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Going green. . .maybe

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Gas is gonna hit $4 a gallon, and we're thinking of trading in the Hyundai for an electric car, most likely a four-seater Gem. We figure at least 80% of our driving consists of traveling to:

Maggie's school
The bank
The post office
The grocery store
Home Depot

All of which are within five miles of our house and are accessible by roads with <=35 mph speed-limits (required for driving an electric vehicle on in Texas).

We'll keep the cruiser for longer trips and/or carrying large objects.

Many states have good tax-breaks for electric cars, Texas not being one of 'em (big shock there). You do get an IRS tax credit of 10% of the vehicle price, so they're fairly reasonable.

We drove one around yesterday. They're a lot of fun and really quiet, but not very fast. One thing that really impressed me is how simple they are. It's mostly made of off-the-shelf parts and everything looks really easy to keep maintained. Of course, much of this is due to the fact that it doesn't have such frivolities as air conditioner, heater, radio, etc. Heck, when you've got a car where DOORS are an option, you've gotta expect that other stuff's outta bounds.

One scary option is the $600 Alpine car-stereo. That just screams "get your screwdriver and steal me. It's easy!". I think I'll just invest in an MP3 player and some headphones.

There are a couple of good accessory shops out there (1, 2) that sell such options as a higher horsepower motor (and defeat for the speed governor) and larger wheels that raise its top speed into the 30's. Also a steel replacement trunk that looks about a hundred times more secure than the stock one.

The other electric cars that are available locally are the It Is Electric cars. They're cuter and look more like real cars, but I'm thinking that might be a disadvantage. If someone's behind a Gem, they understand why it ain't going so fast. If you're behind something that looks like a real car, they might not be so forgiving. Also, they don't seem to be as hack-able with accessory shops with useful add-ons.

Just musing now. We're just bracing ourselves for upcoming times. I'd like to think I'm overreacting, but I don't think I am.
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I saw one of those Gems on TV. It looks weird.

I'm not sure you'll be able to cruise for chicks in one.

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I don't think you're overreacting one bit, we're most likely going to ditch the SUV and go with a hybrid even though I'm one of the few people I know with a truck/SUV that actually uses it to bring things around.

I honestly think US/Canada will be in for some harder economic times within the next few years.

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I think we should have just left Saddam in power and let him sell us his oil. But I'd drive an electric car. You can get one for around $5,000 on Ebay. Would work really great in my city too. But if everyone starts using them then it's the price of electricity that'll be next. [wink]

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