Friday, June 6, 2008

What now?

First of all - Hello! and a thanks to Guy Fawkes for inviting me to contribute to this blog. I'm a rising 3L at an undisclosed law school. I'm not on the Law Review for my school, so you should expect more, and be tolerant of, the many grammatical and spelling errors that will likely occur. In fact, you might spot some in this opening paragraph...I have no idea. You can also expect bitter sarcasm and disdain for the defunct system they call law schools and the hiring process. It's going to be an interesting journey (and it might be a very short one if the other contributor's don't like me), but I look forward to taking it with you, our avid, but, as Guy Fawkes has now informed me, non-existent readers.

Taken from a piece regarding SUV and their owner's "LUV" for the vehicles:

Stephanie Torgerson, 32, of Pataskala, Ohio, said she simply can't put her three boys in her husband's Mazda 626. The 1-year-old needs a car seat, the 5-year-old needs a booster chair and she doesn't feel comfortable wedging her 8-year-old between the two. Sure, she could probably get better mileage in a minivan, but she doesn't like the stigma. "I don't want to be labeled as a soccer mom," she said. Torgerson said her 2006 Chevy Trailblazer, which gets about 20 mpg, affords her and her kids protection -- not to mention four-wheel drive traction in the snowy winter months. But security comes with a price. Torgerson's daily commute to Hilliard -- another Columbus suburb -- is 72 miles roundtrip. She spends about $82 a week on gas, she said.

Asked if she had considered a hybrid SUV with four-wheel drive, she promptly said no.

"They're all brand-new vehicles, and I can't afford a $500-a-month car payment," she said.

What now? I couldn't have read that correctly. You can't afford a $500-a-month car payment, but you can afford to pay $82 a week on gas? For those of you who are mathematically impaired, that comes out to about $369 dollars a month. Gas prices are only going to increase - sorry, gas isn't going to start falling like manna. Soon enough you'll be paying $500-a-month for gas, and you're going to have to pay the dealership to take your SUV to the scrapheap. Also, the Ford Escape, which offers 4WD, costs roughly $26,000. Assuming you trade in your gas guzzling Trailblazer and you get a net of about $7,000 (I believe this is a reasonable assumption considering this is $2,000 less than what Kelley Blue Book shows for a the model in "good condition" with 40k miles on it), the monthly payments on 60 month lease at 6.9% APR is $409. When you include depreciation and appreciation factors, this becomes even more of a no-brainer. You might not like the stigma of being a soccer mom, but personally I'd think the stigma of being a stupid mom would be worse.


Guy Fawkes said...

Thanks for pushing my "Duty to Rescue" post way down the page. You're fired!

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Let's see:

$369 on gas


$409 on car payment + $200 on gas (just a guess here)

What's cheaper?

Given the current secondary market for SUVs (you'd actually be getting about 50% of book value if you tried to sell now), the higher cost of insurance for newer vehicles, and the relatively small increase in fuel efficiency for hybrid SUVs, it certainly is a no-brainer for most people to stick with their current gas guzzlers. It's probably not even cost effective to switch to a Prius.