Driving around in my little Ford Escort wagon, I am surrounded by SUVs, minivans and pick-up trucks big enough to haul a tank. It’s hard being the small car on the road in a sea of big vehicles. It’s hard, if not impossible to see beyond the bumper of a large vehicle when I happen to get stuck behind one on slow city streets. Going to the drive-in movies is futile. My family and I had to park so far away from the screen on our one excursion there last summer that we were actually closer to the screen showing the other movie behind us. Parking far from the screen was the only way we could hope to see it, with the rows upon rows of large vehicles towering in front of us.
It’s not only hard to see when backing out in parking lots, it’s down right dangerous when my car is sandwiched between to large vehicles. I try to avoid these parking situations, but sometimes I think I have avoided it, only to come out of the store to see the cars parked next to me have been replaced by SUVs.
Despite this, I like that my Ford Escort is a small vehicle. I have two children and we all fit just fine in there. I have trouble understanding the many families that immediately buy a minivan upon the birth of their first child. Do they really need all that room for one child? The ones that don’t cave at the birth of the first often jump to a minivan at the birth of the second child. I still don’t see the need for more room than I have.
I also get fantastic gas mileage. It averages to about 33 mpg. It is nice to fill up my tank and not pay more than $22.00 on average, even with the high gas prices. I constantly hear people complaining of spending $50.00 or more to fill their tanks.
Sadly, the large vehicle, whether it is a minivan, SUV or a large pick-up truck has become a status symbol. Most people don’t really need the extra room, the capacity to haul large items on a regular basis, or even four-wheel drive. Sure, those living in snowy climates may use their four-wheel drive often in the winter, but I spent a few years living in the south and was amazed at all the four-wheel drive vehicles I saw on the road for suburban driving.
I would go so far as to say that owning a vehicle larger than what your needs require is costly. There are the day to day costs that the owner incurs with car payments and the high prices at the gas pump. And, there are the larger, environmental costs. Using large amounts of gas is wasteful. And, the exhaust that spews out of these large vehicles pollutes the earth at a faster rate than the exhaust that comes out of a small vehicle simply because there is more of it. The more gas you burn, the more pollution you spew.
In this day of increased environmental awareness, everyone should reconsider their vehicle. Do you have more vehicle than you need?