Gas prices, gas prices, G-A-S P-R-I-C-E-S.
Everywhere we go we keep hearing these two words. What are we to do with the steadily rising gas prices? Most people have cut back their driving, traded a gas bill for a bike or turned to public transportation.
But what happens when you have no choice; when you must drive, and you must drive far? I found myself faced with this dilemma. How was I supposed to afford $4 per gallon when I need to drive 400 miles to my mom’s and have enough car space to transport lots of luggage and two cats?
My answer was the Toyota Prius. Usually, my trip uses up approximately four full 15-gallon tanks of gas. With gas prices as they are driving home would have cost me about $240 in gas alone. The trip with the Prius cost $114 in gas to get there and back.
It turns out the Prius saved me more than a few extra dollars.
Not only were my costs cut by more than half, my driving has improved.
Since returning home and parting with the Prius I noticed that I’ve changed the way I drive. Strangely, I’ve continued to drive like I’m behind the wheel of a Prius. I used to speed whenever possible, but now other cars are doing the passing. I can’t help but think about the gas. If I’m flooring it, then I’m just wasting money and wasting money is stupid.
Beyond that there is the environmental aspect to consider. CO2 emissions are affectively heating up our climate and gas prices are heating up our tempers.
But some say the benefits of the Prius are a farce and going as far as comparing the environmental impact to that of a Hummer.
After reading the opinion piece titled “Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage” in Central Connecticut State University’s The Recorder, I had questions.
The article claims that the energy used to make and distribute Prius batteries, along with the disposal of them, harms the Earth more than a Hummer. Impossible.
The Vale Inco mine that The Recorder refers to has spent hundreds of millions on reducing sulphur dioxide emissions and plan to reduce these emissions another 63 percent by 2015, according the company’s website.
General Motors is responding to high prices at the pumps and consumer demands by stopping production of some larger vehicles like pick-up trucks and SUVs and turning it’s efforts to producing smaller more fuel-efficient cars. It is even considering selling the Hummer brand, according to The New York Times.
There is no denying CO2 emissions are significantly higher in a Hummer than a Prius and there is no denying the battery causes harm to the environment. But is it fair to compare the two?
Toyota offers $200 for every battery returned to the company and they in turn take the correct steps to recycle it, according to hybridcars.com. Although the nickel in the Prius battery is harmful to the environment, lithium isn’t as bad, and Honda and Toyota are taking steps toward lithium ion batteries.
The battery of the Prius does not cause a problem, it adds to one that already exists. Comparing CO2 emissions to the mining issues of nickel is backward thinking when we are trying to find solutions. Science cannot fix the climate.
Should we all stop recycling glass because the process requires energy?
The Prius is good at battling gas prices and CO2 emissions.
A bike is good at battling much, much more.
Serafina Costanza is a senior journalism major and an assistant opinions editor for the Daily Forty-Niner.