so i have been researching cars and the short answer is that we are going to try to do without as long as we can. the cost of owning is just a big money sink. this weekend i drove a uhaul from boston full of second hand scores (another story) and found that we have a uhaul rental place less than two miles from our place – i threw a bike in the back to come back from dropping it off. how often do we really plan on using a pickup or need to haul stuff? At $19.95 a day rental plus $.60/ mi. we can consolidate a few big runs a month and still be way ahead. Add to that the wasted time of doing a bunch of dumb errands and it looks even sweeter. When i had the uhaul this weekend we could not even pick up a washer – it had to be delivered – so we can probably get all kinds of things delivered. Have not even met that neighbor with 5 cars in his driveway and time on his hands… we may be on to something there as well.
last friday i went to a car auction to look at pickups and on the way i did some calculations and started thinking that fuel efficiency is more important than i realized. lets assume that we drive 8000 miles a year in errands and trips – seems reasonable. the difference between a car that gets 17mpg and 22 is about 200 bucks a year. but if we were to get one of those jetta diesel wagons as our friend mikey is shopping we would save about $900 assuming gas at $3 per gallon. even adding a 10% surcharge for diesel or going out of your way that starts to be real $$. add to that the potential of making your own diesel one day in the future. yes, i know i know – a volkswagen – could mean some shop time, but might be a risk worth taking at those savings. looks like there is a volkswagen mechanic next door to the uhaul place and AAA premium might just be a risk i am willing to take.
which leads to the second decision that we will have to make – where to buy heating oil. two of our units run on electric, but our middle floor burns oil for heat and hot water. been looking for a biofuel option and just have not found one. the one place that said they did do biofuel actually does not. even with biofuel we are only going to be burning up to 20% renewable, so weatherproofing and sweaters seem like the way to go for now. on a related note, we did fire up the wood burning stove which nicely heats our insulated breezeway and gives us another warm (fossil free) room.