Thursday, July 13, 2006

We did it! Although not in under 3 hours...

I know I said I probably wouldn't post again before we leave, and here I am posting twice in two days. Go figure! But I just had to share. We are now proud owners of a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI!

We went over for a test drive last night and, as so often happens with the two of us (we are impulse buyers to the nth degree), we'd pretty much decided already to buy it unless we drove it and really hated it or they weren't willing to give us enough for Bill's car in trade. Of course, driving it was loads of fun and it's such a neat little car. It's a manual transmission, which is what both Bill and I were raised on but haven't owned for awhile (we got rid of our other manual when we were in LA and couldn't hack driving it in stop-and-go traffic for two hours).

We did find out, however, that it's next to impossible to buy a car in under three hours. We got there just after five and didn't drive away until 8:30. Even though we pretty much said "we'll take it, we'll pay what you're asking and we're paying in cash" (just FYI, we just took out a home equity loan - we don't normally have that kind of cash just lying around). How much simpler could it be? is just such a ridiculously slow process. Fine, it's nice customer service, but it doesn't really encourage impulse purchases (especially for those of us with small children who can't just drop everything to buy a car for 3 hours).

Anyway, we're running a tank of regular diesel right now, but as soon as that's gone, we're running straight to the biodiesel pump. I saw a great bumper sticker the other day on a truck - "This Vehicle Powered by French Fries". We found out yesterday that the diesel oil that's used in the TDI is synthetic, so we're going to be almost completely petrol-free! That is so exciting.

As we've been doing all this research on biodiesel, we've both been amazed at how little people know about it. When I first heard the word, I didn't realize exactly what it was. I figured it was a type of diesel fuel that was somehow combined with organic stuff, but was still basically a petroleum product. But 100% biodiesel is completely made from vegetable oil! No petroleum at all. Granted, most places sell a blend of biodiesel and regular diesel, so we'll likely have a 95% biodiesel blend available to us, but still. That's a huge reduction in the amount of petroleum this family will use. Plus, it gets great mileage (40+ mpg highway), which the car we traded in did not.

The biggest problem now is the lack of availability of diesel vehicles. Apparently VW was having problems with the EPA over their diesel engine, so they've stopped producing them. The one we got was on the dealership's 2nd to last shipment, and many of the cars on the last shipment have already been sold. There was no haggling on price because it's such a scarce commodity. However, Daimer-Chrysler did just introduce diesel versions of the Jeep series this year. Hopefully other auto-makers will follow suit. The diesel trucks and Jeeps don't get great mileage, but the diesel versions are MUCH better than the gas versions (20+ mpg versus 10).

Now I've started to feel guilty about my van, but the awesome and fabulous Lolly posted a link in her recent post about what her family is doing to help the environment to Terra Pass, where you can offset your vehicle emissions by helping to fund alternative energy production. So, now I can feel a little less guilty about driving my gas-guzzling minivan (although it's not really a gas guzzler - it gets nearly 30 mpg on the highway, much better than our Subaru Outback did!).

Anyway, enough about our new car. I'm off to work through a mountain of laundry. Woo-hoo!


Blogger Sonya said...

Congrats on the new car! I had a diesel Olds Cutlass back in the day and I loved it. This was pre-biodiesel though so no French fry smell when I drove. Have fun with that laundry!

10:17 AM  
Blogger Lolly said...

Just amazing! I am glad you got one and that your family is less petrol-dependent. We don't have hybrids or biodiesels yet, but I am very interested in the technology. Definitely check out TerraPass when you get the chance, it is a pretty great concept ;)

Thanks for the shoutout, girl!!

10:26 AM  
Blogger Tygher Knits said...

Hubby works in car sales, so I know all about the whole long, time consuming process of buying a car. There are reasons for it, usually geared towards making sure you really want the car and aren't going to come back 3 days later and try to return the vehicle. It really sucks when customers do that.

I'm hoping Pontiac/Buick/GMC come out with some more hybrids soon. Diesel/bio-diesel aren't feasible around here, so the best I can hope for is a good hybrid.

Congrats on the new car, though! It's always a good feeling. :)

10:53 AM  
Blogger aija said...

Congrats! That sounds really cool! :)

10:55 AM  
Blogger jillian said...

Congrats! VW's are fab!

12:34 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Yay for new vehicles that are eco friendly! Good for you.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Charity said...

Congratulations! Not only is it very exciting to buy a new car, but I'm sure you feel really great making a step like that in accordance with your beliefs. Did you get a sedan or the station wagon?

I know I'm feeling a bit guilty about my vehicle, but where can one find a "green" 7 passenger vehicle?

8:55 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Congrats! We had our hearts set on a Jetta a few years back but had a BAD experience at the dealership, so we passed (and saved tons o' $$ by buying our Mazda instead). I'd love to go biodiesel or at least hybrid with the next car--which may be soon . . .

10:03 AM  
Blogger wendy said...

Hubby says there are two ways of doing it
1)get a bio diesel converter/still turns the oil into diesel
2)have two gas tanks. Start the car on regular diesel to warm up the engine then switch to the straight oil then before you stop you switch back to disiel to clean out the oil.
but I seem to remember an article about messing the the car and just run veggie oil all the time...hmmmm I'm going to go see

5:24 PM  
Blogger knittinmom said...

Actually, I think you are thinking about running pure vegetable oil. Biodiesel is already refined, pumped straight into the tank and is interchangeable with regular diesel. We've got several commercial gas stations in Portland that sell biodiesel as well as a co-op that brews their own. Here is the FAQ page from the co-op that explains more about biodiesel vs. vegetable oil power:

It's actually very simple, and very cool!

8:15 AM  
Blogger mf said...

Congrats on the new car!

6:50 AM  
Blogger Stefaneener said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm hoping to go biodiesel with our next car (gonna run the minivan into the ground first). It's nice to know people who are doing it -- I'll have questions and watch your experiences.

8:58 AM  
Blogger lexa said...

Congrats on the new vehicle! Sounds cool!

July socks are done and posted. Hederas, July 17 post.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Congrats on the new car. Also, congrats on helping us lower our dependence on foreign oil. (I'd love to get one of those cars, too.)
Btw: Contrary to what a lot of people think, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. In fact, it's at the top of the list (in effect on temperature) if one excludes water vapor.

9:07 AM  

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