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Hybrid contemplations

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Sep 29, 2005
Tennessee, USA
A Prius gets around 50 mpg in all-around traffic (it is true; I have one). The average car/truck on the road gets more like 20 mpg, if that. The average car is driven about 12,000 miles per year and therefore uses about 600 gallons whereas a Prius uses only 240 gallons. There have been over 1.5 million Prius cars sold in the US, most of which are still running. So all those Prii save about 540 million gallons of gasoline a year, or about 13 million barrels.

Now in the larger scheme of things, 13 million barrels isn't much, less than a day and a half worth of oil imports, but that's with the Prius only having a US market share of about 1%. Which means that if all vehicles sold in the US this year were as frugal as the Prius, our oil imports would be lowered by almost half (a barrel of oil doesn't make a barrel of gas, of course, but it'd still make a very sizable dent).

Hybrids tend to be expensive due to the cost of the battery and dual modes of propulsion, but the average Prius actually costs thousands less than the average new car sold in the US. Add to that its SULEV (super ultra-low emission vehicle) status, and the inherent rationality of using a system that not only recaptures part of the energy that would otherwise be lost as heat, but also employs whatever source of propulsion is most suitable for any given situation, and you have a solution that makes an awful lot of sense.

But aren't hybrids so slow and boring as to take the whole joy out of driving? Amazingly not. I love fast cars. But the Prius is actually pretty quick when you want it to be. Doesn't the battery use up all the space and make for a heavy car? Not really. The Prius weighs around 3,000 lbs. and is amazingly roomy.

Does anyone here have a Prius? If not, what do you think of the hybrid approach?

And below is a pic of a recent country road trip. 58.5 mpg average.

View attachment prius_dema_800.jpg

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