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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Car Conundrum

I know it has been a little quiet around here. I have a particular post circling around my head and while I really want to post it, it also seems to be blocking all other creative post ideas that seem to pop into my brain. On top of that I have had a sick kid and now a sick car all while shopping for a new car! In the immortal words of Liz Lemon:

But the car shopping I have been doing does bring up some conundrums. With a mind to be as environmentally AND fiscally friendly as possible, how do I choose the right car for my family?

We have owned a total of 8 vehicles(6 cars, 1 SUV and 1 motorcycle-all bought or leased new) in the course of our 10 year marriage. For the first time ever we have decided to keep one of the cars we have(that we just paid off) and buy another car to keep for the next 10 years. The goal is to only have one car payment at a time. We are working towards being more self sufficient and getting out of debt is a big part of our plan. With school loans and other debt this will take a while but every little bit we can save helps.

So. The car we are looking at buying now will be the 'family' car for the next 10 years. That is a BIG commitment for me. What will the needs of our family be in the next 10 years? We are pretty sure we are done having kids but accidents blessings can and do happen so a sedan is out. We need a bigger car. But bigger means more expensive and less fuel efficient. Because we are going to keep the car for 10 years or more(think-Kaydens first car!!) we want to buy new. We are likely to stick with Toyota because they will give me the best trade in value on my current car(a Camry) plus we have had great luck with our Toyotas.

Can a family friendly, big van(Sienna) or SUV(Highlander) be eco friendly? Should I go with the smaller crossover(Rav4) because of the better gas mileage(especially since gas is getting even more expensive)? Toyota is coming out with a Prius van soon but it will be way out of our price range. The Hybrid models are also too expensive for us. So how do you balance eco and wallet friendly in car buying?

I would love thoughts and tips. I really am stuck. I pride myself on making hard and fast decisions but I must admit, this is just too much.



  1. There is a way to buy a gas guzzling SUV or small bus and still be eco-friendly.

    Stick the bumper sticker on the back and BAM! You're good to go! Everyone knows even though you bought a 12mpg SUV you planted some trees to cancel it out.

    I'd be willing to bet if you guys could wait it out another year or two there will be a plethora of options available then. We are on the verge of an electric car EXPLOSION!

  2. Thanks for the tip Adam! While I know we cant wait another year(because of the lease term ending), I had not even thought about offsetting our carbon footprint! We are going to wait until the summer to buy anyway since the gas prices keep going up I am sure SUV and Van sales will be low enough by then they will be just giving them away!