Tuesday, February 03, 2009


My car gets a little over 40 miles per gallon. Yes, that’s right, eat that America! A big reason for this is that my car is what is called a Kei Car, or Yellow Plate. If you don’t know what that is, here is a useful link
But they can basically be described with this, “Kei-Cars, or keijidōsha, are small passenger cars as well as trucks. They are mainly sold in Japan, because there are some tax and insurance relaxations and an exemption from the usual requirement of certification of park space that one has adequate parking space at his or her home or has contract with a parking spot.”
Now that is all fine and good, but there is also a thing in Japan called Shaken, it’s a bi-annual check up to ensure the road worthiness and environmental standard of your auto. Shaken is really expensive! I paid 750 dollars in shaken on a car that might be worth 2000 dollars and that was getting away reasonably. They replaced a 15 dollar belt and assured me everything else was in order. Thanks a heap.
Everybody hates shaken time. This does two things; First it encourages the cars on Japanese roads to be more environmentally friendly and generally newer, Second it encourages Japan to sell cars to other nations before they are past their usable point or to drive them into a remote place and leave them there. To me this is the twisting of the knife. The point of shaken is to keep environmentally friendly cars on the road and heavy polluters off. The point, however, is totally benign if the car is just driven somewhere else in the world or left to rot its fluids into nature. But I digress.
While mileage on Japanese cars is great gas here in Japan is not exactly cheap. I can cheer about miles per gallon, but weep about gas prices. Currently prices near me are at about 112 yen per liter for regular. If you take the conversion rates of yen to dollars and the conversions of liters to gallons you get about 4.75 dollars per gallon of regular gasoline here at the local station. For entertainment sake lets say my car gets 43 miles to a gallon, which may actually be correct. That means that I get 8.42 miles per dollar of gasoline. How does your car stack up?