There is currently more slack in the global supply chain than in the transmission of a poorly maintained fixie. As a result, shortages and price anomalies are increasingly becoming the norm. For example, bikes and components have been scarce meaning some riders have been forced to ride the same carbon fiber bike for two seasons now! Another area where you can observe the insanity of supply and demand is in used car prices, which are rising as automakers struggle to build new ones to meet demand due to of the shortage of electronic chips.
Recently, I was having work done on my own vehicle when another customer with an expiring lease asked the mechanic if he should buy the car back. ” Absoutely ! », Replied the owner. He explained how lease buy-out prices are currently much lower than used car prices, giving renters a huge advantage. This particular customer had a Toyota RAV4, America’s best-selling small SUV, meaning the buy-back price would no doubt be a big deal for him in today’s market. He could even turn around and sell it and pocket a nice coin for himself if he wanted. In addition, we are living in the 21st century; as the mechanic explained to his elderly customer, “Carvana will bring a check directly to you.”
It made me think. Like many cyclists, I have a strained relationship with cars. I appreciate motor vehicles like machines, I love ones with fast wheels, and I would be dead inside if I didn’t enjoy the feeling of stepping on the accelerator on a stretch of highway. opened. At the same time, cars can be expensive to maintain and heavy to own in a city like New York, where we have the worst traffic in the country. Not only can the driving be miserable here, the deluge of cars can also make life miserable for everyone. So it takes considerable cognitive dissonance to ignore the fact that if you own a car, you are part of the problem.
In recent years, I have thought more and more about getting rid of my car. I live a stone’s throw from a metro station, a commuter train, several bus stops, a national car rental company and who knows how many Zipcars. In addition, I own ten bicycles. All this to say that I should know better. So I looked at the seven year old car with less than 50,000 miles that I own (I’m not saying what kind it is, but that’s about what every middle aged bike jerk drives. with a family) then pulled up the Carvana site on my phone. Within minutes I had a quote, and it was substantial enough that, like any responsible adult, I immediately found myself dreaming of what kind of custom bike I could get with that money.
Cars are like cigarettes – everyone likes to denigrate them, but people still light them anyway.
Here in New York, we demonize driving more and more year by year. In 2019, we were going to “break the automobile culture”. When the city closed in 2020 and the streets were empty, the New York Times imagined a “future without cars”. While 2021 is proving particularly deadly, “Ban Cars” has become a rallying cry on social networks. Yet even in transit-rich New York City, where less than half of households own a car, I’m far from the only pedal skeptic who keeps one anyway. Cars are like cigarettes – everyone likes to denigrate them, but people still light them anyway.
Of course, we self-loathing motorists are always on the verge of ditching our cars, but in the meantime we convince ourselves that we are somehow different from everyone else. We drive responsibly, unlike all those lead-footed thugs. Our compact SUVs are slightly more efficient than other people’s full-size SUVs. We only drive out of town, we cycle or use public transport whenever we can, and we fully support congestion pricing and paying the market rate for street parking that we do. gladly accepted for free all these years. Because it’s fair, right?
What we don’t do is admit that a car is a car and takes up the same amount of precious city space, no matter how conflicted you feel or how progressive your politics are. .
Well, if you’ve ever seriously considered getting rid of your vehicle, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. The activists passed out when they heard that France would give people 2,500 euros for their cars so they could buy electric bicycles. Why can’t we do that here? Well, the free market does better to these self-righteous euros – we may never see a used car market like this again. Now, it could be a one-time-only chance to sell that newly acquired vehicle for more than you paid for it, or in my case, get a stupid amount of money back on a car you’ve driven for years. Not only can you buy the replacement car cargo bike of your dreams and make better use of all those insurance premiums, license fees, and maintenance costs, but you can also criticize car culture with the confidence that you don’t. no longer be a part of it. .
But what if you don’t sell? Does that make you a bad person or a dirty hypocrite? Do you need to let go of your belief that cars are not always the solution and that we need to keep looking for safer, healthier and more efficient solutions? Of course not. But it’s time to come to terms with the fact that, like it or not, you are a motorist. It means recognizing that you are no better than any other motorist and that their reasons for driving are just as valid as yours. More importantly, it means recognizing that there is a difference between telling people what they could do and say what they should To do. If you are not ready to leave car ownership, it is unreasonable to expect the same from someone else. Instead of hating yourself and your car, maybe you should learn to appreciate it and appreciate your good fortune.
And no, I didn’t sell the car even a few days later when Carmax outbid Carvana by three thousand dollars. How can I? I had just had the oil changed.