The Car We Bought for Our Kids

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by jkshow, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. jkshow

    jkshow New Member

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    Hi everyone. I'm a new Prius owner. I'm forty-five years old and this is the first new car I've bought.

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    We looked at the Prius C (put a deposit on one, in fact) and loved it. It's a great car. But for a few dollars more per month (we're financing over a very long term) we were able to get the regular Prius and have more room for our family of four.

    Here's an explanation of why we purchased a Prius:



    The Car We Bought for Our Kids

    The environmental movement became widespread when people my age were adults, yet many of us craved technological solutions from as far back as when we were kids. As a youngster, my parents let me watch the supper news with them. Stories of pollution were common in the '70s. My mom and dad, who lived pay cheque to pay cheque, would fret about the rising price of gas during the energy crises and the increasing cost of heating our home in winter. I remember coming up with an idea as a kid playing with Lego to build a super-insulated house so my parents wouldn't have to worry about money.

    Many of us wondered why using our brains and getting creative couldn't solve the world's pollution problems which seemed destined to cloud our future. How many of us wondered how long it would take for electric cars to become practical, or when solar energy might run our homes? There's no question things haven't progressed as quickly as any of us as kids imagined it would.

    When talk of hybrid cars started to make its way into the North American media in the late 1990s, I immediately took notice. I wondered if a technological solution was finally here. I was enthusiastic from the beginning to hear everything possible about the hybrid car from Japan. I had my doubts, but I followed the car's progression and was excited to see it finally debut in Canada in 1999.

    It took me many years to see one in person, though. In fact it was only a couple years ago that I passed one in Regina for the first time. I was eager to try and get a good look at it. Only last year, I saw a Prius ahead of me in a parking lot. I rolled down the windows to try and hear what sound it made if any. Needless to say, I wished I owned one. The car is as iconic to me as a Corvette or Porche is to a gear head.

    My wife and I have never bought a new car before. We haven't even bought a used car before—at least not one worth more than five hundred dollars. We have always driven clunkers. Almost five years ago we had the chance to drive a relatively shiny, unrusted, ten year-old minivan, fully loaded. It was given to us in lieu of a future inheritance.

    I was against it at first, but we had a second baby on the way and we seemed to need something larger and more reliable. Of course, a ten year old Ford Windstar is not reliable, and I knew that, but we gave in for the chance to drive down the street with some dignity. It was, however, not the type of vehicle either my wife or I would ever choose to drive. It is a large, heavy, and inefficient machine. The type of vehicle everyone else seems to feel they need to drive nowadays.

    I grew up in a time when everyone drove a car. Larger cars than today, granted, but no one saw cars as helpless vehicles that you couldn't drive in the winter. Nor did we see them as a compromise on safety. In the late eighties minivans became popular and were followed by SUVs, all at a time when most people began to seriously seriously consider the consequences of global warming.

    It was like the Texasfication of automobiles. Housewives didn't feel safe in cars anymore. Men didn't feel like men unless they drove something big. Even my chiropractor, who rides a bike to work in the summer, is convinced he needs an SUV here on the arid prairies to track through the few inches of snow we get every year. The view that SUVs are safer and are necessary for winter driving is a myth. They aren't safer, and all-wheel drive won't stop you from sliding into a light pole. Europeans aren't so naive. They can't be with gas prices being twice what ours is at times.

    Statistical studies have shown that SUVs are as safe as the safest mid-size cars. Many SUVs can be less safe than cars due to their high centres of gravity (they're more likely to roll.) Technology such as electronic stability control (mandatory in 2012) are making all vehicles safer than ever. ESC alone is shown to reduce deaths and serious injuries by one third.

    It amazes me that families in our neighbourhood with multiple SUVs in the driveway also have recycling bins in front of their houses. They put all that effort into keeping a few dozen pounds of trash out of the landfill every year but they're more than happy to have each SUV, minivan or truck they own put tonnes more pollution into the atmosphere every year compared to a fuel efficient car. Imagine the number of recycling bins you'd need to put five tonnes of CO2 molecules into.

    Our new car produces 5 metric tonnes fewer CO2 emissions per year than our minivan, based on our modest annual driving habits. Remember the “One Tonne Challenge”? (An energy efficiency campaign by the Canadian government.) How about reducing your carbon footprint by five tonnes simply by being conscious of what vehicle you buy next and using the money you save on gas to go on a non-sinking cruise every couple of years?

    When we started shopping for a car, we didn't presume we'd ever be able to afford a Prius but they've come down in price over the years. Compared to the minivan, we'll save $150 per month on gas on average based on the driving we've done over the past four years. Plus we'll get about $15 per month back from the provincial government in rebates for driving a hybrid. That $2,000 in annual savings enables us to afford a car we otherwise wouldn't.

    In the end, we bought our car for our kids. Sure, using no car at all would have been the best option, but we want our kids to know we weren't complete reckless idiots. The world they will grow old in will be directly affected by the excesses of our generation. When we're long gone and my children are coping with life on a planet in turmoil, we want them to at least know we made some effort to do our part. For them.
     
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  2. Keiichi

    Keiichi Active Member

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    It isn't wreckless unless you bought for the wrong reasons or use the car for the wrong reasons. Personally, I think you did an alright job. You could have gone with other options as well, but you went in with the right reasons.

    As far as the Prius c vs the Prius, in your case, I think the Prius is probably the better fit for your situation for now. The Prius c is for people who want to go in cheap (usually younger people for their first car type experience) or just need a compact type car. A sedan is probably better for the family if not the Prius v wagon, but if that picture is of your kids and you are in your mid 40s, the sedan should be right all around.
     
  3. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    I hate kids and owning a Prius is really NBD.

    But congrats, welcome, and nice picture.
     
  4. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Yes, great picture. Welcome aboard officially!
     
  5. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Welcome

    You're not mad or crazy - the sums do indeed add up. Why do your friends and neighbours run inefficient cars yet complain about the price of fuel? Who knows? It's a madness.

    When I ran my Prius as a taxi people would ask me how I could afford to run a new car as a cab - I couldn't without the fuel savings. My accounts show that I saved £6,000 (US$9,500) over 2 years on fuel alone!?! I had taxi driver friends complain about paying £90 (US$143) to fill up their car yet watch me fill up for £45 (US$71) for the same miles, but still not be convinced by the hybrid.

    Petrol prices are only going to go one way - up. You've bought some time. You've cut your fuel costs in half so fuel prices could double for you before you'd feel the pinch, yet your friends would be struggling.

    You've done a great thing and you'll not regret your decision.
     
  6. BruceInOKC

    BruceInOKC Member

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  7. massparanoia

    massparanoia Active Member

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    Come on, we can welcome a new member better than that.

    Anyway welcome to the forum! Congrats on your first new car purchase, I'm sure it was very exciting for you. It sounds like you did your homework and made an investment that is right for you.
     
  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    In 2010 we drove across Canada from the Quebec border with Maine to Niagara. I counted* 6 Prius and one of those was from New Hampshire. In Niagara itself (for a week) I saw a few more but they were all from the USA.

    So, MacMiserable, to them I'm sure it's a BFD. :D

    OP:
    Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your new car.

    * I may have missed some while driving on the highway through Toronto. No time to look around for anything other than the normal checks.
     
  9. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Same here and I don't have any kids.

    Gotto do something.
     
  10. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    But you bought a Prius for all the same reasons.

    It's OK. We won't tell the guys lumber yard.
     
  11. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Great post!! I'm glad to hear you've joined the rest of us Prius owners! I'm sick of the gas companies polluting the seas, ground and air, and I'm sick of all the politicians they buy with their lies of "Drill, baby!", and Prius lets me fight back. One car at a time.
     
  12. ChipL

    ChipL Active Member

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    Toyota should contact you for an ad. :D And use the pic you attached. :)

    Two months in here with my 2012 P2, and I could not be happier with my choice. Never been one for speed really, loved the handling of cars like my old '99 New Beetle; but very much a sane driver.

    Just read an article recently that shows that all the talk about CAFE mpg's are smoke and mirrors. The CAFE mpg is not what the EPA reports, it is off by like 25%! :(

    Each one of us needs to take and do what we can to help future generations. Paying it forward, doing unto others - whatever belief system you believe in fits (save those that subscribe to I made it, and so can you :().

    I bought my Prius for the mpg's. But I have grown some comfort last week in crawling in traffic on I66 in Arlington Va that I was in EV mode for most of it.

    Loved the fact that my fiancé's cousins (aged 7 to 14) gave their thumbs up to my new ride, though they think we need a chiuha! Thanks Jeff Dunham! :D Did I mention hey are boys? LOL

    I haven't gotten the chance to share the ride with my future niece, but hopefully she will like it as well. I can't wait to hear her words in taking her out in it. :) She is a pip of of a 6yo.....

    Thanks for taking the right steps to break the cycle on what life should be....
     
  13. ChipL

    ChipL Active Member

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    Yours is another great post as well.

    At the risk of moving this post to the Fred's area, we as a nation and a world need to look at the limited oil resources we have.

    For those of us in the US, drilling for more oil will not answer the limited refinery capacity we have to get gas out there. But our system rewards those that have the money to profit off of those with the least money....
     
  14. NYPrius1

    NYPrius1 Active Member

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    Welcome to PC - Love The PIC
     
  15. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    So true. "The car you buy for your kids...even if you don't have any"

    I get the Canadian part but a gray car on a gray day in front of gray lake with dead trees...no...no...no....sunny day...blue sky and water, green trees...timing is everything.
     
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