The car that lied to me… or did it?

Marketplace Staff Apr 29, 2011

The car that lied to me… or did it?

Marketplace Staff Apr 29, 2011

Madeleine Brand: When I first started going out with him two years ago, we were a sleek couple.

Tess Vigeland: KPCC’s Madeleine Brand is having some “issues” with her car.

Madeleine Brand: People noticed us. Well, they definitely noticed him: There weren’t a lot like him around then. He was fun, but practical. Self reliant, but accommodating. Naughty, but nice.

He told me things I wanted to hear. “Madeleine,” he said, “I get 34 miles to the gallon in the city, 44 on the highway.” He showed me his EPA sticker to prove it.

Wow! Not only was I going to look good with him, I was going to feel good too. Jetta Clean Diesel SportWagen, you had me at “Gutentag.”

Two years later, the first blush of our courtship over, I have some issues. Why does he pause when I want to accelerate really quickly? Why is his iPod function so clunky? Why do I find it hard to lean on his arm… rest?

But the big issue? I think he lied to me on our first date. Yeah. Lied. That 34 miles to the gallon in the city. Well, here on the streets of Los Angeles, he’s only giving me 28.

Brand at gas station: Quarter tank at $26.09.

And ladies, when you think your guy isn’t being truthful, you talk it over with a friend? Well, I did that with Los Angeles Times car columnist Susan Carpenter.

Susan Carpenter: It’s supposed to average 34…

Brand: And I really get 28. I am mad at my car. It’s lying to me.

Susan Carpenter: Well you know what? This is anecdotal, but according to my mechanic, when fuel prices go up, a lot of people think something’s wrong with their car.

Brand laughs

Susan said it might be my lead foot that’s behind my lower-than expected gas mileage, and I do like to zip around.

Carpenter: So many different factors that come into play in terms of your fuel economy. If you have a lead foot, if you’re even carrying a hundred extra pounds in your car, such as… We’re three of us, right?

Brand: Right.

Carpenter: So that’s going to decrease your fuel economy already. I think it’s 2 percent decrease in fuel economy for every hundred pounds you are carrying around.

Oh great, now he’s saying I’m fat. But you know what, he’s not the looker he once was was either. When we first met, he said he was “champagne”-colored. But now I see, in the cold light of day, he’s just silver.

Vigeland: When she’s not having doubts about her car, Madeleine is host of the “Madeleine Brand Show” on KPCC.

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