Well, my car dilemma turned into a car debacle last week. My Subaru turned out to need $3500 in parts and labor to fix the differential and all the other transmission parts that were damaged by metal particles from the disintegrating differential. It's been like an end-of-life drama over the phone with the auto-shop, discussing my options and looking into its relative value as scrap or a donation, etc.
Meanwhile, I had a whole week with no car, so the kids and I utilized our local mass transit. I love that my town has fantastic transit for the size of the town. I was able to get to all my appointments - but things like grocery needs were very challenging. The corner convenience store in my neighborhood got some good business from me last week but I would hate to be trapped paying those kind of prices for tiny bags of cat food and so forth.
We tried to think of a way we could wait until the Nissan Leaf is released, but that will still be 5 months or more, and going that long with no car doesn't look possible. And when we decided to buy a Leaf, it would have been a second car, with the Subaru being parked in the driveway ready to go on trips of more than the 100 mile range of the Leaf batteries. My mother lives just over 100 miles away from me. As an only car, the Leaf wouldn't allow us to make the trips to Seattle or to my mother's house that we make about once a month.
So we went and bought a Toyota Prius. It's not a zero emission all electric way of the future ... but it's 50 mpg of efficient fossil fuel consumption. As one friend said "you can feel like a petty thief instead of a climate criminal". I won't be able to afford the Leaf now, though - I can't buy two cars at once!
Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I wish life would line up to follow my plans, but alas and alack, it does not. Some witty person, can't remember who, said "I would take my problems one at a time if only they would form a neat line".
So now I am driving a hybrid, and still trying to unload my sad broken car.