Pretty soon we’ll start seeing the fall new car promotions, and the ensuing news reports about the financial and environmental costs and benefits of buying a hybrid or not. The truth is, a lot of people buy cars for emotional reasons rather than rational ones. Anyone who buys a Mustang, a BMW, a Cadillac Escalade, or a Ford pickup truck could probably afford a hybrid, but they are choosing to make a different (neither right or wrong) statement about themselves. A few years ago I bit the bullet and bought a Prius. In fact, my husband and I traded in our fairly new Audi wagon and bought a new Prius and a new Honda pickup truck (two family cars for the price of one!). I love the truck when it comes to long car trips, snowstorms, antiquing, or going plant shopping. But when it comes to every day, I love my Prius most. Here’s why:
1. It’s zippy. Surprisingly so! All my cars before were performance vehicles like the Audi, or my favorite, a Peugeot Mi16. I was worried that the Prius wouldn’t feel fast enough in a pinch, and I’m happy to say I never feel shortchanged. I do live at the top of a pretty steep hill, so there are times when the car feels stretched. But 99 percent of the time it’s speedy.
2. It tells you what your mileage per gallon is. No guessing. I’ve been averaging 44.4 miles per gallon, and that’s pretty darn good.
3. It only costs $20 to fill up the tank. Sometimes, not even that. Even when gas was outrageously high I think I might have paid $21 once. And that tank lasts me two weeks—with a trip in and out of Manhattan included.
4. You don’t have to plug it in. People still ask me about that. I even wasn’t sure when I first went to look at it whether you needed to or not. But no, it’s just like a regular car…only better.
5. There is no need to stick the key in the ignition. I no longer have to dig around in my purse to find the key—as long as it’s IN the purse, I just push the “power” button and it all comes on.
6. It’s built for people my size. The one thing I hate about a lot of American cars (which I mostly drive when I rent a car) is that they are built for a giant, slouching, hulking man. I mean, no wonder people have so many back problems! In my Prius, I sit up straight and my legs reach the pedals with no pain.
7. The touch screen rocks. It’s got this screen that can do everything, from speed-dialing with Bluetooth to telling me what song is playing on my satellite radio, and from showing me how the engine and electric system are working to showing me how many miles per gallon I am getting every second.
8. It fits a family of four and lots of groceries. The only thing it doesn’t really work for is long family trips with lots of luggage. But truth be told, we don’t pack light. We could probably do it if we tried.
9. The rearview camera. There is this little camera that shows you (on the touch screen) what’s behind you, so you don’t have to yank your neck as much.
10. I don’t feel guilty about driving. Where I live, driving is required. There are no trains. I bought the Prius because I felt I should, but I was really surprised by how lightened I felt by my decision. I am using less gas to get to where I need to go.