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Fuel Economy Gives New Meaning to ‘Riding Dirty’

July 11, 2008

Are you caught riding dirty? As far as fuel economy is concerned I am, with my small SUV getting a whopping 19 MPG on the highway. The CO2 emissions are sickening, too. Have fun with the EPA’s carbon calculator at Believe me, I can’t wait to trade it in for a Prius. (They will begin selling the new & improved hybrid in the US starting in early 2009 ) The ACEEE’s Green Book publishes a list of ‘greenest’ and ‘meanest’ vehicles, naming Volkswagen Touareg, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ford F-250 among the ten worst. (See the full list at However, the Honda Civic GX, Toyota Prius, and Honda Civic Hybrid are listed as the top three most fuel efficient. Everyone is feeling the pain at the pump, but few can afford to trade in their vehicles. Caught in a vicious cycle, many Americans wonder how to escape their dependence on gas when more disposable income is funneled directly into their gas tanks rather than saving for a more fuel efficient vehicle.

One obvious solution is taking mass transit. Many cities are adding new routes and buses to acomodate the influx of new passengers. This is a no-brainer for residents of NYC or Chicago, and even my hometown of Houston is finally witnessing a change in attitude toward the alternative to the dreaded daily commute. Hey, the perks are definetly there- you can read the paper while someone else drives, listen to music, read a book or just about anything else that we try to do while steering through the hoards of fellow commuters. I’m going to try this myself this fall, for the first time. I’m looking forward to it, mostly because I want to green my family as much as possible. Also, we just can’t chunk that much change into our gas budget.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. the lovely christina permalink
    July 13, 2008 9:02 pm

    Hi Holly!

    This has been a pet peve of mine for years. Even growing up in Beaumont something about all of the driving really bothered me. I just couldn’t put my finger on it because that is all I had ever known. After college I moved to Philadelphia with an ex-boyfriend. He got a job there. I thought hey they have public transportation and museums! What more could a girl want? I’ll find a job easily! So I plunged, and except for grad school every job I’ve had since has been in Jersey. I currently commute between West Philly and Trenton. The good news is this city has better public transportation than most of the United States. The bad news is that I spend an hour and half each way to work.

    Urban sprawl and flight from the cities have really left us unprepared for a spike in energy cost and availability.

    My boyfriend and I recently considered a move to Austin. Other than being a terrible career move the relience on cars was just too much for me.

    My version of the American dream includes a short walk to the train station that takes me to work. 🙂 Now if only the ride was shorter. 🙂

  2. wildkitty permalink
    July 21, 2008 12:14 am

    Absolutely. This is a complete no-brainer for me. I began riding Metra to work just before gas went over the $4/gal mark here. There’s a station in the town I live in, I ride to the station in the town I work in, a shuttle takes me to work, and then back again in the afternoon. The scenery is magnificent for someone accustomed to the dry barren plains I grew up in, and I can’t wait to witness the fall foliage on my commute. I relax and enjoy the ride, instead of fighting the tollway traffic. I doubt I’ll ever go back to driving the commute again.

  3. greenanthropology permalink*
    July 21, 2008 5:22 pm

    I think all it takes is a different frame of mind. Here, it seems everyone has fallen into a ‘bigger/more is better’ mindset- which does not serve us well anymore. Thank you both for supporting the public transportation philosophy!

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