The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Cars, Costs, and Canny Considerations!


I’m a college senior graduating this coming May with a degree in political science. I’ve already landed a great gig near Harrisburg, PA, which is where I’ll be moving to immediately after my graduation. While I’m definitely excited about relocating and starting my career, the one major obstacle I’m facing is not having a car.

That wasn’t an issue while spending the last four years attending an inner city school with everything necessary to live within walking, biking, or bussing distance. During the few occasions when that wasn’t enough, I’ve simply relied on Uber or Lyft. Unfortunately, that won’t necessarily be the case where I’m headed.

My parents lent me one of their cars throughout high school. As a result, I’ve never owned a car myself. How should I go about getting one?

American culture has long fixated itself on the allure and promise of car ownership. Make no mistake, though, experts are predicting shifts of seismic proportions as a result of rapidly changing national demographics. The subject has become wildly controversial in more recent decades, especially with the stratospheric rise in urbanization. The very nature of car ownership now seems at odds with progress and the onward march of modernity.

While arguments have been made that people quite frequently elect to drive cars in lieu of more efficient and economical alternatives, the truth is much more complicated than that. Thoughtful citizens have experimented with the prospect of abandoning car ownership to find that it’s often much more challenging than expected, depending on where you live. Idealists sometimes envision a utopian future entirely devoid of cars, but experts suspect the real future is more likely to be without drivers – in the traditional sense, at least.

These trends aren’t necessarily positive or negative so much as they are informative. Declining car ownership could mean less traffic congestion plus more open space in our major cities and local neighborhoods. The possibilities don’t end there. Other researchers are predicting more meaningful trends as events unfold. This is all to say that car ownership demands serious consideration. You’ll need to look before you leap.

Assuming you conclude that the advantages of having a car outweigh both the clear and hidden costs, then you’ll have to begin conducting your due diligence. Remain honest and be realistic with yourself when trying to match different vehicles with your personal lifestyle. For instance, deciding between buying a car and leasing one can have a tremendous impact on your financial future. The most undesirable situation is later regretting your decision while having no possibility of recourse.

Another important factor to consider is whether or not to purchase the vehicle and drive it to your new home or simply wait until you arrive there before committing. Either choice can have its pros and cons. One keen idea, however, is investigating the winter driving conditions. That should aid you in determining the most viable vehicle when it comes to balancing safety and lifestyle.

Similar to any other city, especially a state capital, the place has no shortage of local car dealerships to browse. Anticipate exploring the recognizable brand manufacturers. For instance, you might visit the Sutliff Volkswagen in Harrisburg, PA or the Hoffman Ford dealership also located in Harrisburg, PA. And don’t be afraid to tap into online car comparison websites to further refine your different options.

“When my car runs out of gas, I buy a new one. I don’t want to ride around in a quitter.” – Stephen Colbert

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