I drive a 1993 Honda Civic DX with manual transmission, manual locks, manual windows, no air conditioning, and a growing cancer of rust on the rear driver's side wheel well. Upon getting pregnant, I contemplated buying a new car that could more comfortably fit a family of five, but in the last minute gave up the idea, adverse to the expense.
The truth is I love this car. Our relationship is like a long good marriage. I know exactly how it works and take comfort in how right it feels to drive this car. It's not flashy or perfect, but it sure is comfortable. There is intimacy in how it responds to me when I drive it, which comes from me knowing the ins and outs of its flaws and its perfections.
Many things make me satisfied to drive this 15-year-old non-deluxe vehicle. In the winter, when I have to use two hands to crank down the driver side window, I think that at least if another bridge were to fall down and I were to plummet into the water, I would still be able to open the window, unlike those folks with fancy electric windows.
The latest way I glory in the satisfaction with this car is to track my gas mileage. This also appeals to my obsessive compulsive side as I track the miles I drive on my tripometer, record the gallons of gas I put in each time I fill up, and do the basic math to figure out how much of a bargain this car is. I am proud to say that for the period of 5/27/08 through 6/13/08, I reached a record high of 37.02 miles per gallon This brings my average up to 31.72 mpg since I began tracking on 3/18/08. I should note that the bulk of the driving I do is in stop and go rush hour traffic.
So if they had the technology to build regular, non-hybrid cars this efficient 15 years ago, why aren't they doing that today?