When I was 17 years old, a girl on my rowing team used to drive her parent’s Prius back and forth to practice. I thought it was the cutest car I’d ever seen, and the eco-friendly hybrid engine sent my “GO GREEN” heart a flutter.
In 2010, I convinced my fiance (now husband) to test drive a used Prius. We drove off the lot that day with my beloved hybrid, who I named “Sandy” due to her sandy color (I know, I’m so creative). Other nick names include “PuttPutt” and “Sandy the PuttPutt Prius” all stemming from Jeff Dunham skits about what it’s really like to drive a compact hybrid car. His is powder blue.
If you listen to his skit about his powder blue Prius, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the clan of hybrid owners. We make fun of our own cars, from the slow acceleration (anyone see the movie where he says he was street racing in his Prius?), to the compact body (Dunham jokes about switching lanes underneath a Semi), and even the pathetic-sounding horn (meepmeep, get it?) but most hybrid and EOV drivers will agree- we think the pros outweigh the cons.
I’m a classroom teacher, so I always start with the pros, so for the sake of being contradictory, I am going to start with the cons.
- Go ahead, floor it. Better yet, lightly tap the gas pedal. You’re accelerating at the same rate either way. This is terribly inconvenient when you’re cutting someone off on the interstate, and probably more inconvenient if you take your car to the Autobahn. While most hybrids and electric vehicles can get up into the 100-120mpg range, it definitely isn’t going to have in 30 seconds. Or 60. So don’t go racing anyone anytime soon.
- Every single time you fill up your gas tank or someone you work with sees you driving your car, you will be asked about the miles per gallon. You will get tired of telling them. Fortunately, you don’t have to fill up very often.
- The older the hybrid, the more likely it is that someone else is driving a non-hybrid that gets better mileage.
- They invented fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, which is fantastic for the environment and will virtually eliminate all trips to the gas pump. Problem? In cities like the one I live in, you’ll never find a place to plug-in publicly. This con can be eliminated by moving to more eco-friendly cities, like Boston or Los Angeles.
- People will automatically assume you cannot transport anyone besides yourself in your vehicle. Depending on what you drive, this may be true. If you drive a Prius, this isn’t true. In fact, I can fit almost everything in my Prius that my husband can fit in his truck and truck bed. Almost everything. I rather like this con- I enjoy wooing people with the powers of the hatchback.
- Safety features can be a con. Especially when you live in Florida, which despite being the “Sunshine State,” it rains a lot here- and traction control can be a real pain when you’re in a hurry and would prefer not to lose all power to your drive train when making a turn on slick turf. Seriously.
- Gas mileage. Duh. If you’re driving a hybrid from the late 2000’s, you’re probably looking at 40-45mpg. Newer hybrids and fully electric vehicles are even more efficient. Fully electric models or plug-ins are practically limitless in the mpg. You’re helping the environment and saving major money in the long run.
- Hybrids get better mileage in the city than on long highway trips. This makes them awesome commuter cars and the reason why so many taxi companies are switching to them. But don’t think this makes them a bad fit for road trips- my husband and I have literally cut the cost of a road trip in half by choosing my Prius over his truck. The mileage is still much better than a standard engine car.
- Sleek features. Most hybrids and electric vehicles, even the ones that are older, are designed to be sleek- inside and out. Nobody is going to pay $35,000 for a hatchback 5-seater if it doesn’t have some other features to boot. Many of the newer models include extra storage capacity, smart key functions, Bluetooth, upgraded sound systems, GPS, and awesome safety features.
- Value. If you drive a four or six-cylinder whatever off the lot brand new tomorrow, the value instantly depreciates. Give it a few years and when you’re ready to trade it in, you’re literally saving on the tax, tag, and title. This is not the case in most hybrid and electric vehicles- much like luxury vehicles, their value does not depreciate as quickly and that makes it easy to upgrade later on. I have been offered above blue book value for my car at least 5 times since purchasing it.
- Smooth drive. Even though my own car is over 6 years old, the drive on it is still a dream. Unlike traditional vehicles, you do not feel the shifting of gears in a hybrid or electric engine. My car’s engine literally shuts off at stop lights. This all makes for a smooth, noiseless ride- I get to enjoy my stereo and not the sounds of my engine.
My take? The pros far outweigh the cons, but purchasing a car is a personal choice- do what’s best for you and your family, but just don’t be afraid of the unknown. See you on the streets, meepmeep!