New Car Blues

 New Car Blues

By Lou Pastina

I recently got a new car, and while it’s great to get a new car, the process was very different than in past years. First of all, dealerships are pushing electric vehicles and hybrids. They tout the incentive programs that the car makers are giving to get an EV, supported by the government, trying to make their “green” commitments. However, the cost of an EV or a hybrid, even with an incentive discount, is still way more expensive than a regular old gasoline-based car. So, the financial incentive just doesn’t cut it. Second, the infrastructure for charging those babies just isn’t in place yet, not to mention that if it was, it still takes a while to charge an EV versus filling up at a station. One good thing about buying a car these days is that you can go online and pick the car you want by a specific vehicle identification number (VIN) that is supposedly in the dealer’s inventory. That makes things a lot easier.

I am a creature of habit. I have leased the same kind of car for years. Luckily whenever I have gotten a new one, it’s been fairly the same, with some added technology, but not redesigned. Not so lucky this year. Some engineer at Jeep thought to try and make “good” better. Which is great, but then you got to figure out how everything works. Not so good. For example, after driving around for a while, a warning signal kept going off. After a call to the dealer and reading the manual, I figured out that you could let the car tell you why it was beeping. I thought that would be a good idea. Immediately, I realized the beeps were because the car was telling me where the speed and red-light cameras are. This was a disturbing find! On a 16-mile drive to Greenpoint on Woodhaven and Metropolitan Avenues I must have encountered 20 red light and speed cameras. I was blown away. And they don’t stop at night, they are now 24×7. I never realized there were so many.

You probably have heard by now that some back-office deal has been made by the governor related to her delaying indefinitely the congestion pricing plan. The environmentalists and the MTA are howling. But a Wall Street Journal writer got it right recently. He opined that it was a tax-payer tax rebellion that caused the governor to hit the pause button. The governor, with a nudge from our president, finally realized that they will be voted out of office if they don’t stop the insanity. If you have driven anywhere in Manhattan recently, you know that the addition of bike lanes, bus lanes, off street parking and Citi Bike racks have reduced thoroughfares to one lane. The same people crying about congestion pricing are also saying traffic has slowed too much. Really? Wonder why? Could it be the same people who stuck it to yellow taxi drivers who invested their life savings into a taxi business, only to have the city allow thousands of Lyft and Uber drivers to flood the city?

Another recent article noted that the average speed on Manhattan streets has slowed to 4.5 miles per hour. Yet despite that, the City Council wants to drop the average street speed from 25 to 20 miles per hour. Of course, that does not seem to apply to the electric bikes and scooters which the city lets ride the streets with impunity. You literally take your life in your own hands if you don’t look seven different ways crossing a New York City street for fear of being hit by one of these electronic missiles.

All of this points to a general dissatisfaction with local, state and federal governing. It seems common sense has gone completely out the window as the government tries to separate us from our cars and the ability to drive freely. Where’s Robert Moses when you need him? Jack Kerouac would have to re-write “On the Road” to something like Stay Off the Road. Don’t get me wrong, I love our city and our country, I just think we have hit a point where the minority rules without regard to the majority. Spock from Star Trek once said that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.” Even he understood governing better. Looking back at history, there have been times when we have had a lack of true leadership. But never sell America or New York short, we are a feisty and resilient bunch. But who would have thought getting a new car would bring on these blues! See you on the road, I’ll be the one walking!!

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