The Toyota Prius
Several months ago I wrote here that there are many ways we can reduce the impact of increasing fuel prices... drive slower; keep the air pressure in the tires at the recommended levels; consolidate trips and travel less; turn the car off instead of idling any time we are stopped more than a minute; accelerating slower; decelerating slower; and so on. By doing a combination of these, Lynnda and I reduced our fuel costs from the mid-$600s to the mid-$300s in the first month, and maintained that level, with no apparent hardship.
We started having some problems with our ten year old Volvo, so we started looking around for a replacement. We had an opportunity to rent a Toyota Prius on a trip to Florida late last fall while we were here looking for a winter place. We averaged about 48 miles per 3.82 liters... that's a US gallon. While it was a small car, and had no bells and whistles, we were very impressed with its performance. There was lots of room for our luggage, and at one time we had five people comfortably ensconced for over an hour each way to a destination.
So, when the Volvo decided it had had enough... after ten years, a car has a mind of it's own... we replaced it with a loaded up Prius. It is actually getting around 50 MPG around the city, and 45 on the highway... I need to slow down... I am usually on cruise control at about 70MPH on the interstates and Florida Turnpike. The car has everything including a rear-vision camera for backing up; GPS; incredible sound and so on... it drives quietly, so quietly that at times you wonder if it is running. (I know, I know... highway is supposed to have better mileage than city driving. That is just one of the things that is different when you switch to a hybrid like the Prius. It uses it's electric engine a lot around the city but the fuel engine starts and works at higher speeds, using more gas)
Toyota makes other hybrids now, including the Camry and a Lexus model. They all use 87 octane fuel which yesterday was selling for $3.60 per US gallon. That is about $0.94 per liter. We are getting around 450 miles to a comfortable fill point per tank and we have been told to expect better mileage as we break in the car.
Ok, there is another way we can reduce our dependence on oil.