Here’s an interesting article about buying a hybrid car versus keeping your current vehicle. I get between 25 and 30 mpg in my Civic, and I drive it about 3500 miles a year. So it would take a lot of years before the hybrid would pay off for me. That’s convenient, because I don’t ever plan on paying $25,000 for a car, so a hybrid is pretty much out of the question. Maybe ten years from now I’ll buy a ten year old hybrid, but for now my trusty Civic is all I need. Instead of spending a lot of money on a car that gets better gas mileage, my mission has been to significantly reduce the amount of driving I do. I used to work 20 miles from home. Then I quit in order to work from home, but after a year of that, we were in need of additional income and I went looking for a part time job. My number one criteria was that the job be close enough to home that I could walk or bike. I ended up getting a job as a shelver at the library a mile from our house. That was four years ago, and I’ve been walking or biking to the library four days a week ever since. At eight miles a week, that’s 400 miles per year – 1600 miles in the four years I’ve worked there. It’s only two miles a day, but over time it does add up. We live in the suburbs, but we’re only about a mile from a grocery store, the post office, the library, Home Depot, a department store, and a Walgreens. There’s also a McDonalds where we rent movies just over a mile from home. The bank is about three miles away, and the gym is about four miles. To get to any of these places, I walk or bike. I pretty much won’t take my car out of the garage unless the place I need to go is more than five miles away, or – in the case of Home Depot especially – if I need to bring home more than I can carry on my back or in my bike basket. All those little two and three mile drives really add up. It may not be practical to start biking 30 miles to get to work (although mass transit may be an option for a lot of people) but leaving the car at home any time you need to go less than five miles would really make a difference. It’s better for your waist than driving, and it’s a lot easier on the budget than springing for a hybrid.
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