Desktop: All about Betsy

September 8, 2009 10:50
2 minute read.


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Answer this question with the first response that pops into your head. Which is cheaper: buying a new car or keeping an old one in good shape?

A question I have often asked myself every time I embarked on a journey with the Ol' Betsy of chez Newzgeek, which happens to be a Mitsubishi Space Wagon that, in human years, would be eligible for a retiree's pension by now. Anybody whose principal vehicle is a personal vehicle (as opposed to a "company car") knows the dilemma. Every time you undergo a major repair, you say to yourself, "There's one more problem I won't have to worry about for a while," and you start to believe that you may just be over the big expense hump of maintaining your clunker. Until three weeks later, when something else goes wrong.

So, what's better: sinking more money into your old car and hoping for the best or shelling out for something newer? To make a logical decision, you need facts - like how much exactly your current vehicle is costing you. While some of you are probably great at bookkeeping and keeping your old receipts, the rest of us aren't as talented. We need help - and the simple but effective Cars program ( gives you everything you need to keep track of the old horse and buggy. Add a vehicle, include any information you want (VIN or license plate number, etc.), add a photo if you want - and start keeping track of where the money went.

Of course, it's not just the repairs that are costing you; older vehicles are often notorious fuel wasters, and in these days of high (very high) fuel prices, you'd want to factor in - and keep track of - how much you're spending on gasoline. For that, there's the DriveArchive Fuel Consumption Calculator (, which lets you record each gas purchase (in gallons/liters) and the amount of distance you drove on the fill-up. With those figures, the program then calculates your vehicle's fuel consumption (miles per gallon or liters per 100 kilometers). Guaranteed: Your fuel consumption is worse than you thought (and probably a lot worse than the dealer said it would be).

One way to get a new car real cheap is to get yourself on a game show - like the one where you have to pick what's behind door number 1, 2 or 3. But is there any way to be sure you don't blow your chance? What if you pick door number 2, only to find a goat instead of a car behind it - and the host gives you another chance? Are your odds really 50/50? Is there any way to push the odds in your favor? To find out, download the Cars and Goats game, a new twist on an old mathematical problem, from Unless you've decided that you'd rather have a goat - because they're cheaper to run.n

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