It Takes a Biofriendly Heart to Go Hybrid

I groaned the other day. I'm not fond of groaning as I was not blessed with the classic bass rumble that makes the great groaners famous, but I did make a clear, and unfortunately audible, groan. It was the groan of a man at a gas pump in Los Angeles, watching three dollar bills pour into a gas tank gallon by gallon until the sight of it seeped a madness. An elusive, quiet insanity that grasped its way from unknowingly clenched muscles, through an unprepared throat and out into the world as what could only be described as a mix between a balloon squeezing out air and a pigeon fart.

I left the quizzically disturbed patrons alone to figure out what they had just heard, paid my $52.00 and made the decision to buy a car that uses less gasoline. Once I made it home I dropped my pants, kissed my wife and went to the computer. Many of you have stopped reading this article now as I threw in the dropped pants portion of that day, what I forgot to add is that I did put on my "I'm Home" pants, a completely different set of very comfortable pants with booties. Anyway, I looked on the Internet for hybrid vehicles and found three that interested me for different reasons. The Toyota Prius (best price), the Toyota Camry (lots of space), and the Honda Accord (best looking). It was while researching these cars and comparing them to their non-hybrid versions that I realized that I was still completely screwed.

I consider myself to be a pretty biofriendly person. I recycle my aluminum, I separate my yard waste from my normal waste, I even bought those toilets that flush with less water, although by the time I've gotten the poop completely out of the bowl I have probably flushed more water than any normal toilet would have... but the point here is that I'm making an effort. I just realized that I need to be more biofriendly than I currently am, if I am to buy one of these cars.

I'll try to keep this simple and avoid over-describing the math I used (I'm not great at math, so when I show what I have done, some jerk usually points out a formula that I could have used that would have saved me hours.) A base model Prius costs $22,000.00. You can't find one for that price because I'm convinced that there is no such thing as a base model, but I digress. According to ABC news the average price of gasoline at this moment in this country is $2.87 for the cheap stuff. According to the US department of energy, the average driver drives 12,000 miles per year. I drive about 16,000 miles per year and the cheap stuff where I live costs well over three dollars, so if that is the average than there is probably some guy named Joe Bloggs in North Dakota who pays a buck a gallon and drives six miles per year! Lucky bastard... where was I... Oh yeah, so the Prius at best costs $22,000.00. The three closest Toyota's in style that are not hybrids are the Corolla, the Matrix and the Yaris. These vehicles cost $15,000.00, $16,000.00 and $12,000.00 respectively. The butt-kicker here is the actual savings in fuel, the Prius gets you an average of 55 mpg the Corolla 34, Matrix 31.5,, and Yaris 36.5. Now this sounds like a lot, right? Allow me to exit my math paragraph and get to my answer paragraph and I'll show you what this means to your wallet.

Here we are in the answer paragraph. Long and short of it, in order to make up the price difference in cars with your potential gas savings, you would have to own a Prius for seventeen years as opposed to a Corolla, 12 and a half years as opposed to a Matrix, and almost 31 years as compared to a Yaris. I don't know about everyone else in the world, but I will have definitely run my car to the ground (or at least "parked" it into a career-ending tree) well before then. If you are looking at a Camry, it will take you 15 years to make up the price difference, and an Accord will take you a whopping 84 years, to match its non-hybrid brother in price.

It was at this point that I researched the flip side to this whole equation. The hours of action packed excitement you may have seen in Al Gore's global warming movie appears to be pretty close to dead on from what I can tell, and the three most effective things we can do to help slow and/or stop the global warming trend are; use less fuel, plant trees while ceasing to cut down trees, and most importantly, stop volcanoes. Stopping volcanoes is the easy one, I mean we all must be doing that pretty well every day because we almost never have volcanoes erupting. The tree thing... well the best answer here is to stop eating so much fast food (this sounds random but it is actually pretty accurate, deforestation occurs mostly to make room for farms that ship meat to your local fast food locations. I'll go into detail another day.) The final helping step is to use less fuel. You see, in the process of burning gas to make your car run, oxygen is converted into carbon dioxide, an over abundance of carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, and that heat warms the planet just enough to slowly melt ice until eventually we are all underwater looking for a fish-toed Kevin Costner to save us from Pirates.

What I learned through this process was that financially, it may not be the best idea to get a hybrid. But if you have a biofriendly heart, extra cash and you want to produce less carbon dioxide, a good way to do so is to burn less fuel and pass less gas. Some hybrids, like the Prius, are very good for that... the fuel thing, not the gas thing, for the gas thing I recommend gas-x. I am also lying to you, I found (surprisingly) that the human butt has very little to do with the global warming problem. Some last minute advice though, I learned that buying a hybrid at the beginning of the model year (usually in September) is a good idea if you have an interest in getting one. This is because the first 60,000 hybrid vehicle models sold get a government tax break of $1,500.00 to $3,000.00 and that cuts into my time formula above by about 25%. But before buying check with your dealer to be sure that you will get the tax break because our wacky government has been known to change its wacky rules. Plus with Leonardo DiCaprio buying Priuses, 60,000 vehicles could be sold in a day.

Oh, and stop breathing if possible, that helps too.

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