Margaret's Musings: Downsizing — it pays offWith gas prices soaring and my minivan closing in on 170,000 miles, I decided last month that downsizing seemed like the right move. Now I drive a Honda that is so small it seems to fit in half of a normal parking space.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
With gas prices soaring and my minivan closing in on 170,000 miles, I decided last month that downsizing seemed like the right move. Now I drive a Honda that is so small it seems to fit in half of a normal parking space.
From my very first car, an Emerald Green Gremlin, to my newest, a lightweight mini-minivan, most were purchased for one of two reasons: gas mileage and versatility.
In between, there has been an International Scout, with manual steering and transmission and optional four-wheel drive — when you got stuck you had to go outside and lock in the hubs. That car had to go when I moved north — the first winter I lived in Minnesota it was 20 below most of December and it was nearly impossible to steer.
Next was a four-wheel-drive mini station wagon which after four owners, two in the family, and well over 200,000 miles it went to car heaven.
Soon after that we made the switch, along with a large portion of America, to minivans, convenient for hauling the whole family, a twice a year event usually, as well as taking dogs and people on vacation, not to mention hauling gardening supplies, full-size Christmas trees and the usual assortment of building project materials.
The minivan still affords the driver a view of the road that is clear and straightforward, not as elevated as a pick-up truck but higher than most sedans.
Thirty days into the age of fuel economy, I now see all kinds of smaller cars on the road. Have they been there all along and I just didn’t notice them or is it because I now drive one that I see them everywhere? My new car seems so small when I am looking for it in a parking lot. It is nearly invisible from a distance.
It is a bit daunting to realize that being small means you are much less visible — pulling up to a stoplight and realizing that the guy on the Harley is taller than you, and when you find yourself looking under the semi-truck to see oncoming traffic it is a wake-up moment. Not to mention the size of those tires when they are passing you at freeway speeds.
Driving defensively takes on a whole new meaning.
However, filling up at the pump is a marvelous experience; it no longer shuts off when I have hit the maximum amount because it rarely takes more than eight gallons.
Here we are over 30 years after the first oil crisis when the slogan “Be nifty, drive fifty” was parlayed around.
Now we can start “seeing small cars,” along with motorcycles.