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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Out of 11 Countries Surveyed, U.S. Seniors the Most Likely to be Both Sick and Unable to Afford Care

Despite Medicare coverage, older adults in the United States are sicker than those in other countries and face more financial barriers to health care. Note: When it comes to the problem of high cost preventing access to treatment, Canada rates 6th out of 11 countries surveyed. The U.S. is last by a good margin.

Read more: Commonwealth Fund 2017 International Health Policy Seniors Survey

Monday, November 27, 2017

VW Jetta TDI buyback completed and VW made an I'm-sorry-payment, as well.

Important Numbers: 2017 VW Jetta TSI Wolfsburg Edition as of Sept. 25, 2022

  • Fuel cost per km: .09 cents (Canada, southwestern Ontario)
  • Total cost to run car per km: $0.42*
  • Fuel consumption: 7.86 litres/100 kms (This may climb as I do more in-city driving in the winter.)
Present distance traveled: 54,553 kms
Fuel used: 4,552.02 litres
Fuel cost: $2,288.82
Total out-of-pocket expenses: $22,713.71*
(* The above includes car payments, auto insurance charges, fuel costs, all maintenance charges, car washes, parking, etc.)
* Will change over time as distance traveled increases.

Now, to my original post...

It's gone. VW has repurchased my 2011 VW Jetta TDI. Plus, the German automobile maker paid me a cash penalty to make amends for their TDI sins. All in all, I got $16,700. I put it all into the purchase of a 2017 VW Jetta Wolfsburg Edition TSI.

Fuel economy: 8.22 litres/100 kms at 17,561 kms.
My new car comes complete with Wolfsburg Edition badges on the sides, a TSI badge on the rear of the trunk lid and a TSI four-cylinder engine under the hood. TSI stands for turbocharged stratified injection. This is a technically sophisticated 1.4 litre turbocharged direct injection engine. VW claims it is state-of-the-art engineering. Hmmm. I recall similar claims when I bought my TDI clean diesel.

So, let's cut to the chase. What was the total out-of-pocket cost to put a Wolfsburg VW in my garage and send the oil-burner packing? The short answer: $2500. That's it. And what will it cost to keep it there? That's a good question. For a start, as a gasoline tends to cost more than diesel in London, I expect my fuel bill to grow. As well, I now have a monthly $139.44 car payment for the next 84 months. This payment also includes an extended warranty option. No unforeseen charges for the life of the car.

Originally, I had agreed to an interest rate of .99% with a shorter payback period. But, when the deal was finalized the interest rate rate had fallen to zero. I decided to keep my money in the bank where it can earn some interest in a ScotiaBank Momentum account. I can see no advantage in tying up cash to purchase this car.

What are my first impressions of my new Jetta? Good but then I liked my old Jetta. The two cars are very similar. Where there is a difference, often I see little advantage in the new vs. the old. For instance, I can see no great advantage to the keyless door lock system. And there are some dangers. See: Deadly Convenience: Keyless Cars and Their Carbon Monoxide Toll.

My new radio seems to have possible safety issues as well. It encourages a driver to play with the touch-control screen rather than paying complete attention to the road. To change the sound system volume, a set of controls can be found on the steering wheel. This encourages more gadget fiddling. If the government thinks cell phones are bad, they should take a look at radios like this one in my new Jetta.

Professor David Strayer, at the University of Utah, found in-vehicle information systems — including SatNav, MP3 players, radios, cellphones and messaging devices — take drivers’ attention off the road for too long to be safe, much like texting.

In the following weeks and months, I'll keep my readers posted as to the total cost to keep my VW Jetta on the road. (If you notice anything amiss, feel free to question my figures. I can make errors. I'm not perfect.)

Paint and Clear Coat Warning

If you own, or are buying a VW, pay careful attention to the paint. Mine is terrible. I knew I had a problem right from the moment my wife and I picked up the car. It was almost a day late in being delivered as it took a lot of effort by the dealer to get my new car into ready-for-delivery condition.

Swirls, holograms and oxidation mar surface of my new VW.
The paint has swirls in the finish, left, I assume, by the power buffer used to quickly detail the car before delivery. I thought I could polish these out in the spring. It is now spring and I'm finding removing these difficult.

But there's more. The top of the rear bumper has faulty paint. It looks like there are dried water marks etched into the surface. It won't wash off. I'm worried it may be oxidization.

And it gets worse. There are small, pinhead sized spots that I thought were rust appearing on the lower, passenger-side door. I took the car to a local paint shop for an evaluation. The owner said it was the worst detailing of a new car that he had ever seen. He noted swirls in the paint from the front bumper to the back, plus hundreds of ugly, dull spots in the surface of the paint. On the bright side he said the rust was not rust but large, flecks of dirt deeply embedded into the paint finish. I told him that VW had sent me a block of clay for detailing the car. He said he had never heard of a car manufacturer doing this. Very odd.


When I got the auto insurance bill for my new car, I was in for a pleasant surprise. My annual insurance bill went down $86.00. This left a December insurance installment of $272.50.

I have opened a spread sheet for tracking and calculating all costs. This is far easier and more accurate than trying to do it with pencil and paper as I was doing. The latest numbers are at the top of the post.