I'll be appearing on a short segment on "thrifty" car ownership on KGNU this Thursday around 6:15 PM. KGNU broadcasts in the Boulder/Denver area at 88.5 FM and 1390 AM and can also be heard on the internet at KGNU.org. There will also be a call in session around 6:30 if you want to participate. Most likely I will be interviewed over the phone rather than in the studio since the show is being produced from the Denver studio and it doesn't seem very thrifty to drive into rush hour traffic to be there in person.
What follows is a list of URLs that may come up in the interview/discussion. I'll illuminate them a bit more here for reference.
If you are ever out of town and wondering who in the world you can trust to work on your car there is an internet resource that is always worth a look. Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers of NPR fame host a database of mechanics on their website. Shops are submitted by listeners who often recount their personal experiences. This link will take you directly to a page where you can enter your car's make and a zip code and find the nearest shop that works on your brand of car. You can also find it by looking for The Mechanics Files on the CarTalk.com website.
So why don't you use public transportation more? If you are like most people it's because you have to walk some distance to a bus stop and wait for an uncertain amount of time for a bus that may or may not be on time to take you to a destination that will also require a walk to complete. In Boulder the buses almost all have bike carriers on the front so the hardcore can cut down on their wait times but it's still not much of an alternative to a private car. You could call a cab which is more convenient if you have packages but returning from your destination will require some planning. Wouldn't it be nice if you could call on your cell phone and have a small bus arrive at your doorstep or the store within 5 minutes? All the technology is available today to implement a system that would replace the personal car for many people. Here is a link that explains how it works.
So you are happy using your bike for most things and already share rides to the grocery store or carpool to work but you have to have a car to pick up people from the airport this weekend? Maybe you need a pickup truck for a weekend gardening job or to pick up that flatscreen TV at Costco. In Boulder you could look into CarShare.org. In Seattle or many other cities you could find a similar service by ZipCar.
Sorry but the Chevy Volt leaves me cold as do most of the electric and hybrid cars currently envisioned. One idea that does impress me can be seen at www.betterplace.com where Shea Agassi has re-envisioned the whole transportation market based on something more like a cell phone network than the structure we are all embedded in now. The advamtages? Using a uniform modular battery pack frees owners from depending on a single manufacturer to provide their batteries, allows battery swaps to be done en route in about the same time as a fuel stop and considerably lengthens the range of pure electric vehicles. Only a dream? Well several large governments are invested in making it a reality. This interview from Wired magazine is well worth reading.
Thanks for listening and Happy Motoring!