Our Green Motoring Dilema

My husband is not a typical man. Although, like many of us, he is inexplicably drawn to watch Top Gear on a regular basis, his choice of car has never had anything to do with status, speed, fashion statement or comfort (or to do with the consequences of my lack of spatial awareness, as far as I know). In fact, our recent car history has been pretty bizarre by normal people’s standards.

Let’s start with our most ’normal’ choice. Family needs family car; let’s buy a Zafira. Oldest child, mathematician in the making, says that as a family of five, we need two more children to fill the car. Get two more children. Car soon begins to feel too small. With friends, girlfriends, all those we want to offer lifts to, we never seem to have enough seats. Let’s get a minibus. Leave realms of ’normal’. We become known locally as ‘the family on the hill with the minibus‘. Everyone at our son’s football calls it the Mystery Machine. I get used to the weird looks as I park up for my weekly shop. But it proves to definitely have its uses. Then the fuel prices increase and the minibus begins to feel more and more like an albatross. Decide to get an ’N’ reg Fiesta instead.

All those who thought that we were mad to buy a minibus now think that we are mad to have got rid of it. We are accused of going from the sublime to the ridiculous (although frankly, the minibus was never sublime). And six months on, our lives have continued as normal. Contrary to popular belief, I can fit my weekly shopping in. There have only been a handful of times when having only five spaces in the car has proved an inconvenience and required some forethought and planning. And the saving (financial and energy) is ENORMOUS!

As for scrappage (even the word annoys me – and it’s not recognised by my spellchecker), the debate over the energy advantages of running old cars v trading them in for newer more energy efficient models and the attempts to salvage the British motor industry, don’t get me started. It seem to me that anyone can get the argument to go anyway that suits them and most of us will feel selfishly justified in getting whatever we wanted in the first place.

So the moral of this story?  Take it from me, what kind of car you drive does not have to be a statement. Stop judging others by the car they drive and then you will be set free from the feeling that others are judging you by the car you drive. There is no requirement. You do not have to have a certain number of seats or a certain engine specification to lead a happy and fulfilled life. A car really can be just a means of getting from A to B. As for us, we have taken a decision (unusual or otherwise) that works with our ethical conscience and our lifestyle. Maybe that is a statement in itself. I’m sure I read somewhere that the Arctic adventurer Pen Hadow drives an old Fiesta to make an environmental statement, so we’re in good company. Whatever decision you reach about what car to drive, as long as you feel comfortable having the Philip’s Green Road Atlas of Britain on your passenger seat for all to see, then sit back and enjoy the ride.

image via Flickr

You may also like...