It needs to be 20% thirstier

Lisa has a Prius named Rainbow Dash, and it was perfectly fine until she moved out of Ponyville:

Whereas the Prius used to be perfectly fine for the usually slow traffic on Highway 101 then sleepy Route 37 up to Sonoma, now I’m doing the two hour plus drive up north on what must be the scariest freeway in Northern California. I start out on a quick spur of the 880 which local cops call Blood Alley because of all the accidents. Then I switch to the 680 where I seem to have a life-flashing-before-my-eyes event on every run. The problem is the huge number of trucks and tractor trailers on this road. Which means I, in my little fiberglass sardine can, am sharing road space with massive eight tired rigs at least ten times my size. In the Prius’s defense, let me say that it has fabulous visibility with a large windshield, super large (for its size) rear view mirrors and almost a 180 degree view to the rear through a large rear hatchback window and side windows. Let me tell you, you need that visibility. Because NOBODY can see a Prius. Even Subaru station wagons can’t see the Prius. So if you can’t get out of harm’s way, no one else is going to prevent that accident. And how bad would that accident be? Well, judging from the damage done at low speeds on my recent roadtrip, I don’t even want to contemplate what that car would look like after a 65-70 MPH impact. Although I’m all about the great gas mileage, I’m starting to wonder how much that will matter to me after I’m splattered on a concrete shoulder by a merging big rig.

The problem, of course, is that something taller and easier to see is likely to drink a whole lot more go-juice than a Prius:

I’ve spent more than a decade in Priusland. I’m nearly fainting at the gas mileage that the average car gets. Are you people really driving around thinking 30 or 35 MPG is good gas mileage?

In eight years and change, Gwendolyn has only twice returned as much as 30 mpg, and both times they were back East, where 93-octane fuel is more common than it is here in the Quarter-Mile-High City. Then again, she’s a solid highway cruiser, if not particularly tall, and her Blinding White paint may or may not enhance her visibility. (Rarity? But of course, darling.)



  1. Lisa Paul »

    30 October 2014 · 6:56 pm

    Of course part of my gas mileage sticker shock may be exacerbated by the fact that I think I’m in a full blown mid-life crisis and am suddenly imagining myself in a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited tackling the slickrock of Moab. And the Jeep is just about the polar opposite in all ways — but certainly in gas guzzling — than the Prius. How the pendulum swings.

  2. CGHill »

    30 October 2014 · 7:31 pm

    Well, the Jeep can certainly get you through Moab, and it will exhibit a hefty thirst while so doing. Still, this is what it was bred to do, while Prii were intended to scoot around town on the smallest amount of fuel possible. And this is why you see chihuahuas and Neapolitan mastiffs in the same dog show.

  3. fillyjonk »

    30 October 2014 · 8:11 pm

    I just think of my colleague, whose Prius was effectively taken out of commission by a kamikaze armadillo (darn thing got up in the wheel-well after he hit it and BOUNCED around). While I don’t expect a car to survive every wildlife collision, I’d kind of like something with less plastic between me and the road.

  4. McGehee »

    30 October 2014 · 8:28 pm

    For us in Flyoverland, 30 to 35 is good — because we have to drive something that can meet all our needs, and those needs are as wide-ranging as the places we have to go.

  5. Lisa Paul »

    30 October 2014 · 8:47 pm

    McGehee, it’s not just Flyoverland. As long as I stayed in San Francisco or just ran up one of the older and slower freeways, I was fine. But you don’t need to go more than a yard off the highway in Sonoma, Eastern California or remove parts of Oregon to, effectively, be off-roading.

  6. XRay »

    30 October 2014 · 9:06 pm

    I shouldn’t brag, as we all know what that leads to, ruin. But, I’m so glad I subtly guided my wife into, at least, a hybrid Camry instead of a Pious, just a few weeks ago. Yes, 40 is less than 50. I don’t give a crap in this instance. The one is better than the other as far as use. This whole milage thing is so leftist and contrary, that I feel good driving my 16 gpg Tacoma. Actually I’m thinking of buying a used 16 ft. Budget rent a truck for my next commute vehicle, guaranteed 4 miles to the gallon.

  7. Lisa Paul »

    30 October 2014 · 9:18 pm

    Well, you’ll all be glad to hear that I’m falling so far off the gas-sipping wagon that my next car may wipe out over ten years of Prius driving. I’ve fallen in love with the JEEP Wrangler Sahara!

  8. McGehee »

    30 October 2014 · 10:57 pm

    Lisa Paul »

    30 October 2014 · 8:47 pm

    To many of your neighbors, “a yard off the highway in Sonoma, Eastern California or remote parts of Oregon” is Flyoverland.

    The Wrangler may be overkill, but here’s hoping you have fun in it.

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