The Road to FISE: Let It Go! (The 2006 Honda Minivan)
September 11, 2020
Yesterday was one of those discombobulating environmental work days. My post got published on KevinMD “It’s Time To Go All In on Climate Change,” https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2020/09/its-time-to-go-all-in-on-climate-action.html. Yet thus far, no shares. Hmmm. Half a million subscribers but no shares. Top Social Media Blog for Physicians yet the apathy on climate change in that virtual medical sphere is deafening. I agreed to do a podcast for KevinMD as well, so we shall see. Or maybe I’m just not the right messenger for that audience? I am who I am, so I’ll find another venue where I can try to activate more people.
One thing I did do for the environment yesterday was sell our 4th car in a household of 3 drivers. It’s probably more of a large western state issue, but when we built our house we had made sure to have six parking spots. Two streetside out in front, a 2 car garage, and a concrete pad out in back that has a retractable fence/gate and 2 spots there. Over the years we ended up with four cars. The 4th car is a 2006 Honda Minivan that was our “extra” car that seats 8 people. It’s a really nice car with 95,000 miles that we bought from my sister-in-law who was the original owner. We’ve always maintained it at the Honda Dealership, no accidents, and only used it occassionally for picking up Girl Scout cookies or lending it to family for that rare airport pickup of out of town guests.
But we don’t really have a need for that car anymore, especially since I will be stepping back from Girl Scout responsibilities in about a year. No more driving half the troop to camping in Julian, and no more cookie manager for me. It was time to “Let It Go!”
Part of the reason we also wanted to let it go, was that I started noticing the potential of our outdoor concrete pad. I want to put raised planter beds there and do some container gardening. After talking to Mr. Plastic Picker this hardly used car also costs about $150 in registration fees a year and the insurance costs a few hundred dollars. But it more took up mental space. We had to drive it a few times a month so that battery wouldn’t die. The kids hated the car, because when their grandfather picks them up in the car given the way he drives – they always come home nauseous. It’s more my father-in-law’s driving but the large car doesn’t help.
It’s going to be a fantastic car for the right family. We ended up getting four offers for the car! It’s not hard to sell a well maintained used car when the goal is not maximizing profit. I just wanted to get a fair price on it, and I wanted to sell it myself (just for the experience). Mr. Plastic Picker took it to carmax and it was appraised at $3500 for trade in/immiedate cash there. Kelly Blue Book for private sale appraised ot for 4500-7000K. My brother who has a lot of cars, offered me $3800 and another friend offered $4750. We ended up selling it to another friend from out of state for $4500 because she approached us first and actually needs the car for her growing family. Given that I’m a pediatrician, I’m a sucker for kids who need more legroom. Plus my friend is very environmental and I saw her use an aluminum bento lunch box once.
Anyway, the car is sold and we have $4500 to put into our war chest for buying a San Francisco condo (still dreaming even with the wildfires). We also saved about $400 a year in insurance and DMV fees. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s something. I could have sold it to a family member who has a used car dealership, but I was curious to see how hard it would be to sell my own car. I’m really into new experiences these days! In the end it was not hard, just a lot of reading on the internet. You can Ecosia (not Google) search anything these days. If you want to sell your own car, please do your own research. This is what I learned and how I sold our car on 9/10/2020. Things obviously will change, and you might even be in a different state with different rules.
1. DMV Transfer Forms: If you have your original title, you can just use that; you don’t need a duplicate title form. If you do not need to disclose the odometer reading (car older than 10 years), you may download and print a Bill of Sale REG 135 (PDF) form. We had the original title so just signed it over to our friend in her presence and gave it to her. We kept a copy. The Bil of Sale we signed, and she just gave us a $4500 personal check. She is driving it out of state, and we won’t cash it until she takes it to her own mechanic and gets everything checked out. When the transaction between trusted friends, it makes it easier. DONE.
2. Smog Certification: “If you’re trying to sell your car in Texas, you don’t necessarily need to pass smog prior to the transaction. In fact, the only things you need to provide are the title with an accurate odometer reading and a signed Application for Texas Certificate of Title. That said there are still annual inspections and smog laws to be aware of before selling.” https://instamotor.com/sell-car/smog/do-you-need-to-pass-smog-before-selling-a-car-in-texas I looked through all our maintenance paperwork (thank goodness that Mr. Plastic Picker keeps everything) and our car had always passed the Smog requirements for California. I relayed that information to my friend.
3. Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability: “Sold your vehicle? Completing a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) lets DMV knows that you are no longer responsible for parking/traffic violations or civil or criminal actions associated with the vehicle after the date of sale.” It’s actually the attached to the bottom part of the title. You can file this paperwork online. DONE. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-registration/titles/title-transfers-and-changes/notice-of-transfer-and-release-of-liability-nrl/
4. Mail Everything to the DMV: “You can submit your paperwork by mail. However, if you do this, you need to make sure that all the forms are filled out correctly, as errors can delay the transfer of ownership. Send forms (with proper postage) to DMV, P.O. Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-000. Notifying the DMV of your transfer within the required five days is very important. If you don’t, you may be legally responsible for the car even when it is, for all intents and purposes, the other person’s.
And that is it. This morning I’m sitting at the kitchen table and looking out into the backyard, and the concrete pad is empty. Our 2006 Honda Odyssey is gone. What’s left is open space that can be anything we imagine it. More importantly it was the earth that prompted me to sell the 4th car in a 3-driver household. Holding onto a well-made well-maintained used car that we did not need made no economic nor ecologic sense. There are intensive pressures on the earth and it’s natural resources in producing a new car. Probably for a car the size of a minivan it’s around 35 tonnes of CO2. This is from the Guardian article I always refer to “Ores have to be dug out of the ground and the metals extracted. These have to be turned into parts. Other components have to be brought together: rubber tyres, plastic dashboards, paint, and so on. All of this involves transporting things around the world. The whole lot then has to be assembled, and every stage in the process requires energy. The companies that make cars have offices and other infrastructure with their own carbon footprints, which we need to somehow allocate proportionately to the cars that are made.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/sep/23/carbon-footprint-new-car It takes about 1 ton of CO2 to do one cross country flight, so moving on from having a 4th car for a 3-car house hold was the equivalent of our family of four taking about 9 trips to visit our extended family on the east coast.
And honestly minimizing life in a fiscally and ecologically sound way, gives me so much freedom. Yesterday I got to hang out with this little dude. Not my child, as mine are teenager-range and were in super difficult classes like Honors Spanish and Algebra 2. I was hanging out with this Threenager. I’m not sure what he was doing. I met up with on old student who is a pediatrician and her son, and we went plastic picking together. I usually like to go alone and get into a semi-meditative state. But I actually like going with litte kids (I am a pediatrician), because they do funny things. I think he was trying to bury his feet in the sand but I was afriad he was going to faceplant into the beach! But little Ryan aged 3 did a great job. My grabber was harder for him to use, so now I know to buy a set of little dinosaur ones for post-covid19 and when I will resume our group litter picking sessions! Actually I just saw on youtube there is a way to make your own more sturdier grabbers! Our fourth AAP Climate Change and Health Intern is starting, and he is a mechanical engineering student. It would be cool if he just worked with some high school kids to make grabbers? Wow. The ideas keep on flowing!
So ends the Plastic Picker family Odyssey of our 2006 Honda Odyssey. May the good karma flow to it’s new family. Olaf will hopefully guide a mother home. And thank you my highschool friend for the delicious Salt Like Brisket. I don’t think I’ve really eaten beef for a year, as I am trying to go imperfectly vegan. But I figured given this big ecological move, a bit of beef was okay. And it was DELICIOUS!!!! But back to being imperfectly vegan today!