Saturday, August 15, 2015

We Bought a Car . . . .

We planned on not buying a car while living in Ecuador.   

We wanted a simple and efficient lifestyle of walking, taxis, staying local, and for longer trips, renting a car.  Plus, I can’t stand car maintenance and feel like mechanics rip me off every time they tell me something is wrong.  A couple of months ago while living in Philadelphia, I went for a car inspection and was furious when the mechanic had the guile to require me to get new tires to pass inspection.  I argued and threatened to take my car elsewhere for the inspection and all future repairs if he wouldn’t pass it, and the mechanic caved in.  I told my friend the story, still irate at those trust less mechanics, when he looked at my tires and told me the mechanic should’ve never passed my bald tires that were held together with rubber nail hole filler and had thread bare side walls.  I took a second look, maybe my friend had a point, but mechanics are still schemers – I persuaded myself, and I wanted to be away from them for at least 13 months.   

Our expectations about being carless were soon shattered.  Taxi prices have risen since the last time we were in Ecuador and rental cars can cost up to $100/day for a car accommodating 2 adults and 3 carseats, which they consider an oversized car as most people cram their entire families, carseat less, into mini matchbox looking cars.  We also didn’t realize how much we would need to get out of the little town of Alangas√≠.  13 months without a car might be efficient and simple, but it also might cause us to go stir crazy.  The small town where we are living is nice, but only one store boasts a coffee machine that has been “under repair” since the last time we were here, 2 years ago.  

We made the decision.  We would buy a car.  Then we started looking for the perfect one.  Our heads were spinning, our minds were numbed at the astronomical prices.  How can this be?  I thought things were supposed to be cheaper here?  

El Presidente Correa has placed a hefty luxury tax, of which cars are included, to fund his ever growing socialistic programs.  This has caused new car prices to be more than 40% higher than those in the US.  And on top of that, he has added yearly taxes that are paid for owning a car.  The newer the car the higher the yearly tax.  This increased price has worked its way down to all used cars.  The best car you can find in Ecuador for $10,000 is a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 150,000 miles on it, compared to what $10,000 can buy in the US, a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee loaded with all the extras and less miles.  (Below is a picture of the 2007 Hyundai Tucson that we decided on for a much heftier price tag than expected.)

I still can’t figure out how the average person can afford to drive, but they do.  And now we do too. 


1 comment:

  1. I think that countries that hold back its citizens like that are miserable. A luxury tax of 40% is extremely high for something that is pretty much necessary. Have you ever researched to see what the tax dollars might be applied to, like they often highlight here in the U.S.?

    Was purchasing a vehicle to use for just 13 months a worthwhile investment considering the short amount of time that you were living in Ecuador?

    Damion @ Jacky Jones Lincoln