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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Who Needs a Car these Days (Who, Who)?
24 March 2021 @ 14:05

Thinking of buying a new car? Probably not. For one thing, as you may have read, it will spend most of its life parked. Not being used.

Then there’s the garage or parking space to pay off. Maybe we should stick to running a bicycle, which one can always leave in the kitchen, or the spare bedroom.

The average number of people in a car, when it is moving about, is just 1.6 persons, which, when you think about it, is a lot less economic than a tandem.

Expensive things, cars. They cost a fortune new, are heavily taxed, and then there’s the depreciation – starting from the moment the new owner drives one off the forecourt.

Even at the end of its life, many years later (or when the ITV people have thrown up their hands), it’s still a bother. All those brand new bits, for some reason known as ‘spares’, inside the Old Girl from various repairs, are evidently now worthless. The desguace people gave me fifty euros to sign off my old banger yesterday as being en baja. Fifty euros? That was the price I paid for the novelty screw-on gear-knob I bought last year in Benidorm.

Maybe we should share transport in some fashion, several of us having keys to the same utility vehicle, plus a little lockable drawer inside for personal CDs. Or simply take the bus.

If there is one.

The buses in the countryside, or the small villages, are few and far between – and the ones that go to the house of George and Eunice across the valley for evening drinks are even less so. An electric scooter might be the answer, but after a couple of gin and tonics, and speaking for myself, I’d likely lose my balance and fall off. It looks like I might have to take the local taxi and chat with Antonio about politics.

The vehicle inspection, the painful ITV, is slightly on hiatus these days (45% of cars that should have had their latest inspection, er, haven’t – we’ll put it down to the Covid, shall we?). It’s the case that the parque automovilístico – the cars on the road in Spain (or parked somewhere near it) are getting older. The average privately-owned vehicle is now over thirteen years old.

Unsurprisingly, the sale of new cars has fallen sharply (by 40% it says here) – since we drive around even less these days, what with the pandemic sprawled in the back seat picking its teeth. Added to that, the taxes have risen steeply on buying a new car. 

Sales in second-hand cars are also down by over 16%.

We should be moving towards electric cars, but who will want to buy your old sparkycar with 200 kilometres of autonomy five years from now, when the new ones will be much lighter and offering 20,000ks between recharges? They’ll probably be programmed to do the driving by then anyway, as you sit in the back and munch on a sandwich.

There are those people who own two cars. Since they no doubt drive as much as someone with only one car, then their average vehicle-usage halves. And as we have seen, it wasn’t good to begin with. Maybe we should stick to art – at least it goes up in value unless the item in question is terrible, in which case – with luck – you can probably sell it for what you paid for it (or, failing that, give it to your mother-in-law for Christmas).

Then there’s the status of having a new car – which is a bit like having a gold tooth – there’s not much point unless you use it a lot.           

Like 3


grapow said:
27 March 2021 @ 07:57

Leave a bicycle in the kitchen or spare bedroom? Are you kidding? My wife would send me packing , taking my bike with me! I must say, its a quite ridiculous comment!

Pleased to say that we bought a new car last autumn and we are loving it!

K 5ive said:
27 March 2021 @ 09:21

What a ridiculous article. The author obviously has no knowledge of anything to do with cars by his obvious self indulgent ramblings. Autonomous car are a while off yet. I’ll keep on with a mixture of bike for local and my car for everything else! Have you seen the price of taxi charges these days? My airport is less than 10 minutes away and yet the taxi driver believes it is well worth €40!

eggcup said:
27 March 2021 @ 10:26

Methinks the previous commentators don't get your sense of humour. The article was, of course as always, impeccably written and amusing.

anthomo16 said:
27 March 2021 @ 10:48

Love your ramblings - please continue. My car is like me, very old full of wrinkles but still thinks it can outrun anything on the road I don't do a lot of mileage (me and the car) so whilst looking tatty it still passes the ITV. Hoping it does the same this year.

bevwilson said:
27 March 2021 @ 11:37

Fantastic piece of humorous writing, loved it! Well, we have 3 cars (don’t ask! boys and their toys) and I’m on a mission to get rid of them all before my frustration levels with costs and very limited garage parking space, reaches breaking point! However, I’m happy to say that my 40 year old gold crown (on a tooth not my head) lives on in peaceful harmony with me! Long live gold teeth - far more useful... except I can’t carry the shopping in it..!!! Maybe I’ll just keep one car... just in case?

ufotour said:
27 March 2021 @ 13:43

Indeed... do we really need cars? If we live in a city quite probably not. In villages, small towns more so I'd say. Thing is... a lot of us simply like them... and like driving. I like the active process of getting in my car and going where I want, whenever I want. It's a 2005 Jag S type... which is really a Ford Mondeo... but I just enjoy that walnut dashboard... But buy a brand new one... especially right now when the technology is changing so rapidly... obviously not. As you say, why buy an expensive electric when it's going to be out of date and worthless in 5 years? Car manufacturers must be increasingly worried as we happily tootle around in our aging bangers!

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