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3268RE: [CarFree] getting around in snow

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  • John Snyder
    Oct 2, 2001
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      I've gone through this excercise too many times, comparing the
      operating costs of a used car to the various upscale HPVs. It's
      a part of my wishful human-powered-centric evangelism. Not a
      single-one of our fine neighbors has seen glorious light for
      more than a month at a time. In part this is because the old
      cars tend too often to do well in terms of manageble
      out-of-pocket expenses. Rats. Potential money savings is not
      always the best pry bar to help another person discover the
      benefits and advantages of self-mobility.

      Start with a $500 to $1,000 purchase price for a small 10
      year old automobile with a beat up body but otherwise good
      mechanical condition. Insurance for an adult driver without
      prior claims will run approximately $275 per year. Taxes and
      tags (these are all Montana figures) add in another $30/yr. With
      fuel selling at $1.30 per gallon, 5,000 miles per year at 35
      mpg requires about $185.71/yr. Tack in at minimum $200 per
      year for maintance. The spreadsheet sez'; this scenario
      results in a highly optimistic $65.80/month average cost, or
      $7,897 T.C.O. for the ten years. So, for the same number
      of miles the lovely one-seater Lietra imported from Denmark
      would likely finish, in terms of costs over ten years, in a
      near dead heat with an old-beater automobile. However, I
      suspect a more realistic break even point would happen
      closer to 7 or 8 years, baring any major accidents.

      Even seven years is long time to gamble on having such an
      investment pay off, obviously not an entry level option.
      When comparing against an older used car (or small motor
      scooter) as basic transportation, even the HPVs in the
      $2,000 to $3,000 range will ask for approximately two to
      three years before begining to pass on savings to the
      owner. The money situation with the high end bikes and
      trikes is not unlike converting a house to solar
      electricity, e.g., a long term commitment mixed
      in with a bit of luck. In my opinion if a person
      wants an expensive or better than average item,
      desire is the only rational needed to be given.

      A constrast point; The WalMart flyer that came in this week's
      mail, advertises adult 18-speed, front suspension bikes for $75.
      This has been a grumble of sorts, because I've been typically
      spending conciderably more than $100 per year per bike in our
      stable on replacement parts and the other whatnots which wear
      out constantly. Ah, but a good fitting cycle with butter-smooth
      components is a fine enjoyable thing, well worth the
      extra effort.

      You Bill have been a prime inspiration for a very good
      option, if it's strictly a matter of minimizing cost and
      maximizing quality. Building one's own bike, like your recumbent
      Heavy Metal, is something that reflects very old and honorable
      traditions of self-reliance and can-do innovation. Historically,
      this current trend of buying every thing a person uses instead
      of making or growing to satisfy needs and wants is an
      exceptionally recent phenomena.

      Cheers,

      John Snyder
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