I Have a Green Baby With Wheels

Last summer I turned green, but not because Al Gore told me an inconvenient truth.

Hungry polar bears drifting away on ice cubes, as sad as that is, don’t directly inconvenience me. Commuting from Delray to FAU’s Boca, Fort Lauderdale and Davie campuses at $4.16 a gallon at the peak of gas prices in mid-July definitely did. So, I leased a green Toyota Prius.

Six months later, I was again inconvenienced by the $725 it cost for airline tickets to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. Determined to get to Obama, I thought, “I’ve got a Prius that’s great on gas: I’ll drive.” The Prius got me to D.C. and back to Delray Beach — 2,043 miles — for $78.66. It’s almost as if it’s giving me money.

My car has a hybrid engine that uses gas and electricity as I whip in and out of traffic on I-95 or ride my brakes behind cars that I bet aren’t actually on, but are in neutral, rolling. When I accelerate, then it’s all gas, but otherwise the gas and electricity work together. The car even has a computer screen that shows me how my car is using and conserving energy.

When I first got the car, I was more than willing, if not demanding, to drive everywhere with my friends. They loved the computer touch screen, which also controls the car’s settings, so for a short while the screen was permanently turned off. I was spending less time paying attention to the road and more time excitedly explaining its functions.

How I didn’t crash the first week, I can’t explain. It must have had something to do with elderly drivers and texting drivers following some sort of gravitational force that keeps us from hitting one another, like the planets in our solar system that, for whatever reason, don’t just take a hard right and collide into Earth.

Now, I’m the one usually driving my friends around, because I’m the only one with gas. I average 528 miles per tank and only need to fill up every 15 days or so. So, I drive. Happy passengers are happy friends, and I don’t want to be around
unhappy people.

My only grievance is how light the Prius is. On windy days, I can feel the wind on I-95 push against my car, which is odd. Why would Mother Nature push me around? Hey, buddy, I’m on your team!

While that might be a fault I find in the car, I find more fault with people who speak negatively about my green machine. When I talk about how hybrid cars save not only energy but money, some people still thoughtlessly dismiss them. Josh, my co-worker, likes to tell me, “Yeah, but you’re still driving a roller skate.”

Oh, well. He drives an Escalade. I win.