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[YOST IN THE MACHINE]

by Scott Yost

Car trouble

Where a rear license plate typically would be found, the Vitesse carries a yellow placard that reads: HIGH SPEED TEST VEHICLE APPROVED BY GOVERNMENT. And as much as we might want this Veyron, we think we might want that placard even more.

Car and Driver’s review of the 2013 Bugatti Veyron after testdriving it in South Africa.

I need to stop reading or watching news reports about anything that’s disturbing or depressing because — unlike, say, a serial killer — I have empathy for my fellow human beings; and whenever I turn on the television and see, for instance, babies with Malaria or children who need a lung transplant, I feel bad for them.

Well, the other day, I came across something that I found very disturbing, and it really made me feel for all those who are experiencing this particular problem. Even though there’s little I can do about it, I can at least increase awareness of the problem in hopes that shedding some light on the issue will bring forces together to find a solution. So, in a way, I guess I’m adopting my own cause, one that — unlike the spay-or-neuter-your-pets cause — doesn’t yet have a spokesman.

When it comes to the cause I’m championing, the affected group is a highly neglected one: those people who recently bought a 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse — the fastest convertible in the world with a top end of right at 254 miles per hour.

Now, the Bugatti Veyron doesn’t come cheap. It will set you back roughly $2.4 million fully loaded, but you can get a stripped down version for only $1.7 million if you are watching your budget. (Website thesupercars.org called it “by far the most expensive street legal production car available on the market today.”) And, once you own it, a new set of tires will run you $38,400 — the world’s most expensive auto tires, by the way. But don’t put down that checkbook just yet. Add $40,000 if you want your Bugatti delivered to you in America, and the auto insurance will set you back about $35,000 a year — and that’s if you have a good driving record.

Now, you might think that anyone who can afford to buy a Bugatti Veyron has it made in the shade like a dog having its day in the sun; however, here’s the thing I read that I found so disturbing: If you are a Bugatti owner and you start out on a trip, and you keep the gas peddle floored and drive at 250 miles an hour, then, unbelievably, you will run out of gas in 10 minutes.

Ten lousy minutes. So, just think about that poor guy for a second. He just bought a new car and he’s excited about taking it on a beach trip. He starts down the highway to the coast, and it’s a nice day, so he has the top down and he’s probably got a really hot girl in the passenger seat because, you know, if you can afford a car like that, well, the girl with you is undoubtedly extremely hot.

Put yourself in his place. You start your trip to the beach at 250 miles per hour. (Maybe a cop tries to pull you but, so what? It’s not like he’s going to catch you or anything.) Anyway, you’re having a great time laughing at the cop who’s now way behind you, and the stereo is blasting and your hot beach date is very impressed with both you and your hot car and then, a measly 10 minutes into that trip, you’re sitting on the side of the road, out of gas, waiting for AAA to arrive with a can of gasoline.

A lot of times you hear poor people say that rich people don’t have any problems, but right here is a prime example of why nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, I don’t claim to know what the solution is — the gas tank already holds 26.4 gallons and, of course, when it comes to a Bugatti Veyron, you have to maintain the sleek lines of the car, so you can’t just make the gas tank as big as you want. So I don’t know the answer.

All I’m saying is that, if there’s an ounce of compassion left in the world, then we need to do something about this as a society, because, whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, male or female, whatever — well, you can still see the grave injustice of a 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse owner running out of gas after keeping the car wide open for a mere 10 frigging minutes.

I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me that a caring, compassionate society such as ours, with its vast resources and its deep pool of scientific and technological innovators, can’t find a solution to this alarming problem if we all work together. Please join me in this cause. I know that, together, we can find a way to ease the burden of these unfortunate people.

Remember, there but for the grace of God go you and I.

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