Monday, December 1, 2008

A fun "Green" product test

This is a Toyota Prius and it belongs to the company that owns the property I manage. It's also the vehicle that I got to drive on my Thanksgiving trip to Grandmother's house.(OK, it was my mom's house, but the song says Grandmother and she is a grandmother). I work for a GREAT company. They lent me the Prius for the trip.

Let's address the Green aspect first. I drove 1710 miles from Thursday evening to Sunday evening. I drove from Greenville, South Carolina to Buffalo, NY and back again, over flatland, and mountains, through rain and snow, in light traffic and in traffic jams that made traveling 10 miles take 2 hours. The average mileage for this trip would have been around 20 mpg. The Prius got an average of 44 mpg. I spent $65.00 instead of at least $120.00 in gasoline. So the main Green ingredients are lower fossil fuel consumption and then by extension, less harmful emmisions. The car has a great system of energy creation and use. I would say that if anyone is wanting to make a big change to be more responsible for the planet they are borrowing for a few years, then switching to a hybrid car would be a great place to start.

But suppose you're an average guy and you're not all worked up about "Saving the Planet," should a hybrid be on your Christmas wish list?


Ok, so your not hyper to Go Green, still I assume you like saving green? I paid close to 50% less on gasoline on this trip. Close your eyes and image spending half as much on gasoline. Now stop smiling and check out a hybrid. The Prius handled well, drove like a charm and had great features like hands free calling with your blue tooth working through the audio system. It also has a built-in navigational system. You can see the energy conversion and track your energy consumption at any time. When I think about purchasing a vehicle, functionality, price and mileage are the criteria I value most and the Prius won on all levels.

To be fair, I will point out a few drawbacks or concerns.

First, price, I did a quick check and $22k+ is their starting point, so it is a bit expensive. My daughter pointed something out to offset that sticker shock. She said, that with the savings you are recieving from better mileage, you could offset the added purchase cost.

Second, I'm kind of tall and the back seat is not a great place for me to sit, as my head attempts to create a sun roof. Even in the 4 door, which is what I drove, the leg room in the back is not a winning observation. The front has plenty of leg room and the car was comfrtable to drive.

Finally, maintenance is complicated. If you buy a Prius, prepare to tell Bubba and his ball peen hammer goodbye. The days of the shade tree mechanic fade away into our story books as more hybrids are made because they have the duel engines and the different energy transferring systems.

My recommendation: someone give me a hybrid Prius PLEASE

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