We have a new car! Well, it's almost 2 weeks old now, but that's still new, right? I'm bubbling over with enthusiasm for it, so I just have to share.
After examining our budget and our driving needs carefully, Jay and I decided that we really had to get a fuel efficient car. Truly, we couldn't afford NOT to. We were spending upwards of $700 per month on gas given how often we go to Los Angeles now, and the fact that we have one car that gets 18 miles per gallon and another just 10. Moreover, since Jay has our Toyota van parked at the airport not infrequently, I am driving around in the huge gas guzzler with only one or two children during the day--rarely do I have all the children with me at once and need the giant van.
We tracked how many miles we were driving and calculated how much we would save in gas by adding a 40mpg car to our garage. We realized a new car would pay for itself while giving us the security of having a more reliable car to take to Los Angeles (the Toyota van is rapidly approaching 200k miles and is starting to require frequent repairs). Plus, if we drive our big church van less, it will last longer...hopefully until we don't need it anymore. Seemed like a no-brainer to us!
After researching all the available options (we seriously considered four cars in all), we settled on the Honda Insight Hybrid. After driving it nearly 1300 miles (in just 12 days--I TOLD you we drive a lot!) we couldn't love it more. We have averaged 47 miles per gallon and everything we read tells us that the mileage improves over time as we get more used to driving efficiently and the car gets broken in. This beats the numbers in our spreadsheet, so it was even more definitely a good decision. It was quite inexpensive for a new car...and Honda is having its 2010 clearance right now so they are offering all kinds of favorable deals.
Our favorite part about the Insight is the feedback it gives the driver. It actually helps you to drive it more efficiently. In some ways, it's like a giant video game. You earn "leaves" on your screen for driving efficiently and you lose them when you accelerate or brake too fast. It's all about slow and steady wins the race. When you drive efficiently for a certain amount of time you can earn trophies and more layers of leaves on your "tree". It's pathetically fun. Plus, you can watch your real time average of mpg and it catalogs your last three trips along with your current one, so you can see how you're doing over time (or criticize your spouse for their less than optimal fuel efficiency, if that's what you prefer to do with the information).
At any rate, we love our new addition and highly recommend the Honda Insight to anyone who might be in the market for a more fuel efficient car. But hurry...the 2010 clearance is ending soon (oh, and get the internet price...it's quite a bit less than the sticker!).