12 Replies to “Repair estimate for extremely minor fender bender is more than cost of my first car”

  1. Outside a few big cities, the american relationship with cars is very different than in Europe. Comes from how much time we spend with them to get anywhere.

    That first car I drove took me back and forth to high school – a thirty-mile open country drive to the nearest town, which between school and other activities worked out to four or five hundred miles a week (my mom drove the same distance every day, in a different car, so collectively we put about a thousand miles (~1600km?) on our vehicles every week – more, once my sister started driving, and not counting my dad's driving).

    A few jobs ago, I was driving 140 miles every day to get to and from client sites; for a year and a half, I spent more time in my car everyday then I did waking hours in my home, and driving wasn't actually part of the job description.

    My dad drives for a living – he'll put two thousand miles on his truck in an average week, driving solo, and that's actually down from the 3600 miles (~5000km) he averaged about ten years ago.

    In the northeast (NYC, Boston) it's another story, but anywhere else in the country people really think nothing of driving time – it's just the reality of the environment. The drive from my home to my parent's place is about 50km longer than the drive from Paris to Berlin (~10 hours of driving, crossing one time zone and three states), and either I or they will drive that (me with three kids and two dogs) as a straight shot, every few months. (Flying isn't really an option, since the nearest airport is still four hours from my parent's house.)

    The only completely inexplicable thing is how terrible the average gas mileage is on US vehicles, given how much and how far we all drive.

  2. I'd have such a nice bike if I lived in a small country. As it is, the family bikes are strictly recreational.

    I had a friend from England who actually started suffering from some sort of agoraphobia while crossing Montana.

  3. Bikes are an excellent choice around here about half of the year (and if you're not a pussy about wind… holland is very FLAT).

    The other half of the year public transport is more than sufficient in the urban areas.

    Also, car tax over here is absolutely insane.

  4. I would love it if public transportation were better in the US. Unfortunately, we're so trained on using automobiles that such endeavors can't make back their initial investment.

    Sucks! I so want to ditch my ride and walk my family everywhere (if it didn't take all day, in Vegas a trip anywhere is a two hour walk).

  5. There's definitely a public desire to use mass transportation, if it's available. When I used to work downtown (and lived on the outskirts of the city) the lightrail system was great… as long as you got to one of the stations early enough in the morning (read: before the sun came up) to get a parking spot.

    Sometimes I'd take the bus to the lightrail… when I was running a half-hour ahead of schedule. That… didn't happen often.

    I'm still bummed I don't have a good excuse to visit NYC anymore (my wife lived there when we were dating) – no driving, great walking environment, and excellent mass transit.

  6. Manhattan was great for transport when I was there, too. I loved maneuvering through the city, such a great experience. Though I did long for a bench or two around Times Square.

  7. Yeah, the Denver Light Rail system roxxors, as long as you're going where it does and, yes, you get to a P&R early enough to actually Park (generally not a problem for me, but I get up crazy early).

    My first car was a '71 SuperBeetle, in college. It had a hundred things wrong with it — a killer spring in the front seat, an engine that didn't like humidity, let alone rain, and a host of others — and I loved that car to death. The only vehicle I ever named.

  8. My first car was free (to me, anyway), so every repair of my current cars is more than my first car cost me. I feel nostalgia about the role it played in my life at the time, but I don't miss that car one bit because my current cars are superior to it in every way.

  9. +David Newman I am always in oohs and aahs over classic cars. The Stingray, across the 60s and 70s, was a gorgeous vehicle. Except … the interior amenities were rubbish compared to what even my mid-range consumer vehicles offer today.

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