All About Jim McCue

Your Smart Car Guide

Hi there... Jim McCue here... I'm glad you stopped by to learn more about me and why I love smart cars so much that I have become the "Smart Car Guy."

Picture of Jim McCue

Here are a few bits of information about me and why I became so passionate about smart cars. I hope it helps you understand better why I built this website about the smart fortwo cars.

For the past 30 years, I've lived what the impact of the cost of gasoline has done to people's lives. Today, our country is going into another recession—with the high cost of fuel leading the way—and costing Americans more and more of their hard-earned money, making it tougher to make ends meet. So, I thought I'd tell you my story within the context of these constantly rising fuel prices over the past few decades...

The Cost of Gas Through the Decades...

OK... I'm not as young as I look... although my kids have been known to tell me I'm "old as dirt." But over my lifetime, I've seen and experienced many changes in the price of gas. I grew up in Butler, PA, a town about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. I began driving during the gas crisis of 1978-79, when the price of gas went from about 50 cents to 80 cents. People began to trade in their V8 engine cars for foreign 4 cylinder high-fuel-efficient cars. This allowed me to buy my first car, a 1971 AMC V8 Sportabout station wagon, for only $500.

I spent $5 a week for gas money to go back and forth from Butler to my college. This was my first experience in dealing with the impact of "high" gasoline prices. After college, I moved to southern NJ and did mostly local traveling, so gas expenses weren't too bad most of the time. But then I took a new job that required me to travel 55 miles back and forth to work every day.

Gas was about one dollar a gallon at that point, and I needed to fill-up twice a week to make the commute. Luckily, I was driving a small 6-cylinder pick-up truck which got pretty good gas mileage (22-24 MPG). I did this commute for ten years and watched the price of gas go up to about $1.50 a gallon during that time.

By the year 2000, I had tired of the 110-mile daily round trip commute and decided to take a new job closer to home. While I enjoyed doing only a 10-mile local drive to work, gasoline prices finally topped $2 a gallon, which I had thought would never happen.

Math Teacher

In 2005, I ended my 20+ year system engineering career and launched a new one as a math teacher, a dream I'd held for a long time. Oh yeah... and my wife and I decided to also start a new life... 2000 miles away from NJ in the Rocky Mountains! We drove across the country as gas prices hit $3 a gallon in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastating effect on the Gulf oil rigs.

Of course, our cross country driving trip was very expensive and again, I felt the pinch in the pocketbook; but I hoped this was only a temporary rise in gas prices. It never really happened, though. Instead, prices stayed barely below $3 a gallon.

And, if you haven't heard, teachers–especially those of us who live out west–earn pretty low salaries... so the price of gas is a big issue. Luckily, my first few years as a teacher, I only traveled 10 miles or less back & forth to work, but gas was till costing me quite a bit.

So, I began to ponder what options I had to cut costs on gas and even to question whether I should still use my Dodge Dakota pickup truck as a commuter vehicle. And that's when I saw my first smart car come whizzing by...

My Smart Car Passion Was Born...

Jim is happy about the smart car

I said to myself, "This is the commuter car of the future!" and began my pursuit to learn what the heck that little car was all about and how could I get one.

By the summer of 2008, gas prices in Boise had topped out over $4 a gallon. This only fueled my passion even more to help people like you see smart cars as a solution to reduce fuel costs and help the environment. By that time, I'd already plunked down my $99 deposit like thousands of other people and was anxiously awaiting my smart car to arrive in Portland, OR, my assigned smartcenter (as there are none in Idaho).

As I was launching the earliest version of this smart car website, I was also going through a crisis in my new teaching career. After 3 years in a public high school environment, I was already feeling burned out and questioning my choice. But I still felt I had something to offer students in regards to math, so I took some time off to regroup.

Meanwhile, my car finally arrived in Portland in the spring of 2009... and I had to give it up. Without a full-time job, we just couldn't justify a new car purchase. I was disappointed, to say the least, and pretty much put aside my passion for a few months. But then I got a dream teaching job at a community college near Boise (where we live now) that would require about a half hour or longer commute.

And so I began thinking "smart car" once again!

I Became a Smart Car Owner... At Last

Smart Car Delivery Day

In the early fall of 2009, I found out that smartcenters all over were starting to end up with surprising surpluses of smart cars, as lots of people like me had been feeling the pinch of our financial recession. So, with the prospect of my own once-agsin healthy income, I started looking at what was available in Salt Lake City, Utah... which is actually much closer to us than Portland, Oregon.

I found a white smart Passion, which was fairly close to my original order. Pricing was about the same, but they were offering great loan rates as an incentive. Even better... it was available whenever we could go pick it up! So... mid-September 2009, I finally became the proud owner of a smart car Passion.

And the rest, as they say, is smart car history! My love affair with the smart fortwo has only grown stronger since I became an owner. I love this little car and it just runs great... around town or on the highway. I have not regretted my decision to buy for an instant. And even my wife loves the little guy now!

I hope you enjoyed reading through this whole long "about Jim McCue" story. It was even longer, but my wife, Kathi (my editor) took her virtual red pen to my ramblings and produced this shortened version. Smile

Kathi's Korner

Picture of Kathi MacNaughton

Hi... Kathi here. As a matter of fact, as Jim's gotten busier teaching, I've taken over some of the administration and writing on the site, as well as the editing. You see... building websites is what I do for a living. You can read my story here. So, if you notice that the voice sometimes changes on this site, it could be because you're reading "me", rather than Jim. I hope you don't mind... I love the smart car too!

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Hi smart enthusiasts!

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Welcome to the site! I'm Jim, and I'm here to guide you through a journey of smart car discovery. So, look around & drill down as much as you want to for all the smart fortwo details you're looking for. Read and interact! And feel free to contact me!

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