Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

January 4, 2007

My Punishment for Driving

Category: Fun,Little Things,Transportation – Tom Harrison – 8:37 pm

This morning was a great day to ride. Global warming has made our normally frosty January quite mild — mid 50’s today. But I drove because I had a meeting. I could have easily taken public transit or gotten a ride with the guy I was meeting … actually in the end I did. So, I got my punishment.

It seems that when I bought my Prius last year (almost a year ago) I assumed that the registration would be all set. As it turns out it was only registered for a month until my birthday, so actually I have been driving an unregistered vehicle for the last 10 months. So when I got pulled over today in Cambridge on my way to my meeting, I was surprised, since I am actually a pretty responsible driver. This is a change from when I was a reckless 20-something. Now I have kids and stuff.

Apparently the original problem today was age related: I didn’t see the no-left-turn sign, and the punishment began. Two motorcycle cops pulled me over and asked for license and registration which I promptly provided. Thinking they would see my nearly spotless driving record and let me off with a warning, I continued my conversation with my co-worker riding with me, and called the guy I was meeting to say I would be a few minutes late.

When the office came back to the car he had some paper. He told me that the left turn would be a warning, as I expected. He explained the state of my registration, which surprised me. But what surprised me even more was that there was a tow truck arriving and he told me they would have to impound the car until the registration was taken care of. So they took my car and towed it! There I was, left standing on the road. Good thing for global warming, since it was nice outside.

The nice guys at the company I was meeting with gave me a ride to our meeting, then back to our office (even if it was in his mega-Lexus-SUV that I would probably have flipped the bird at … except I was a passenger now). A quick online registration ($26.00), a taxi ride to the towing lot ($10), $75 to get my car out of the pound, and a $100 citation for the unregistered vehicle later, all I need to pay for now is the increase in my insurance rate for the next five years. I consider it a fair punishment for my weakness in not riding my bike.

Which goes to show, I should have driven. On the bright side, another co-worker had to take the bus since there were no parking spaces left and she said it wasn’t that bad.


  1. Tom and Teresa,

    Hi from Louisville. Just learned about your blog and read Jan 07. Inspiring. I’m shopping for a Prius. How are your two Prii now that they are a year old?

    If there was a plug-in Prius on the market I’d go for it. Recently viewed “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. Learned alot; didn’t make me very happy.


    Comment by Debbie Weeter — January 13, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

  2. Dude —

    The best argument I’ve seen for taking public transportation in years. That and Iraq. You’ll be amazed to know that your right leaning sister took your mother on the NY subway this weekend — absolutely the best way to get around!

    But I want to know if you’ve been riding your bike this February, now that Global Cooling has returned….

    xo anne

    Comment by Mom and Anne — February 18, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  3. Debbie —

    I have been MIA on the blog for the last month of so, in hibernation :-).

    Our Prii are are good as new (1 and 2 years old). I think it’s by far the best car (just as a car) I have ever had. I used to have Toyota Celica, and when I enjoyed driving 85 MPH on the New Jersey Turnpike that was a really fun car. But for ease of use and driving, comfort, maneuverability, safety and all those things that one appreciates more with age, the Prius is the best. Ok, so I have never had a Lexus or BMW or anything.

    One thing we have noticed is that mileage is lousy in very cold weather (I have been getting only about 35MPG on my driving commute to work on really cold days)

    I would like to have a plug-in option.

    But buy a Prius if you can. I have mostly nothing but good things to say about ours.

    Comment by Admin — February 24, 2007 @ 11:54 am

  4. Hi Anne —

    Is it really the case that “right leaning” is associated with environmentally unfriendly practices? I don’t think so!

    Looking at environmental concerns from a pro-business standpoint, what I don’t get out about countries current policies is that we’re investing so much money in companies like ExxonMobil that are using it to find more oil. It seems fairly clear to me that transitional technologies (e.g. hybrid car) and new technologies (e.g. hydrogen fuel cells) are both things that will make a country much more competitive.

    I think it’s arguable that Toyota has, once again, eaten GM’s and Ford’s lunch by having an iota of foresight a few years ago and focusing some effort on fuel efficiency while the other guys were seeing if they could make even bigger trucks.

    To me, the main thing a government can do is set an agenda and encourage policies that incent people and businesses to do things to support the agenda. What I don’t get is why the current agenda is so clearly anti-environmental. If we had recognized how dramatically oil had changed things, and how Global Warming was real a lot earlier, we would have been on par with or had a competitive head start over the rest of the world. We seem to have done the opposite by giving false assurances and incentives to the wrong businesses to keep doing the wrong things.

    Hell, even a more libertarian view of the world would discourage the kind of tax incentives we give out to all kinds of companies.

    I don’t think this needs to be a “left” or “right” issue.


    Comment by Admin — February 24, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

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