One Car, Two Car, Green Car, Porsche

After discussing whether driverless cars could find a foothold in a nation that so loves its cars, Kevin Drum felt he had to explain why a peak oil-aware political blogger owns a 911:

I seem to have unleashed a mini-storm of incredulity yesterday by mentioning that I drive a Porsche. Here’s a typical email from a longtime reader:

“You read a guy for ten years and you think you know him, and I would have never guessed that you drive a Porsche. You can preserve my construct of your personality if you tell me it was bequeathed to you by an uncle you’d never met.”

Nope. I don’t even have any uncles. The real story is that we all have at least a few vices, and mine is that I’m sort of a C-list car guy. I don’t inhale car magazines or anything like that, but I like cars, I like reading about them, and I like driving lively little sports cars. …

I’ve never liked muscle cars that look like Mattel Hot Wheels. Porsches are sexy, but I’ve always admired well-built, efficient cars more than sportsters. When I was a teen, my Dad once brought home Mercedes-Benz flyers. He bought another Oldsmobile, but I pored over those pictures for weeks, and developed a penchant for the Euro sports sedan look. One of my profs told me I’d better have a hell of a practice to afford the cars I liked. An Archimatect cartoon jokes that all architects are required to drive Saabs. I’m not addicted to any brands, but certain models catch my eye. Lancia Beta was an old favorite. Currently I like the looks of the new Dodge Dart, which is apparently styled after Alfa-Romeo’s Giulietta.

As a peak oil-aware political blogger myself, I’ve been wrestling with whether to buy a second car, or continue to do without. Despite knowing all the harm they do to the planet, like most Americans I am invested in the convenience of the personal auto. So I spend a lot of time browsing the so-called green vehicles, but feeling a bit dirty.

Kathy McMahon made a lot of sense on C-Realm’s Reframing the Sucky Collapse:

KMO welcomes Kathy McMahon, the Peak Shrink of, back to the C-Realm to talk about the psychology of predictions. We gravitate to flashy predictions over nuanced forecasts and don’t hold poor track records against those prophets whose predictions promise to vindicate us for holding the right beliefs. Unfortunately for Doomers who hope for a rapid collapse that will vindicate them for being early adopters of the Peak Oil collapse narrative, we seem to be in the midst of a slow degeneration that eats away at our security and wealth but never proves us right in the eyes of our doubters and critics. You may be braced for a sudden, sexy collapse, but do you have the gumption to endure the sucky collapse?

McMahon seemed to flummox KMO a bit by suggesting that even as we keep an eye towards change, we give ourselves some permission to enjoy the world as it is. More and more peak oil gurus have stopped predicting collapse tomorrow and are realizing that our industrial system is willing to make the ugly decisions that will prop itself up for quite some time. In the meantime we have to live here.

At the moment, the plugin Prius seems like a good hedge against higher fuel costs and a reasonable car today. But selective renting and car-sharing makes a lot of sense, too.


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2 responses to “One Car, Two Car, Green Car, Porsche”

  1. cmaukonen says :

    Weelll….I have driven a 911 and can see his point, Especially since I am more than a bit pragmatic about cars and oil etc. Though for my money the old 914 – mid engine poor mans Porsche – was a better car handling wise and a tad more thrifty on the gas. Veritably hugged the road.

    Though I can see the point of an EV, finance wise and trip wise, I had decided to stay with the old internal combustion engine and went with a Honda CRV.

    When oil goes up in price, so will most other things as well and getting gas will be just another major situation among other major situations. not the least of which will be food.


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