Sentences to Ponder

From “Tesla unveils redesigned Model S with new interior and 520-mile range option.

“Tesla has just announced the first major redesign of the Model S since it launched the electric sedan in 2012. This new version, which starts shipping in March, has a refreshed exterior, a simplified interior, and the option for a more powerful powertrain that lets the car travel at least 520 miles and go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under two seconds.”

Dear Elon, when does public safety factor in?

Monday Required Reading

1A. QAnon’s ‘Meme Queen’ Marches On. Loneliness is a scourge.

“What attracts Ms. Gilbert and many other people to QAnon isn’t just the content of the conspiracy theory itself. It’s the community and sense of mission it provides. New QAnon believers are invited to chat rooms and group texts, and their posts are showered with likes and retweets. They make friends, and are told that they are not lonely Facebook addicts squinting at zoomed-in paparazzi photos, but patriots gathering “intel” for a righteous revolution.

This social element also means that QAnon followers aren’t likely to be persuaded out of their beliefs with logic and reason alone.”

1B. The Unlikely Connection Between Wellness Influencers and the Pro-Trump Rioters. Sigh.

2. Why Chamberlain Built a $3,000 Automatic Garage Door For Your Dog.

3. The Golf World Hardly Deserves Praise for “Breaking” With Trump. News Alert: Not everyone is impressed by my newly woke sport.

4. He Just Wanted To Play Catch. La ultima feel good story.

“I think people want to reconnect a little bit right now.”

5. Electric Cars Are Better for the Planet – and Often Your Budget, Too.

“The federal government offers a tax credit for some new electric vehicle purchases, but that does nothing to reduce the initial purchase price and does not apply to used cars. That means it disproportionately benefits wealthier Americans. Some states, like California, offer additional incentives. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has pledged to offer rebates that help consumers swap inefficient, old cars for cleaner new ones, and to create 500,000 more electric vehicle charging stations, too.”

All of today’s QAnon reading necessitated at least one President-elect Biden reference. I don’t want any PressingPausers losing touch with reality.

Tuesday Required Reading and Viewing

1. Bet you can’t guess the top global health story of 2020.

2. Bet you can’t guess the ‘secret’ to longevity.

3. Bluetits and Bluebells: Essex’s open water swimmers – a photo essay. Remember, I don’t write the headlines, I just share them.

4. It’s not that hard to buy nothing. After reading the top comments, a suggestion. Dear wealthy people, advertise your minimalism at your own risk. The non-wealthy are (still) not having it.

5. The future of electric cars. This really good ‘free’ advice proves you don’t always get what you pay for.

New Car Math

I just bought a new car, or more accurately, a pre-owned car. A 2017 Prius-V, the uber-sexy wagon* that Toyota doesn’t make anymore that gets 45-50mpg**. Suffice to say, my friends’ jealousy is spiking. Don’t hate me because you ain’t me.

I paid $23,100. It had 13,662 miles on it and was in near new shape. Taxes, fees, and registration brought the total to $25,700.

This damn car review of the 2020 Prius Prime makes wonder if I made a mistake that you should avoid if in the market for a new car. Start at the 12 minute mark.

For some reason I can’t explain, in my upper lefthand corner of the world, car prices are lower in Portland, especially when I add in the tax savings since I live in a county with a lower than average rate and they use my home address for the sales tax calculation. Dig this 2020 Prius Prime car listing. Note, importantly, it’s the base model recommended by the Savage Geese.

Purchase price $27,201. For me, taxes, fees, and registration are going to push that to right around $30,000. Then, crucially, subtract the $4,500 federal tax credit that comes with it for an out of pocket cost of $25,500. Two hundy less than I paid for my lived in 2017 that I can’t plug in at night for 25 miles of electric range. I could stop right here, but let’s extend the case study for potential new car buyers unaccustomed to car math.

We’re going to own it for 8 years. Since it’s a Toyota, and we’re going to take great care of it, and not use it for ride sharing, let’s assume it depreciates slowly at 7.5%/year for a cost of approximately $1,900/year. Let’s fully insure it for the first six years at an approximate cost of $1k/year and then remove comprehensive and collision for years 7 and 8 for a savings of $300-$350 in each of those last two years. So total insurance costs is approximately $7k for the 8 years or $875/year.

Because we mostly use it in and around town, and use juice to do that, let’s assume 6 trips to the gas station at $25 a pop for a total outlay of $150/year. Same with maintenance, $150/year on average. The first two years are free, then we’d probably average $200 a year because we have an independent mechanic we trust and the car is bullet proof.

The final equation $1,900+$875+$150+$150=$3,075/year or about the same TOTAL cost my nephew paid for his beater Corolla. The big differences of course are the considerable safety and technology enhancements, superior ride quality, and convenience of only having to do regular maintenance.

$3,075/month is $256/month, or if you make $25.60/hour, 10 hours of work a month. Not too bad.

I am aware I failed to factor in electricity costs, not quite sure how to calculate those. Finally, my car has one distinct advantage over the new Prime, its vo-lu-mi-nous cargo space.

*with me in it

**because the RAV-4 Hybrid has cannibalized sales.