Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shopping for a Fuel-Efficient Car

I gave up my five-cylinder Volvo SUV a couple of years ago. While it was relatively fuel-efficient, I no longer needed such a large car. I looked then at hybrid cars, but was dissatisfied with the trade off of fuel-efficiency for poor acceleration. I have to drive over a lot of two-lane mountainous roads with passing lanes the length of a small back yard.

I'm still driving the car that I replaced it with. A car that was supposed to get 30 mpg, but which only averages 23.5 mpg. So, today, with a little time on my hands I drove a couple of hybrids. The Honda Civic was disappointing and handicapped by the fact that the batteries needed for a hybrid obstruct cargo space.

The Toyota Prius is actually pretty surprising, and if I can get over the jelly bean look of the little car that could, I may end up purchasing that awesome 45-48 mpg promise. It was also very satisfying to watch the computer screen tell me if I was using electric or motor power. It validated my need to do something about this petroleum holocaust.
Then there is diesel. Volkswagen had an '08 Jetta, not yet available in my area, that promises to get as much as 50 mpg. From what I have read, they are utilizing new technology now used in Mercedes as well, that reburns the particulates. Performance is up and the clean/green factor is up. Very interesting, but they didn't have anything for me to test drive and I seemed to know more about the technology than the dealership did.

This morning's news talked about sales being down for American car manufacturers. They reported a 4 percent increase for Toyata. Imagine that. They only had one Prius to test drive, no hyrbrid SUVs and no hybrid Camrys on the lot. They said they would sell most of them before you could test drive them. Now who would buy a car without test driving it? Desperate Americans that's who. You know in most areas of technology, it's there before we are ready for it, with cars, the environment has been, perhaps unalterably destroyed, due to some very powerful people holding back.

People into Creative Consumerism™ are the most likely to be interested in the environment I've found. They are sharp, aware and into a style of living that is beyond the norm. We'd love to hear what you are driving these days.--Ruth Mitchell

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