Going Green: Getting a Hybrid Vehicle

Another way my wife and I have become just a little greener recently is the switch to an HEV, or Hybrid Electric Vehicle. We would not have been able to survive the move to California had we not traded in our cars for an SUV, but I was pretty resistant to getting one for the following reasons:

  1. I tend to hate SUVs when I can't see over them while pulling out of a stop or when they take up a parking space and a half.
  2. SUVs usually get poor gas mileage.
  3. SUVs tend to be overpriced in my opinion.
  4. Way less "cool" than my Saab.
  5. Extra pollution for extra power/size that is rarely used.
  6. They are viewed by some as symbolic of the wastefulness of American culture.
  7. I do not like driving large vehicles and trying to fit them into small parking spaces.

After doing a ton of research (as I always do), I realized that a hybrid SUV might be exactly what we needed (my wife didn't care much either way). Unfortunately, they are usually $3k-6k more expensive than their gas guzzling-counterparts. The goal was to find one we could afford, which would not be terribly easy since they are relatively new to the market. We ended up getting extremely fortunate by finding a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid which was mysteriously priced the same as an XLT. In fact, they mislabeled it as an XLT on a few websites. We were later informed that the dealer's wife miscategorized it while trying to find a reason to mark the price down to sell it. While that sure sounds like a typical dealer lie to sell the car, after owning it for several months and knowing it's not a lemon, I actually believe that story. This put it close enough to our price range, so we splurged a bit and got it. We are both extremely happy with it. The hybrid has an answer for each of my earlier beefs with SUVs:

  1. Ford escapes are some of the smallest SUVs, and they don't in the way like, say, an Expedition.
  2. Being a hybrid, it gets the same mileage as my old Saab and better than my wife's old Buick. Obviously not as good a small Prius, but pretty good considering it weights 3,700 lbs. with the battery pack below the trunk.
  3. We got lucky and skipped paying the hybrid premium, which really helped offset the usual SUV markup.
  4. The hybrid has a great little green leaf icon that gives me warm fuzzies: From Ford Escape Hybrid I will ignore the fact that it seems like every 5th vehicle on the highway is a Ford Escape.
  5. The hybrid pollutes dramatically less than a non-hybrid (stats to prove this are later in the article).
  6. The hybrid (with its warm fuzzy green leaf) proudly advertises its hybrid-ness on all sides in an effort to be symbolic of our efforts to be different and pollute less.
  7. As mentioned in point #1, the Ford Escape is small for an SUV, and as I've learned from driving it, the extra visibility and confidence gained from sitting higher off the ground has more than made up for the size awkwardness in my mind.

In regards to the pollution/emissions matter, according to the calculator at Travel Matters, we have produced 2,896 lbs of potentially harmful emissions since we bought the Hybrid. The same mileage with my previous 2002 Saab 9-3 would have produced 3,748 lbs of emissions, and my wife's former 1995 Buick Regal would have produced 4,202 lbs.

Overall, HEVs are a great progression for the automobile industry. I personally wish all non-racing vehicles would switch to hybrids so the price could come back down and everyone could reduce their emissions without having to sacrifice.

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Why you are not ready to move to california? Just moved to Indonesia with me hehe Obat Susah Buang Air Kecil

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