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Marilyn Heltzer: Your vehicle says a lot about you, so remember you are what you drive

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My next car is going to be bright yellow.

I’ll be able to spot it in the parking lot at the grocery store and according to a Dutch study (there’s always a study), yellow cars are stolen less often than cars of any other color. The police can spot them as soon as the theft report comes in. A yellow car is also more difficult to sell. Now, I’m not in the car stealing biz so I don’t know how that works, but I understand that offloading a yellow car is more difficult than getting rid of one in a standard color.

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Just take a look around the parking lot the next time you find a space and park. Yes, the standard colors are obvious: Black. White, Gray. Brown. We are a solemn people. Or we can blame it all on Henry Ford who wrote in his autobiography that he told his management team in 1909 that in the future “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” We’ve come a long ways since 1909: Black as well as white, gray, and brown.

Occasionally you will spot a red car. If it’s a convertible – and we’re coming into the season – it probably belongs to a young guy. Or an older one. A red convertible is definitely a chick magnet.

I used to drive a bright blue Honda CRV. Some people called it purple. I loved that car. I bought it in 2000 and parted with it a couple of years ago for a 2011 model. I have total lack of recall on any repairs on that car. It’s what happens when you have been caught up in adoration.

Don’t ask me about mileage, on the car I parted with, or with the one I have now. “How many miles to the gallon do you get with that car?” It’s a guy question. Increasingly women know about mileage, too. Not I. But I can tell you about the price of gas, which has soared and is predicted to go higher as the summer comes on us.

I now plot my trips around town with care so I don’t have to fill up as often as I did 10 years ago. Okay, here’s your quick quiz for the day: What did we pay for gas in 2001? Answer: $1.45 a gallon. Gone are the days.

Of course, I remember the really old days when gas was 39 cents a gallon, back in the mid 1950’s and the guy (always a guy) came out of the station and pumped the gas and washed the windows as well. Yes, I’m dating myself. But you remember the old days, too. Don’t you?

The car I drive now falls into the standard color category. It’s a gray. And it’s one of 500 gray Honda CRV’s in this town. Okay, that may be a bit of exaggeration. But I’ve had the experience of spotting a car like mine and walking up to it, punching the lock-opener, trying to open the car, and saying a bad word in exasperation when it didn’t open. It happened just last week. I peered into the car window and discovered to my chagrin that the car was equipped with a baby seat. And what’s that? A diaper bag. Oops. Not my car. I slunk away, found my own gray Honda CRV, and hoped that nobody noticed.

I hope this car goes to 200,000-plus miles, like my previous car. And maybe by the time I’m ready for a new one, I’ll have to special order a yellow four-wheel drive automobile.

Then again, maybe my kids will convince me that it’s not a good idea to drive at the advanced age I’ll be at by then. Maybe I’ll have to fall in love with this gray car. But it’s not likely. Not at all.

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