We bought a new(er) car today.

We’ve been a one car family for awhile and the old 2000 Grand Prix is starting to show its age. It still runs pretty well, but there’ve been all manner of minor problems cropping up that convinced us it was time to get something new. I’ve talked before about my desire to get a Honda Civic so this morning we headed off to the local Honda dealer and started looking. At the outset I was quite excited at the thought of getting a new car until we got there and reality set in. We didn’t end up buying a new 2009 Civic EX like I wanted, but rather we ended up buying a 2004 Civic that was certified by Honda.

Now as it turns out that 2004 Civic is probably a very good deal. Despite being five years old it only had 47,000 miles or so on it and it was in great shape. It’s unusual for a car that old to qualify as a Certified Used car so that was a testament to how good of a shape it was in. It has one lengthy scratch on the passenger side doors that prompted them to knock a couple of grand off the asking price so we got it for around $10,000 and, after taxes and license fees, it came out to a little over $11,000 and our $3,000 down payment made our monthly payment on it around $175 which we can easily afford. Still I was nervous about taking on a five year old car when I already have a nine year old car that was slowly falling apart. But more upsetting for me was the fact that, once again, I was settling for something instead of getting what I wanted. The fact that the car is yet another silver/grey paint color didn’t help. All my life I’ve wanted a nice blue car and I have never owned one.

So we have a newer car and we still have the Grand Prix (we originally thought we’d have to trade it in) which we’ll use sparingly and try to get fixed over time. I should be happy, but I’m not because I got what we needed and not what I wanted. It looks like it’ll be an excellent car even if it is already a bit long in the tooth and it’s got a partial warranty on it as well, but I still feel resentful towards the car. So much so that my initial thought was that I’d stick to driving the Grand Prix and leave the newer car for Anne to use and only drive it on longer trips such as up to my parents place or when we drive out to Iowa in May. I realize I’m being selfish and petulant and knowing that doesn’t lessen my bad mood. I’m just so tired of settling for less.

Top Gear calls Honda Clarity “most important car in 100 years.”

I plan to make my next car either a Honda Civic or a Honda Fit if I ever get to a point where I can afford to take on a car payment, but if it takes long enough I may end up getting a Honda Clarity instead:

It’s very cool to see that the car has built-in feedback systems to encourage less fuel wasting driving habits. It’s also very cool to see that it’s a real production vehicle as well.

Gas prices have fallen so folks are back to buying SUVs.

I recently wondered aloud in another thread if the suddenly lower gas prices we’ve been experiencing—I just paid $1.95 a gallon to fill up yesterday—would cause the idiots in our populace to start buying gas guzzlers again. It was a stupid thing to question because it was pretty much a given that it would:

Despite the down economy, falling gas prices have driven consumers back to the sport utility vehicles they once gave the cold shoulder.

Workers at General Motor’s Arlington, Texas, SUV assembly plant began working overtime this month and are scheduled to remain on overtime for the rest of the year.

The plant, which employs 2,500 workers, is now the only GM factory building full-size sport utility vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

Although sales of the vehicles are still down overall, they have rebounded in recent weeks as gas prices have fallen and cash-strapped automakers have slashed prices. The vehicles have proven to be a solid source of revenue for GM.

“We’re still on overtime,” plant spokeswoman Wendi Sabo told The Dallas Morning News. “Nothing has changed.”

While that’s certainly good news for General Motors, as they’re in dire enough straits at the moment that they’ll be lucky to survive through next summer, it’s still a pretty disheartening thing to see happen. It just backs up my cynical side’s viewpoint that too many people are idiots. I’m not sure why gas prices are this low at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them rebound by the time next summer rolls around, if not sooner. A lot of people will be kicking themselves in the ass when that happens.

A couple of blogging notes and WTF gas prices

I’ve updated my picture in the sidebar to something a little more autumn-ish as well as current (some of the other pics of me were a couple of years old) and I’ll be leaving the color scheme as it currently is as some folks seem to like it.

That pic was taken just this morning right outside our townhouse with the sun behind me which explains why my eyes are so puffy. It was a comfortably cool morning for early November. Fresh with the promise of a new day after an election that made history. As you can see I took the shears to my head last night before bed though I didn’t bother to apply a razor as I was already tired. The hair is about as close to the skin as you can get it with standard shears. I had an alternate pic with more of a smile and a bit of the sun flaring around the side of my head, but I wasn’t sure it was as good of a pic as this one. Maybe I’ll post it later if anyone’s curious.

On a totally unrelated note, but something I’ve been meaning to mention for awhile now, what the hell is going on with gasoline prices? Last Friday I filled up the tank at a station selling gas for only $2.09 a gallon! Checking MSN Autos’ Gas Price Finder there’s at least one station in my area selling gas today for $1.99 and the average price has dropped to $2.05! I can only figure the switch from the summer formula to the winter mix must be part of it, but that’s an amazing drop in price. Thanks to living so close to work and school I’m only filling up once every other week these days, but I’ll take the lower gas prices just the same.

My one concern is that some folks will take this as a sign that they can go back to buying big gas guzzlers as the “crisis” is over. It appears, though, that the shitty economy is keeping people from buying cars at all. GM’s sales in October plunged 45%, Chrysler down by 35%, and Ford was down 30%. Even Toyota saw sales fall by 23%. None of which is good news for Michigan. Hopefully when things improve enough for sales to pick up folks will make wiser car buying decisions and not rush back to the huge vehicles because gas is cheap.

My poor car is falling apart.

I suppose I can’t complain too much as it is almost eight years old with almost 150,000 miles on it, but damn if it isn’t one thing it’s another and then a couple more on top of that.

First, there’s something rubbing near the front driver’s side wheel when I drive. It doesn’t seem to be affecting the handling at all and I’ve looked and can’t see what the hell it is, but it’s loud enough that it attracts stares from people as I pass by. When I had my tires worked on not too long ago I asked the guys to let me know if they noticed anything and they couldn’t figure it out either. So I don’t know if it’s a serious problem or not.

Then my Service Engine Soon light has come back on. You may recall back around this time last year it came on and I took the car to Auto Zone and they told me it was a Camshaft Sensor Out of Range error in the car’s computer. I bought the part to fix it, but before I ever got around to figuring out how to put it in the light went off and stayed off until about a week ago. I still have the part and I’ll probably head up to Auto Zone to see if it’s the same error and perhaps it’ll go away before I get around to fixing it again.

Lastly, and this one really annoys the hell out of me, Anne went shopping at Meijers on Monday and when she came out the passenger side review mirror was broken. The weird part is that whoever broke it took the time to clean up most of the glass before they left. Considering that this is a powered mirror I’m guessing that getting it replaced will cost a small fortune, but I use all my mirrors quite a bit and not having one on that side is really pissing me off.

So, yeah, the car is in rough shape these days and I’d really like to trade it in on a new on, but money’s tight and we really need two cars anyway and so it’s not happening anytime soon. Unless I suddenly become rich or something.