer do), almost 20 years ago.

At any rate, you can probably pick up a pretty decent used Smart for a not-unreasonable amount of cash on barrelhead; they don't appear to have THAT great a resale value. I just have no feel for the used car market in the DC area, and I know what the new car price on one is. Or get a Yaris or something else in that class; the Smart is the most fuel-cost efficient non-hybrid, but a couple of other cars come close by not requiring premium (fueleconomy.gov has a nifty tool you can use to compare fuel costs per mile and you can specify your own numbers miles driven and ratio of city to highway miles. You may disagree with the EPA efficiency numbers, but it lets you compare apples to apples)

Geodkyt said...

Oh, I agree -- just my experience buying cars is generally of the "ten years old, 100,000 miles on teh clock" variety until lately, because I'm cheap, and shudder at the thought of car payments. :)

No good feel for if a newer used high efficiency car is actually cheaper, TCO to the secondary buyer, than a pretty good Honda or Toyota mid efficiency car with a few more years on it.

Cargosquid said...

I don't know if you know this yet...but there is a huge IKEA right down the road from your new home.