We are nearing a point of descision with our modes of transport. We a a typical suburban family: 2 kids, 2 (big!) dogs, and two cars. We also live in a small bedroom community that has no grocery store within 7 miles, and we each have long commutes of 7-19 miles. We are a-typical in so far as one of our cars happens to be a Honda Insight that gets 65mpg. The “family” car is a 2005 Subaru Forester that until recently we have loved. In fact we still love it, but are beginning to resent its 28mpg. The Insight is used whenever possible, but the Subaru gets used whenever we all go somewhere. We also have family spread all over and take 4-6 trips to either South Dakota (1100 miles roundtrip) or Ohio (1200 miles round trip) annually which really ramps up our annual mileage to a combined 30-35k, typically 22-25k on the Forester and 10-12 on the Inisght.
The connundrum is that with out eldest (6yrs) looking to start after school activities the “family” car will
be in high demand. With my farming off site I use the Subaru many evenings and most weekends, which effectively maroons any family that did not come with. Errands are piling up, frustrations are forming, and when Sprout starts soccer we will be shut down.
So it is looking like the Insight may need to go. However, I am very unimpressed with the current hybrid offerings. The Civic gets a ho-hum 45mpg (remember I am used to 65) and I have never warmed to the Prius. One of my numerous faults is elitism, and the space shuttle looks of the Prius are an issue. Both are fairly expensive new, and the used market is VERY high right now. That is also a good thing -I can sell my Insight for what I paid for it 2.5 years and 30k miles ago. The best option may be the 2009 Prius which will get powertrain upgrades and a slight cosmetic overhaul. Both the gas and electric powerplants get a boost and the rumor is of doubling the battery pack to enhance electric capability. Mileage is supposed to improve 10-20% getting it firmly in the 50-60mpg camp. Pricing is allegedly not to change, and my local Toyota dealer has confirmed much of the Hybrid Cars rumors.
Another option may be a dedicated “work” truck for the rain barrels and farm. A clean late 80’s 3/4 ton Ford/Chevy diesel can be found for under $5k and converted to WVO for another $1500 or I could make a biodiesel still for about the same or less. Even w/o the WVO the truck would get similar mileage to the Forester towing barrels (22-24mpg). Mia is not pleased about going to a 3 car set-up and there is a lot of wisdom there -we already have alot in the driveway with the utility trailer etc and are considering storage for the Grillo and my monster wheel barrows… Buying another vehicle seems counter intuitive to simplifying life even if it has good arguments.
Another strike against the truck is that getting a 4 door hybrid, even the lower mpg Civic, means BIG fuel savings for our errand and road trips. Savings of $80-100/mo look reasonable as the mileage would swap to 20-25k on the new hybrid and 10k on the Forester which helps take the edge off the $24k payments. That whole partial zero emissions is way cool too.
I would like to hear everyones thoughts, your input on the Grillo helped me clarify/justify my decision. We are leaning toward putting money down on a 2009 Prius, but the work truck has some upside too -like not taking out a $20k loan…
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