I realized today that I had not kept up this blog the way I had intended. Truth be told it is because I am not so sure that I can really look at the Aptera with the same wide eyed wonder as I did when I first saw the car. Sure I still think it is a wonderful achievement, and I would give your eye teeth for it; But the economy has beaten me down. The Aptera has taken forever (in my own personal time frame) to be released and it looks like it is going to be an up hill battle on a state by state basis to get it approved. I still have the highest hopes that Aptera and our hero Steve will manage to make this wingless bird fly, but I could not wait any longer. The last couple of months have been more depressing for me than when I had the vertigo. The price of gas was eating me alive as I am sure it has been all of you. Desperate times require desperate measures so they say and I have been desperate looking for a solution to my own personal gas crunch. I don’t make a lot of money, so I was attracted to the Smart Car when I first caught sight of one. I actually drove to the national headquarters for Smart in Bloomfield, Michigan where I got to test drive one. It was fun, cute, and fit my 300 pound butt easily. It drove alright for a car with a 3 cylinder engine. I was all set to purchase one when the final word I was waiting for came out on the American crash tests. Too many 3 star ratings for my taste. My wife said she would never ride with me if I got one after she heard the results from me, but I had already decided I was not going to get one when I announced the results to her.

Depressed and Hell-bent on getting a different car other than the Saturn VUE I had been driving, I started going to different auto lots to see what was out there. On one of these trips, my wife said, “Let’s go test drive a Prius.” Being a fairly flexible person, I said, “Sure. Why not?” I didn’t think we would find any around because I was sure that the fuel costs had caused them to disappear off the lots. I was right for the most part. We found one still not purchased at a local Toyota dealer. All the others had sold signs on them. We walked in and found a salesman who let us test drive the last un-sold Prius right away. As we stood there without even test driving it, I jokingly asked my wife, “So, you wanna buy it?” and she said, “YES!” I was not prepared for that answer. I had been tricked by her! But how? I was almost sure that this was just a fact finding mission and that she just wanted to see what the car was like. Little did I realize her true agenda. I knew I had been suckered, but I didn’t know how to get out of the trap without chewing my own foot off. However, I had never got to test drive a Prius before so I thought it may be fun anyway. Besides, how could I finance a Prius with two other cars in my garage.

Side Note: my wife drives a 2006 diesel VW Beetle. If she could keep from pushing her foot to the floor she would get 45 MPG., but as it is she is only getting about 39 MPG. Still not bad. We met the salesman outside and got in the car to drive it.

I took it out on the Highway and put the car though its paces. This was a superior machine! I loved the way it handled. It was smooth and quite. Not powerful, but it can still go fast enough to get you into trouble. Just ask former V.P. Al Gore and Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak. Both of these guys got pulled over for speeding at around 104 MPH! To be honest, I never looked at a Prius until I found out that Steve Wozniak drove one. Steve is a mad genius with an I.Q. that is somewhere round 200. I figured if the car was good enough for my favorite geek, it had to be good enough for me. Hero worship aside, I did fall in love with the Prius on my first drive. But how could I get this car? I was sure that my credit score was too low for such an expensive car. After filling out the paper work and submitting it to Toyota finance, I got an answer. “Congratulations! You have an excellent score!. That is all I remember now. The whirlwind of papers to be signed sucked the oxygen out my lungs removing all the boundaries between reality and insanity. The more I signed the worse it got. I saw numerous dead presidents flying out of my wallet laughing at me. I saw a shaman in a business suit hand me a talisman that had a blinky red light that lit when I squeezed it. I saw him wish me well as I used the talisman to… To start the Prius! Oh God! it wasn’t a dream! Damn you! Damn you witch woman and all your tricks! Where is my money! How did this shiny white car get into my garage!

After the shock wore off I took the car out for a series of test drives that took almost 2 weeks to finish. I must now admit that love it. I finally had to fill up the tank when the fuel alarm went off telling me that it was low. I read in my manual later though that I still had 3 gallons in the 11.9 gallon tank when the alarm went off so I could have gone on for a long time. But the best news was that I am getting 52.3 MPG! Compaired to the VUE with it’s 17 MPG it is even better for me.

As soon as I can find someone to take over the lease on the VUE I will be much better. I am paying $265.45 a month on the VUE lease and I can’t eat that forever while paying for the $313.00 on the Prius. This part of my plan stinks as you may have noticed, but it was necessary. The Prius I was test driving had 3 other families waiting for it and the other Prius’s were gone without any word as to when a new shippment may be in. More frightening yet, the  dealer had over 70 Prius’s on his lot at one point two months earlier and this was indeed the last one as I could see for myself going through the lot. Again I say, desperate times. But what about my hope for the Aptera? I still have it. I want Aptera out there breathing down the necks of all the automakers. I want to see them stew the way we do every time we have to go to the gas station. With a car like the Aptera waiting to eat their collective lunch, it should make them work a little harder at making a hyper-mileage car on a large scale. There is no reason why in 2008 we don’t already have cars that get 300 MPG. If they had started working on this problem in the 1970’s during the first oil crisis, we would have been driving such a car by now.

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