Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some Things I Would Like to Bring Home to Oshkosh from Pécs – Part I: Cars

While in Pécs, I have almost daily experienced car envy, dear reader.  It is not that I have seen cars that I wish I could afford, mind you.  My taste in cars generally does not run towards the expensive end of the spectrum.  It is, rather, that I see so many cars that I wish it were possible to buy in the United States.  Thus, I thought I would devote this post to things I wish I could bring home to Oshkosh from Pécs. 

Of course, I don’t want Oshkosh to become Pécs, or vice versa.  There is something nice about going to a different place and seeing that it is, in fact, different.  I am not so immature as to want to enjoy all of Pécs while in Oshkosh.  But in four areas, I think Oshkosh could emulate Pécs without losing its Oshkosh-ness, and I would be very pleased.  The four areas that most tickle my fancy are the aforementioned cars, as well as bakeries, the amount of people downtown, and on the educational front: a cohesion among students in a major.

In this post I will focus on cars.  You may laugh, dear reader, but the object of my car lust is
my new favorite car on the Continent
this: the Dacia Logan, pictured here.  Not sleek, not overly powerful, and far from expensive, the Dacia Logan nevertheless has something impossible to find in cars made for the American market: seven seats fit into the space of a traditional station wagon.  Readers are probably familiar with the fact that European cars tend to be considerably smaller than American ones.  As the Dacia Logan and other cars show, European cars don’t give up seat space to do this.  The picture at this link will show you how reasonably-sized it is compared to human beings.  Another car that does this in Europe is the Ford C-Max.  The Ford C-Max looks more like a mini-mini-van, and some versions are now being sold in the U.S.A., but for some reason those versions are all 5-seaters. 

Factors in the size of European cars include, of course, the expense of gasoline.  Gasoline in Hungary costs about 400 forints per liter.  A good price I’ve seen recently was 391 forints for a liter.  Translating this to dollars and gallons would give a price of $6.56 per gallon.  Compare this to a current price in Oshkosh of $3.83 per gallon according to wisconsingasprices.com and it becomes obvious that small cars, with better mileage per gallon, are a bigger priority in Hungary.  Another common reason given for the size of cars in Europe is that older cities, with small streets, encourage small cars because driving space and parking space is simply smaller than in the mostly newer cities with wider streets in the U.S.A.  Finally, I would add, Europeans are just used to living in smaller spaces than Americans are, and also spending less time in their cars.  At any rate, my attention to the Dacia Logan has been intensified by the fact that, with a growing family, my car at home might not fit us all anymore, and seven or eight seats would be really nice.  If only I did not have to give up so much mileage per gallon to gain those extra seats in the U.SA.  In Europe, I would have many options.  The Dacia Logan, according to a certain popular website ranges from thirty-one to fifty-two miles per gallon, depending on
my new favorite car, states-side
the engine.  Back home, I can think of just two options that combine many seats with high mileage per gallon: the Mazda 5 and the new Ford Transit Wagon.  Neither of these are as small as the Dacia Logan, but one could see them fitting in on the streets of Pécs.  In fact, the Mazda 5 is a pretty popular car here. 

P.S.: I am not trying to argue that everything in Pécs is better than everything in Oshkosh.  When I return, I plan to write a little bit about things I’ve missed in Oshkosh.  I do wish, though, that I could bring a car with me. 


  1. Would never have thought an American would say he wants to bring a car from Europe to the US :-)

  2. Well, we simply aren't making a lot of small cars right now, especially small cars that seat a lot of people. We aren't even importing them. It's a bit frustrating.