Coastal Stuff, Innovation, Technology & Science

The Hybrid Difference

08.08.08 | Comment?

Photo of MPG
Photo of 2005 Civic Hybrid dashboard showing 49.9 MPG
Attribution: Mike Harding

This morning marked the first real test of my hybrid (2005 Honda Civic) enroute to work. As you can see from the photo to the right, the trip is nearly 40 miles one way and the mileage recorded was 49.9 miles per gallon. Whoo hooo! That’s quite an improvement. But that’s not the whole story, a normal commute at this time of the morning takes between 80-90 minutes in my prior vehicle, this morning? 45 minutes.

My commute is a tough test too. The first 1/2 consists of essentially two lane fast city streets and an ascent over the coastal range and foothills. The last 1/2 consists of Highways 92 and 101 through the peninsula and into the heart of Silicon Valley. So there is a mix of stop and go, hills, and freeway speeds. It’s really a nice mix to show the relative performance of a vehicle. Conclusions about the hybrid thus far?

Hybrid vehicle, very valuable. Less fuel, fewer emissions, and a general feeling of well being in lowering one’s footprint.

HOV stickers allowing travel in the carpool lane, priceless. Recovering 35-45 minutes each commute cycle is really incalculable value.

By the numbers, first the old:

  • Old vehicle: 18.6MPG
  • Fuel consumed per commute cycle: 2.13 gallons
  • Fuel cost per commute cycle: $9.35
  • Time per commute cycle: 85 minutes

Now the new:

  • New vehicle: 49.9MPG
  • Fuel consumed per commute cycle: 0.79 gallons
  • Fuel cost per commute cycle: $3.47
  • Time per commute cycle: 45 minutes

Hey, hybrid might not make sense for everyone, but I can see that there will be a big difference in my life and seeing actual data makes it all real for me. The synergistic benefits (beyond time and $) are even better. Over the course of a year, the reduction in CO2 and NOx will also be substantial, and that’s something to feel good about too…

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