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My Dilemma - by Ron Owens

I have a serious dilemma. I have an old reliable SUV that has become a part of my family. But she’s eleven years old, has 180,000 miles on her and gets terrible gas mileage. When the feds came up with their ‘Cash for Clunkers Program’ (C.A.R.S) they must have had her in mind. If I’m lucky she gets 13-15 mpg combined city and highway driving. Worst of all, her interior is beginning to show age. Her leather seats are exhibiting wear and tear, the front dash is showing the early signs of cracks, and the radio is less than receptive to picking up my favorite stations. However, on the plus side, she has cost me very little in repair bills. In fact, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had her in the repair shop. Because of her age her insurance bill puts a smile on my face. And, the last time I went to the county courthouse to buy her yearly tags the clerk smiled and said that she envied my low rate. In addition, she handles extremely well in snowy, slippery conditions – which we are known to have a few days of here in the beautiful Fraser Valley. Best of all, she’s paid for! In short, I have a serious dilemma; to buy or not to buy a new vehicle. I’m sure Monty (her name) would qualify for the full C.A.R.S incentive amount of $4,500. That’s the top amount the feds are willing to give me to buy a new better fuel-efficiency vehicle. I’ve already checked out a few vehicles and have found several I like. The Chevrolet Equinox, the Ford Edge/Ford Taurus and the Toyota Rav all impress me with their looks, features and gas mileage. What I don’t like about any of them is what they all come with: monthly payments plus higher insurance rates. Yep, I have a dilemma. The biggest hurdle I have to overcome is the fact that if I participate in the C.A.R.S program I will, for the first time in my life, accept a government handout. I feel really good that I have, throughout my life, always paid my own way. I won’t bore you with the details just know my parents taught me the value of having a good education and working hard in life. But, the fact remains that this program has a lot of good things about it. It gets old gas guzzlers (like Monty) off the road, stimulates the auto industry; and, puts additional dollars into local economies. Also, to my knowledge, it’s the only government recovery program that hasn’t been directed at bailing out the greedy people on Wall Street, who were a big part of creating our current economic mess. You’re right, I have a dilemma. Excuse me, the phone’s ringing… Sorry, got to run – the sales lady from the Ford dealership is on the line.

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