Enviro Girl grew up in a single-car household. Back in the 70’s, family income was more limited and when her mother required the use of the family car, everyone got up early to drive dad to work–and returned to retrieve him from his downtown office at the end of the day. Enviro Girl considers the savings her family would enjoy if they had only one car payment, one car to insure and register. But she lives in a rural area with no sidewalks or public transportation. Her husband is in sales, so he needs a car at his disposal at a moment’s notice. And her family enjoys the modern tradition of running hither and thither throughout the week–karate classes, basketball practice, AWANA and Boy Scouts. No matter how she tries to work it out, her family needs two cars.
On one end of the garage is the trusty old Momvan, purchased almost 8 years ago, beat up but still running. Enviro Girl fills it up every other week with gas as it transports groceries, children and sporting gear. The Momvan gets about 20 MPG, not great, but far superior mileage when compared to the SUVs enlisted to perform the same type of work. Her sister-in-law drives an Escalade that gets 13 MPG, the latest model of the Ford Explorer gets only 20 MPG, so as far as bigger vehicles go, Enviro Girl feels the Momvan holds its own in both cargo space AND fuel economy. Say what you will, but minivans are much more economical to drive than SUVs.
On the other end of the garage is her husband’s Ford Fusion. This recent purchase is their first experience with a hybrid and the investment is already paying off. Enviro Girl’s husband racks up a lot of miles and the Fusion gets an average of 40 MPG–he’s gone from filling the tank on a Ford Taurus 3 times in a 2 week period to filling up every other week–significant savings!
The Fusion is comfortable–in a pinch the whole family can crowd in to take a short trip, but Enviro Girl feels that for longer trips–say, 2 hours or longer–the Momvan provides more space to stretch out. The Ford Fusion is compact and slides into the tightest parking spots and it’s a nice ride.
Enviro Girl was shocked at how silently the Fusion drives. When you turn the key, the lights on the dashboard go on, but there is no other sound. Hybrid vehicles really reduce noise pollution–the only downside was training the family dog to respect the silent car rolling down the driveway! Enviro Girl cannot explain how pleasant it is to drive a silent vehicle–she doesn’t miss the roar of the engine at all.
Enviro Girl’s husband was concerned about “go”–would the Fusion accelerate like his old Taurus? It certainly does–and the Fusion he bought has all kinds of bells and whistles like heated leather seats and ambient lighting. There are even stereo controls on the steering console.
The cool dashboard tells you when the car is running on battery or when it’s running on gas. It calculates your trip mileage, economy and how many miles until you need to fill the gas tank. Enviro Girl never tires of looking at this amazing dashboard.
The battery on the Fusion is charged each time you touch the brake–this is called a ‘regenerative braking system.’ And the halogen headlights are so bright that Enviro Girl has never flicked over to “bright” while driving at night. The only strange thing about the Fusion is that it has no gas cap, but Enviro Girl doesn’t mind not getting her hands dirty to fill up the tank.
Enviro Girl and family are thrilled with the hybrid. The fuel savings will make up the difference in purchase price within only a year of driving. They did not compromise anything in buying a hybrid vehicle and they feel confident that when it’s time to replace the Momvan, they’ll explore their hybrid options because they’ve experienced firsthand fuel savings, reduced emissions and reduced noise pollution.
Tell the Eco Women: do you drive a hybrid? Would you consider one?