Monday, April 2, 2012

Consider a Kenmore

Our search isn't over. I mentioned that this could take six months and I wasn't kidding. Part of it is my desire to make the move when I'm damn well ready. But the other part is my distractions - not just life distractions (shower leaking through kitchen ceiling; son needs braces), but auto industry distractions.

Gas prices are on the rise again because. . . well let's just say it: Because summer is coming and the warmth of spring makes the greed blooms blossom. At over $4 a gallon in my home state, it's now a whopping $80 to fill the Explorer's tank. $320 a month on gas makes a guy think - especially when many predict a $5+ price by summer.

I've been paying attention to the Chevy Volt since it was just a concept. And BOY, did the concept look better than the production reality (see photo above). Back in 2010, while Ant and I were attending Stephen Colbert's "Keep Fear Alive" rally in D.C. (look - it's STILL alive!), we had a chance to drive a pre-production Volt around a parking lot test track. It didn't come close to giving us a real world feel for the car, but you know I was all tingly the whole time. It was a cool experience. And if you've been reading this blog, I'll add that Chevy gave us a free frozen yogurt coupon after the drive. It's the very yogurt experience I mention in the Passat blog. Oh! I just found the pic I took of Ant after he tasted the frozen deceit. Enjoy.

Knowing that a Volt purchase came with a tax incentive, I contacted my accountant to see if a pre-4/15 purchase would have an impact on my return. Unfortunately, a Volt purchase this year wouldn't bring any relief to my 2011 taxes. I'd have to wait till next year.

That whooshing sound you hear is either the wind exiting my sails or Ant's sigh of relief. He wants to drive an electric about as much as I want to wear Crocs.

The real point here is that I've uncovered my green side and must confess that it has little to do with chlorophyll and everything to do with cash. A $7,000 deduction on taxes and serious savings at the pump could make Volt a contender. Long-range trips would require us to rent something. But such jaunts are few and far between. Our daily driving really involves around-town stuff and twice-weekly, 90-minute trips to get me to and from the train.

Ant made his feelings plain. And I admit I'm not even sure I could make the image and performance trade-off. I would miss that magic moment when fossil fuel combusts at the tap of my right foot and my neck snaps back. I'd also miss that over-the-shoulder look I give my car every time I walk away from it. It's a guy thing. And I simply can't see myself doing that with a vehicle that seems less like a car and more like an appliance. Not to mention, the Volt ain't cheap. $40 g's ($33,000 after the tax credit). That's a $350/mo. payment on a car with the panache of a 2003 Chrysler Sebring. That's Volvo money.

I can proselytize from both sides of the issue. But the true test will happen in July, the first time a fill-up of the truck hits three digits. You just watch how fast my priorities change.