What I'm Seeing Now

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Can I Vent A Minute Here!?

I had always driven Ford Explorers, for many years.  They were great cars, a man's car.  They did NOT get great gas mileage, 14-16 mpg.  It got expensive with all my driving as a home inspector, some weeks 1,200 miles!

In the spring of 2005 I heard that gasoline prices might hit $4/gallon that summer.  I was taken aback by that.  In speaking with a friend he said he knew of a Ford Escape Hybrid that happened to come available at his dealership.  They were scarce and the waiting list was months.  But I could have that one right away.  The bonus - 33-36 mpg!  That was the real reason I bought the car - great gas mileage and it could carry all my stuff.

SO I MADE THE UNFORTUNATE MISTAKE OF BUYING IT.

Why was it a mistake?  It is not the man's car I was used to.  It is a girl's car!  Everything is small.  It is weak. It is wimpy.  The huge battery pack makes my ears ring and ruins the radio's reception.  They lied about the gas mileage.  My best is 26 mpg or so, far from what they promised, and the same as the non hybrid.  In other words, they lied.  I paid a $13,000 premium over the non hybrid for this car!  Here is the picture of my car, minus my business sign.

Why am I upset?  Despite all their promises...

I WILL NEVER BREAK EVEN!

Because of the crappy mileage, I will never have saved enough on gasoline expenses to break even.

Here's another kick in the teeth.

Today I had an emissions test so I can renew my tag for two years.  It costs $28 (a couple of years ago it cost $10).  Is that a lot of money?  No.

So why does this test bother me?  Because everything on the test is labeled N/A.  The 18 HCppm, CO% and NOppm tests all registered N/A!  The 8 other various tests registered the N/A!  Why?  Because a hybrid produces so little they are N/A on a test.  So why should I have the test?

What passed?  The fact that the car still has a catalytic converter and that my gas tank cap is tight.  Oh, and my visible smoke inspection passed.  There was no "visible smoke." 

WELL, IT'S A HYBRID, THERE SHOULD BE NO VISIBLE SMOKE!!

So, I have to pay an emissions test fee for them to make sure I didn't remove my catalytic converter and that my gas cap fits tightly!  What a waste!  We all know why I am forced to have that test though:

$$$$$$$$$     As always it's the     $$$$$$$$$

And don't try to console me by telling me that I am saving the world. That is as ridiculous as requiring me to get an emissions test!

My recommendation:  Stick with your Explorer.  And drive happy.

Thanks for listening Doctor.  I feel much better.  Same time next week?

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 26 commentsJay Markanich • April 20 2010 07:45PM

Comments

You are right. The Explorer is an awesome vehicle for real estate use. I absolutely love mine. Good luck!

Posted by Jen Madison, I'm always happy to help (Solutions Real Estate) (Solutions Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Thanks for reminding me Jen!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

I looked at an Escape hybrid.  I had driven an Escape the first year they came out, as a rental, and had liked it.

The new ones are so tight, at 6-5 and, uh, "several" pounds, I could not get in and close the door.  Sounds like that saved me some aggravation.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

Thanks for the info.  I tried hypermiling with my car when I bought it and the gas mileage was not what was promised with regular driving.  So we can't believe what they tell us, although my car is not a hybrid.

Posted by Judy Orr, SW & Near West Chicago suburbs (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 8 years ago

Mike - my wife has a 2010 Escape but not the hybrid.  She loves it!  Too small is what I say, along with you.

Judy - I thought since it was the first year it came out that they would be more accurate.  Wrong!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay, thanks for making me feel a lot better about my full size pickup truck.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Jay - I have an F-150 and get reasonable mileage, and while I like the concept of a hybrid, I never figured they would be worth the extra cost for me. Glad you confirmed my thoughts.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 8 years ago

A car salesman once told me "drive something that makes you happy". Makes sense and in the long run saves you money.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 8 years ago

My dad used to have a strategy at the VA inspection stations. 

If I could just brew bio-diesel for my F-350, I would be golden... and it is emissions exempt.

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 8 years ago

Reuben - happy to be the guinea pig!  Or not...

John - happy to be the guinea pig!  Or not...  Didn't I just see that somewhere?

Doug - we agree!  We agree!

Lane - apparently my clean and pure-as-the-snow hybrid is NOT.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay * Yes, you should have called the "CAR TALK" boys and asked first. Maybe they can put MAN and CHICK cars on their website.

I drive Lexus(s) and have had 2 RXs.  I thought about an RX400h for about 30 minutes while having my oil changed on my last one and my repair man talked me out of it when he discussed getting up and down hills in Central VA * NOT!!!

I see an Expedition or H3 in your future!!!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 8 years ago

If/when my wife gets through these medical problems, Wallace, I would love to go back to the Explorer!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

Good post. You have every right to be upset. You bought an empty promise. Maybe they'll let you trade it for a F-150. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) over 8 years ago

That's a great vehicle that I have looked at for some time Steve.  Maybe soon!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, if you get an F-150, go for the Raptor...  It is seriously badass.  Especially if you get the big block...  Priuses will fall over as it drives by. 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 8 years ago

Now considered Lane!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

i didn't know  till now that there were boy cars and girl cars...hope that doesn't mean that my Bobbier Ewing Mercedes convertible is only for boys....

 

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

I drive a Honda CRV. Did not like the Escape. The CRV is larger inside than the Escape, better on gas also. I get about 22 mpg and am quite happy with my vehicle.  Is this a girlie car? Doctor I need to know :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

Don't know Sally!  That sounds like a boy car to me!  Chick magnet, you see...

Jim - If your wife likes it, it is a girlie car!  My wife hated my Explorers - "too big... too powerful..." and so on.  My wife liked my Escape so much she now has one of her own.  I hope that answers your question.  See you next week?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Odd... My wife really doesn't like my F350, but she can drive it.  My old girlfriend loved it, but couldn't drive it.  I always considered it a "Guy Truck"...

And here is the Raptor...

F150 Raptor

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 8 years ago

Can I get a pair in Redskin colors Lane?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Very limited colors... I think there is also a blue and possibly a white aside from the black and red.  And you really need to see one sitting next to a regular F150... they are a couple inches wider and also taller... 

As my son says "Daddy Likes..."

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 8 years ago

I'm not sure what the difference is between a man's car and a girl's car because I know a lot of men who drive hybrids and a lot of women running around in high-horsepower sports cars. Nonetheless, I suspect that if you used the cruise control more you'd get closer to the mileage that was claimed.

I don't have a hybrid because I grew up in Texas with Mustangs, Z28s, Trans Ams, Corvettes, Novas, 442s, etc.. I need the horsepower. Otherwise I just don't feel right. Whenever I test drive a car, I always take it north on the I-805 bridge. If it can't get up that bridge, it's not going home with me. I haven't found a hybrid yet that could get up that bridge without getting out to push it.

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) over 8 years ago

Russel - By a girl's car, I mean that everything about it is smaller.  It fits my wife really well.  So well that she demanded her own.  But she doesn't have the hybrid - and hers gets the same mileage as mine.  I use the cruise control all the time on long trips between inspections.  That is the worst mileage because it forces itself to maintain the speed and even on small hills the rpm's get up to 4000, which is really a gas user.  I can manage the rpm's better when it isn't on cruise control.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Grandpa Henry would have liked this post. The Ford Explorer was his fav too.

Posted by Kate Kate over 8 years ago

NO doubt Kate!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

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