A Pastor in a Prius

Latte Prius ObamaImage by Voxphoto via Flickr
Six months ago, we traded in my spouse's first car (a decade-old Toyota Camry), along with some savings from the sale of my car a few years back, for an extravagant purchase based on ethics: a Toyota Prius.  The hybrid gets over 50 miles per gallon and we felt better about the impact of our driving on the environment.

I admit that I was hesitant to drive a premium vehicle, especially thinking of what the monthly payments could be used for charity and missions.  But we have to drive, and instead of continuing along the way things were, we decided our ecological ethic required that we put our money where our mouth was.

So, it's been six months, so here's the half-year review:

After six months of using the Prius, we've got the following stats compared to our old car:
  • Miles driven: 9,500 miles (yes, we drive almost 20k a year)
  • Money saved on gas:  $450 (estimate based on 95% of gas receipts; mileage compared to former 22mpg gas economy of the Camry).  
    • For reference, Edmunds' Fuel Estimator estimated we would save $115/month in gas, but this was done when gas was $3.50/gallon, so the numbers are skewed now that gas is cheaper)
  • Carbon saved: 3,892 lbs less carbon has been put in the atmosphere (based on TerraPass's carbon calculator compared to our Camry).  
    • For reference, weatherstripping and insulating your home saves you about that much per year.
Please note that the numbers are low...that's because it is the difference between our old car and the Prius.  Hybrids alone save 17,000 lbs of CO2 per year and close to $3000 in gas in ideal conditions (which the frigid NE is not an ideal conditions!).

Is it gonna save the whales?  No.  But it's a start.  And every gas-efficient choice we make makes a difference in aggregate. 

Any other readers drive a hybrid?  Leave a comment.  And if you want to assail this lowly pastor for driving a premium vehicle...well, that's what the comments are all about. 

Off to get arugula from Whole Foods in my Prius while wearing Birkenstocks! LOL.


Larry B,  March 12, 2009 at 9:07 PM  

Nothing wrong with putting your money where your mouth is.

I don't drive a hybrid, but we have decided to plant ourselves in a small town and live in town. 1.5 miles to work, church or school for the kids. Seriously has cut our driving, gas costs and even other costs since we have limited choices for shopping and eating out. I'm really wondering if our obsession with urban settings is contributing to the problem, or if small towns are inefficient too because of the carbon expended to deliver food and goods to a small amount of people.

I still got my birks, but I don't dare wear them around here - might get run out of town.

Todd,  March 12, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

J-man...you seen South Park's "Smug Alert" episode? O my gosh...hahahaha...I don't think of you that way, but it's really funny. Way to go on taking the step to the hybrid, brotha...Love you man! ~Todd

Anonymous,  March 13, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

Personally, I don't have a problem with a pastor driving a "premium" car. I do and I'm not any better than you or any other pastor (well, maybe some, but let's not go there), but I can understand why a pastor would be reluctant to drive such a car. But I wouldn't buy a hybrid anyway; I would rather put the difference between the price of the Prius and Camry to some other good use.

Anonymous,  March 16, 2009 at 3:37 PM  

As a Latte-slurping, Birkenstock-shod, NPR-pledging, tree-hugging, and now finally Prius-driving Unitarian Universalist, I couldn't agree with you more on trying to make wise choices and lessen your own "footprint" on the globe.
I traded in my 11-year-old Camry LE on a two-year-old Prius, and am tickled to be getting 43 MPH on average. How do you get 50 on yours (what's the trick?)

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