Prius, It Totally Rules!
Two of the comments on my last blog article mentioned the Prius, so I thought I would talk about it.
It is a green 2003 that I bought new just a bit over 5 years ago. The only teething pain was a rear seatbelt that jammed in the first week or two and was replaced at no cost to me. I bought it when my pick up truck died (after 15 years and a buncha miles) and I could see that cheap gas was not going to last forever. (But I did not carry this insight over to investing, so I missed most of the energy stocks run up.) I bought it with the extended warranty, figuring this was new tech and anything could happen.
Since then the car has performed admirably. It is very comfortable to drive and the heating and air conditioner work very well. It is not a sports car, but the battery boost lets you accelerate quickly when you need to get onto a highway or the like. (The zero to 65 distance is much shorter than the pickup truck, even though that had a V8 and got 15 to the gallon.) When I was driving the car pool, I could get me, 4 kids and their backpacks and school projects in quite comfortably. Other than routine maintenance, it has not needed any work. (I did have to replace a rear windshield, but that was due to a golf ball that some $&(#&(&$ golfer sliced 50 yards off the fairway center line. I hope all his drives go in the water.)
On the mileage front, I get about 45 to the gallon in my daily commute. It is a bit better in summer and a bit worse in winter when we get gas with ethanol in it for air pollution control. (ETOH has a lower energy density than gasoline due to that big heavy oxygen in the OH ligand.) Trips do better, but mileage drops off at 75, so I often take secondary highways rather than the interstates. (Which usually have better scenery anyways.) On the just concluded trip, we did 2899 miles at an average mileage of 49.1.
The only real problem with it was that the original tires were not very grippy on snow or ice and got chewed up pretty fast. I fixed that by buying some aftermarket Michelins that not only grip much better (on the trip I was one of two cars that made it up a snowy hill outside of Browning Montana) but last much much longer. The drop in mileage has been small and well worth it.
So today after 5 years and 72,000 miles I am a huge Prius fan. I know a bunch of other Prius owners in the area and we all love the car. (I have never met an owner who hated the car.) I in fact liked it so much that I bought some Toyota Motors stock and will add more if it looks like it is cheap.
Chris - long TM and very long the Prius