We don't need no stinkin' hybrid
It has been a crazy few weeks.
The new job is going well. I'm really going to like it there.
The commute, for now, is a bear. It will always be something of a bear, but right now it's as bad as it will ever get.
We close on our house Tuesday. That will cut a good 10 minutes off the drive. Plus the kids morning schedule will be different, so I can leave earlier and beat some of the traffic, probably cutting another 10 minutes off. And in six months, I'll only have to do it twice a week.
But right now, it's rough. 44 miles of rush hour traffic. On a good day, it takes me an hour. That's one way. Then I have to do it again to get home. If there's an accident, make it an hour and a half.
And so far, I've generally had to do it in our "farm truck." It's an early 90's pickup that's more rust than metal. The rear fuel tank leaks too much to be usable. The front fuel tank doesn't leak, as long as you don't put more than 12 gallons of gas in it. But since it only gets about 12 miles to the gallon, that means I have to get gas after every third trip. (Not round trip, mind you.) It has no A/C, no CD or cassette, no cruise, no power anything. It's really not the right tool for the job.
So, dear readers, I have acquired a new tool. Soon the farm truck can go back to doing what it does best - hauling occasional loads of bulk materials, and rusting.
Once I have jumped through the necessary hoops of getting license plates and insurance, I will be driving what may be the perfect vehicle for this endeavor: It gets 50-55 miles per gallon. But it's a four door sedan, so it could conceivably take our whole family on errands without too much trouble.
How much did I pay for this dream machine?
Twenty-five hundred bucks.
No, not twenty-five thousand.
It's a 1997 VW Passat TDI. It's been well-maintained (and the maintenance well-documented), and tweaked for fuel efficiency. It also handles like a dream, and it can run on anything from filthy tractor diesel to B100 biodiesel.
I've been playing with the calculator. Just in fuel savings, this thing will pay for itself by April. I could drive to our house in Ohio and back on a single tank. I could drive my long commute every day for two weeks and still not need to fill up.
And once I get my telecommute privileges, it'll be six weeks between fill ups.
Think of that: One fuel stop between now and Thanksgiving.
And I'm not talking Canadian Thanksgiving either...