Biden's warning on oil tests voter resolve on climate changeUpdated: 10/24/2020 12:06 AMOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Joe Biden is confronting the harsh political realities of combating climate change. The Democratic presidential nominee has spent...
AstraZeneca, J&J resuming US tests of COVID-19 vaccinesUpdated: 10/23/2020 6:31 PMTwo drugmakers announced Friday the resumption of U.S. testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Testing of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate had be...
US stocks shake off a wobbly start and end mostly higherUpdated: 10/23/2020 4:59 PMU.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Friday, though the S&P 500 posted its first weekly loss in four weeks. The benchmark index eked out a 0.3% gai...
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Spain PM appeals for public unity, sacrifice in virus fightUpdated: 10/23/2020 12:35 PMMADRID (AP) — Prime Minster Pedro Sánchez appealed Friday for Spaniards to pull together and defeat the new coronavirus, warning: “The situation is se...
Veggie burgers are still burgers, at least in EuropeUpdated: 10/23/2020 12:16 PMBRUSSELS (AP) — It’s a meaty issue but the EU has taken a stance: veggie burgers are in fact burgers. European lawmakers said Friday that plant-based ...
Japan, Britain sign free trade deal for post-Brexit eraUpdated: 10/23/2020 7:20 AMTOKYO (AP) — Japan and Britain signed a free trade agreement on Friday, the the first such major post-Brexit deal, reducing tariffs on goods like York...
Keeping your credit profile healthy during a pandemicUpdated: 10/23/2020 7:00 AMCredit may not be top of mind for many consumers these days. But as the pandemic and its associated economic woes drag on, they may want to give it so...
Automaker Daimler rebounds after lockdowns, raises outlookUpdated: 10/23/2020 6:27 AMFRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and Freightliner trucks, saw third-quarter profit rebound as the company cla...
Hitler speeches sell at Munich auction despite objectionsUpdated: 10/23/2020 6:06 AMBERLIN (AP) — Handwritten speech notes by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler sold at auction in Munich on Friday despite concerns from Jewish groups they coul...
|Last Update: 1:13 PM ET 10/16/2020|
|VIRUS DIARY: Becoming a car owner in middle age, abruptly|
By MARK KENNEDY
NEW YORK (AP) - It rolled off the car carrier near my home in Brooklyn and less than 20 minutes later it was mine: a 2015 Mazda CX-5 in a deep blue.
It is my first car - ever. I happen to be 50 years old.
The pandemic has altered so much in America in ways great and small. In the very small department, it has given a middle-aged man with gray in his beard a teenager's rite of passage.
I'm clearly not alone: According to an online survey conducted in August by Engine Insights, four out of five American city residents say it - s now essential to have access to a car.
I have admired cars all my life without owning a single one. I loved the BBC's - Top Gear, - with those crabby Brits stuffed in Bugatti sports cars, and adored NPR's - Car Talk - with Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.
Over the years, I have rented from Enterprise and Budget and Dollar and some shady outlets, too. I was a longtime member of the car-sharing service Zipcar, until the pandemic seemed to disrupt its disruptive model.
Renting different types of cars gave me a chance to check them out. But owning one? With the worrisome dance of street parking and the nag of routine maintenance? I'd rather take the subway. Who wants to add to global warming anyway?
But urban life now is upside down. The subways, buses and ride-sharing platforms offer trips that aren't for the nervous, and car-sharing services aren't practical or economical for long-term rentals.
Enter my used Mazda, bought from one of several auto retailers that offer online shopping and delivery, like Carvana and Vroom, which both offer a seven-day test drive. It has a few miles on it. But so do I.
Like many businesses, Carvana has had to weather a financial storm. Sales began to rebound in late April, and the company ended the financial quarter in late June with sales up 40% over the same period last year. Overall, Carvana sold over 55,000 vehicles during the second quarter, a 25% increase versus the same time last year.
What new drivers am I sharing the road with? The auto group AAA did a survey in April that showed millennials are more likely to say the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting them to consider buying a vehicle in the next six months (14%) than Baby Boomers (7%). Come on in, the water's just fine - just please stop beeping at me.
But let's be honest: It's clearly not the best time to own a car in New York City. The street-side parking spots that were left after bike-sharing hubs arrived a few years back have now been gobbled up by restaurants spilling their socially distanced tables into the streets.
Finding a parking spot these days less than four blocks from home is worthy of a Tiger Woods-style fist-pump after he sinks a birdie. I belong now to a tribe of people who prize their secret spots and talk strategy for hours. Even with all the tips, though, I recently spent four hours searching for a suitable spot and had turned scarlet red in a toddler - s temper tantrum when I gave up (my wife found a spot in 15 minutes).
But I am betting on the future - or at least hoping to outdrive it. I have freedom, but it is limited (see parking, above). No wonder many have chosen to flee to the suburbs, where cars are king and parking in front of your house is a God-given right.
Until then, may I ask: You pulling out of that spot?
Virus Diary, an occasional feature, showcases the coronavirus pandemic through the eyes of Associated Press journalists around the world. Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.