Monday, August 13, 2007

Life Is a Highway, I Want to Ride It All Night Long

I have driven a small SUV for the past year as I commute about 100 miles a day. The car gets about 22-25 miles per gallon, which is not bad for that sort of vehicle. But when gas prices escalated, I one day realized that I was filling up my car's gas tank two or three times a week, at $45 a crack! Whoa! Stop the insanity!

One Saturday I insisted that hubby and I look at hybrid cars. I did my research on the different types of propulsion methods, battery life situations, etc. and settled on the 2007 Toyota Prius. We were met at the dealership by a very knowledgeable and pleasant salesperson, Johan, a South African expatriate with that lovely accent. We went through the process and left that evening with a new car. Bye-bye, PT Cruiser! We had some great times!

I am a self-described tree-hugger (my husband snickers when I say that). Now that I have the Prius, I feel less guilty about driving so far to work. I fill up once a week, about 10 gallons. I average about 50 mpg, but I'm hoping to do better as I get more used to the car. I figure I saved about $90 in gas the first month.

I took a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago in my Prius. I started out with half a tank of gas and drove the entire way without stopping. In fact, I drove most of the way home without stopping for gas - about 258 miles. I can get used to getting 500 miles plus to a tank of gas.

I'm learning to be in less of a hurry - that alone saves gas. I'm paying attention to how I stop and start the car, when to begin slowing down. I get a kick out of seeing my actual current gasoline consumption jump from 45 mpg to 90 mpg when I have correctly gauged the road and conditions and can almost coast along at optimum speed with minimum effort from the engine.

I find that instead of throwing away plastic drinks bottles from my long drives, I now collect them and pitch them into the recycling bin at the end of the day. It's a little thing, but once I started thinking more green, it just seemed like one more good idea.

No, it's not much, and it may not be enough. but this is my way of greening my life, in addition to the low-energy light bulbs and adding insulation around doors and in outlets. What are you doing to green up? What else could we do?

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