Thursday, June 26, 2008

And the Living is Easy

My husband and I wouldn’t refer to ourselves as environmentalists. With that said, we believe it’s our responsibility to be aware of our impact on the planet and to live accordingly. Ed Bagley wannabe’s we’re not.

When the aging Honda Del Sol, with over 300,000 miles needed a new engine, we decided to bite the bullet and buy a hybrid. It breaks my heart there are so few options available. I remember going to an experimental workshop in the 1970’s to look at an electric car. What happened? Maybe this time we’ll get it right.

We ended up buying the Honda Civic Hybrid. This sticker said it could get as much as 55 miles per gallon. If you buy a hybrid, a primary goal is to get the best mileage possible. I suppose there might be people who buy a hybrid for the prestige, but that would be silly. Learning how to drive the car to get the best mileage has been part of the fun. Because I’m a very competitive person, getting better gas mileage than my husband has added to the enjoyment.

On the dashboard, there is an indicator telling us how many miles per gallon we’re getting. When the car is cold, the mpg goes way down. It also goes down when accelerating, going up hills and during traffic with a lot of stopping.

In order to get good gas mileage, it was important to change the way we drive. I can’t quickly accelerate when I’m stopped at a light or in traffic. I have to ease into it. I’ve learned how to increase my gas mileage in stop and go traffic, by coming to complete stop (which switches the car to the electric motor), and then easing into acceleration, instead of jamming on the gas motor.

What’s ironic is it’s changed the way I approach driving. Even the most passive person can become a Type A personality behind the wheel of the car. I used to love to push when I drove. I tried never to be rude or angry, but I do love to drive fast and never being far from a LA freeway allowed me to zoom from here to there. Not anymore. Now, I want to see how if I can improve my gas mileage. Take it nice and easy.

No comments: