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Bright Ideas

The new cars

 


I’ve been watching lots of advertisements for cars. Maybe those are more generously assigned to baseball games that I watch most evenings. Brands start with 2017 models of Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Subaru, Audi, Lincoln, Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Ford, and Chevy. Henry Ford would be astounded at the changes made.

Ford and Chevy trucks don’t advertise much in urban areas where professional baseball contests are held.

These cars have reduced fuel consumption, but it doesn’t take a lot of fuel to give those little cars a push. What isn’t advertised are larger vans to seat six or more passengers. Heavier, taller, larger vans with wheelchair lifts would have to get much more fuel efficient, because it takes a bigger push to roll them along.

In 2006, Medicaid Waiver told me if I could find a van where I could sit next to the driver, in two or fewer weeks, costing a fixed amount or under a given price, they would buy it for me. They pointed me in the direction of such a site, and we completed the transaction early!

It arrived the day before my daughter’s August 6, 2006 wedding on Ekalaka’s courthouse lawn. We pulled up early for photographs in a very long, 2005 Chevy van. My son noted later, it was a, “13 person van with only two riders.” I don’t know if it would have held 13 people, but we pulled out all seats but the driver’s, installed flip up, shorter seats, and added a wheelchair lift to a rear entrance.

We asked for a seatbelt for me, tie downs in front, and we were ready for the open road.

That’s where we learned the gas mileage was only 18 miles per gallon! A round trip to Miles City would take approximately 13 gallons. With gas prices of $2.50/gallon, a trip would cost $33.33. A round trip to Baker and back would run nearly $9.70. Could you justify a trip to Baker just to pick up a few groceries and sugar free peanut butter cups?

Brice drives his pickup when I’m not along; we’ll take the van to the dentist in Baker soon and while I’m in the chair he can pick up the peanut butter cups. On our way out of town we’ll stop by the pharmacy to see if any prescriptions need to go to the nurse’s station at Dahl Memorial. That’s a volunteer service many people perform for me.

I’m waiting to see when national car manufacturers will produce a van that would fit me: smaller with much better gas mileage. Although Brice transports me fewer than 1000 miles each year; that doesn’t make a big difference in greenhouse gases. And at 20+ mpg, his pickup travels fewer than 3000 miles a year. That, too, doesn’t leave a big greenhouse gas collection.

 

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