alternative energy

Going Green: Getting to work despite high gas prices

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Gas_Prices.512.512 Anybody feeling pinched by high gas prices? You should. Expensive gas not only hits us squarely in the pocketbook when we fill our gas tanks, but it makes everything else more expensive as well; air travel, shipping packages, groceries, you name it.

Aside from being expensive, gasoline is hard on the environment too. Here are a few viable alternatives (that are available now) if you decide that you’ve had enough with high gas prices and/or you’d like to go easier on the environment.

Public Transportation, Walking, Carpooling, Bicycling, Hourly Rentals

Yes, yes, these are all nice options. Look into them in your hometown. None of them are very geeky or gadgety and/or they all vary from place to place. I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least bring them up, though. I got rid of my car in October and now I walk, take the subway (Boston), or use Zipcar.com to get where I need to go. It’s easy!

i2_commuter_blackSegway i2 Commuter

If you’d like to ditch your car altogether and you live in a relatively temperate climate, not too far from work, why not just bite the nerdly bullet and pick up a Segway? The i2 Commuter model starts at $5,460 and is good for almost 25 miles before it needs to be recharged.

Your friends will think you’re cool and environmentally conscious ladies will be all over you like patchouli on a Phish fan. Yum.

Segway i2 Commuter [Segway.com]

Zapino Electric Scooter

zapino-electric-scooter-zapHey there, Businesslady, I like your sassy summer ‘do and your fun Zapino electric scooter from ZAP Electric Cars.

This is one of your more expensive scooters at just under $4,000, but it’s all electric so you’ll save an ass-load on gas. Top speed is about 30MPH and the range is 30 miles so, again, make sure you live close to work.

Zapino Electric Scooter [ZapWorld.com]

Tesla Roadster

tesla

Far and away the most impressive car to date (in my opinion), the Tesla Roadster is all electric, yet sacrifices very little in the name of the environment. Well, except maybe that it costs over $100,000 and there’s a 15-month wait and $60,000 is due just to get on the list. However, if I had that kind of money, I’d definitely get one of these.

The Roadster is 100% electric, goes 0 to 60 in under four seconds, has a 13,000 rpm redline, gets the equivalent of 135 miles to the gallon, goes 220 miles on a single charge, and costs less than two cents per mile’s worth of energy.

Tesla Motors [TeslaMotors.com]

Electric Vehicles versus Regular Vehicles

I’d jump at the chance to get any all-electric vehicle, actually, since the cost of “filling” them up is so much less than conventional cars.  Steve Heckeroth of the American Solar Energy Society says that electric cars cost roughly two cents per mile versus gas, bio-diesel, ethanol vehicles, which cost 20 to 30 cents per mile. Here’s a short video with more information.

For many of us, though, buying an all-electric vehicle or riding a goofy Segway to work just isn’t practical yet. So here’s a list of the most fuel-efficient cars, trucks, and SUVs on the road today. The numbers following each vehicle represent its city and highway mileage and clicking on the vehicle’s name will take you to its website.

Two Seater: smart fortwo Convertible 33/41

08_smart_roadster_topdown

Minicompact: MINI Cooper 28/37

mini_cooper_jcw_1_x

Subcompact: Toyota Yaris 29/36

2008_Toyota_Yaris_ext_1

Compact: Honda Civic Hybrid 40/45

2008 Honda Civic Sedan

Midsize: Toyota Prius Hybrid 48/45

2008-toyota-prius-hybrid

Large: Honda Accord 22/31

2008HondaAccordEX_L4_5AT_and_Boston

Small Station Wagon: Honda Fit 28/34

2008 Honda Fit

Midsize Station Wagon: Volkswagen Passat Wagon 21/29

2008-volswagen-passat-wagon

Small Pickup: Ford Ranger 2WD 21/26

2008_Ford_Ranger_grabber_orange

Standard Pickup: Dodge Dakota 2WD or Mitsubishi Raider 2WD 16/20

08-dakota-hero

386a

SUV: Ford Escape Hybrid FWD, Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD, Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD 34/30

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid

2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid

08Mariner_rightfront

Data source: FuelEconomy.gov

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