we have been a one car family for 2 years now. we always planned on getting a second vehicle. this is l.a. after all and everyone drives. everywhere. but we found that d could manage with a combo of biking and taking public transit to work. it added an extra half hour or so onto his commute, but he found he was was less stressed, and in better physical shape too. we have been lucky to have an extra car (thanks friends and family!) at our disposal through all this - "just in case" - and it has come in handy when something has come up where i can't pick up the kids in our usual way. a kind of car-share that has worked will in a pinch.
but we are looking now for a second of our own. i think the ideal would be something very fuel efficient with a low carbon footprint. of course. and a camper/van. to ease our weekend getaways and our yearly trip up the coast to canada. and it could also serve as our "just in case" vehicle.
where to look? and how do i decide? oh i do like those hybrids you see all over the place (sam, leslie, you do love yours, don't you? and they are comfy for family outings?). but i keep thinking straight vegetalbe oil (svo), and ultimately waste vegetable oil (wvo), may be the way for us to go. i worry about the impact of the demand for palm oil that biodiesel may cause. of course inroads into pond scum fueling my car sound interesting. and the idea of a used vehicle appeals to me. (converting an older diesel to wvo and practicing the 3 R's as much as possible.) but we do need one reliable vehicle. (again - this is l.a...) we certainly are not waiting for ford and gm's much touted corn ethanol fueled vehicles. (you can read more about "why corn ethanol isn't the answer" here.) i have checked out the top 10 green cars (unfortunately for the uk and many models not available here - but it gives me some ideas.)
i don't like car shopping at the best of times - hence our 2 yr lack of a second vehicle - and all these additional issues begin to overwhelm me - as you can see. oh yes, and of course we are trying to do this on a budget.
so i turned to my "go to girl", and friend alegre, of Green and Greener. she told me:
"From an environmental stand point I’m torn. While I haven’t found CO2 info about burning used veggie oil, I agree that it’s always better for something to get used two or more times before it enters the waste stream. However, I also believe that lowering CO2 emissions is the SINGLE MOST IMPORANT thing we can do right now because of the urgency of global warming. So I’d recommend getting a PRIUS, having it modified to be a full-plug-in (find info here) and then make sure that you are signed up for GREEN POWER with DWP (if you don’t have solar panels) so that the energy you are getting is CO2 emission free."
so there you are. we are looking and thinking and wondering if, as more hybrids come on the market the price will beging to decrease. (perhaps i will still be blogging about this in another two years!)
in the meantime, i have purchased a terrapass for our minivan.
i would love your feedback on this.
wanted: earth-friendly, reliable set of vehicles for family of four. must be willing to commute during the week, enjoy short drives to the beach, and weekends in the mountains as well as yearly drives to the great white north.