“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

New car, minimal carbon reduction

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been contemplating replacing my Land Rover LR3 HSE with a new vehicle - something much more fuel efficient (despite the fact that I've gotten about 28% better fuel economy than the EPA rating for the LR3). Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, my hand was forced.

In the post linked above, I contemplated the Chevy Volt and the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Which did I purchase? Neither. Instead, I drove away with a newcomer, the Lexus CT 200h. This is a well-appointed, VERY small hybrid. Its EPA ratings are 43 m.p.g. city, 40 m.p.g. highway, and 42 m.p.g. combined. This exceeds the Ford Fusion Hybrid and will enable me to save something like 575 gallons of fuel per year and $2,400 on fuel costs (the number is greater than simply gallons times price because the LR3 requires premium while the CT 200h needs only regular).

This is certainly happy news, so why has my family's carbon footprint not decreased significantly as a result of this change? The unfortunate circumstances referred to above involved the total loss of the vehicle my wife had been driving (thankfully, no injuries occurred to any of the involved parties). The decision was to take the insurance settlement and purchase the LR3 from my Company and make it my wife's vehicle. Now, she does absolutely no hypermiling and puts a spectacular number of miles on a vehicle (on the order of 60,000 per year). Her previous vehicle was no fuel miser at 14 m.p.g. city, 23 m.p.g. highway, and 17 m.p.g. combined but many of her miles are highway miles where she'll get about 18 m.p.g. by my estimate. Thus, she'll add about 500 gallons per year for a net reduction in fuel consumption for my family of a mere 75 gallons.

Now, moving on to the CT 200h, this is a vehicle that shares the drivetrain of the Toyota Prius and is thus amenable to some of the more exotic hypermiling techniques such as pulse and glide. I will certainly run through a few tank fulls of fuel prior to experimenting with that technique so that I have a baseline for comparison. Frankly, I'm not so sure that I want to work that hard to drive. And with respect to another technique - drafting - the CT 200h is very small and very low. Thus, the danger level is increased (not to mention not wanting to damage a new vehicle's finish by rocks being thrown).

I'll make another post at a later time with some specifics of the CT 200h (Cd, weight, engine and motor sizes and ratings, etc.)

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