Back in October, my family purchased a used Prius. Why, you ask? Because I knew I was taking a job as a consultant and could possibly be sent all over the metro area to various clients. I love our Jeep, but we needed something with better mileage. So we traded in the minivan, kept the Jeep for its off-roading capabilities, and bought the Prius.
Our first tank garnered 45 miles to the gallon! We cut the crap!
So for us, purchasing this car was more of a budgetary and economic move. Sure, we’re saving gas and sort of helping the planet, but really, unless EVERYONE drove a hybrid or electric car, our worldwide dependence on fossil fuels really isn’t going away any time soon. That’s just the way the powers that be want it, too, but that’s fodder for another post.
In any case, we’re doing our part, and driving the Prius sort of offsets the carbon footprint of our Jeep. Hahaha! All should be right with the world, yes?
Well, sort of.
We got a lot of teasing from our friends and family. They’re like us. They like American-made, powerful, go-anywhere-in-the-snow kind of vehicles. While they understand the reasons we bought the Prius and actually applaud us, they affectionately call our car The Granolamobile. So that brings me to what it means to drive a Prius: a general misconception that most people who drive Priuses are hippies . I even had a friend tell me that very thing recently (in a cajoling, joking sort of way). I don't mind this kind of joking and teasing. It's among friends and family, and that's cool in my book.
I see a lot of Prius-bashing on Facebook, too. This is usually (but not always) perpetrated by people with staunch conservative views, and while I share many of those conservative views, I’d wager that many of these people have never set foot inside a Prius, let alone DRIVE one. These naysayers stereotype anyone driving a Prius. They call Prius drivers hippy leftists, libtards, idiots, granola munchers, pro-gun control freaks, and the list goes on and on. I detest name-calling, BTW. It's inexcusable on both sides of the fence. What most people don't realize is that my Prius is a pretty peppy little car. I can shoot off the line faster than in my Jeep, believe it or not, and I have no problem keeping up with traffic... or passing it, if the need arises. I'm not drag racing or anything, but my little car holds its own in day-to-day traffic.
All of this trash-talking while not driving is NOTHING, however, compared to the attitudes I’ve encountered while DRIVING. People really have a problem with a Prius doing 80mph on the interstate. I'm not kidding. It's like some frontal assault to the egos of drivers everywhere if a Prius shows some gumption. I get on the interstate/freeway/whatever, get up to the speed of traffic, and set cruise control. I’m not going slower or faster than everyone else, but I am driving a PRIUS. So that means someone somewhere can’t bear the thought of being passed by my car. They give me dirty looks. They sometimes honk. They sometimes share choice expletives (I’m actually getting really good at reading lips). And invariably they stomp on the gas to pass me. All that honking, cussing, dirty-look-giving happens again when they whip around me at break-neck speeds.
I don’t care. I’m laughing all the way to the bank.
I guess this judging-a-person-by-the-car-he/she-drives dates back to the beginning of history when “status” was determined by your mode of transportation. We still do it. If you drive a Ferrari, then you must have more money than God. If you ride a rice rocket, then you must have more balls than brains. The list goes on and on, and I’m guilty of playing into it just as much as you are, Dear Reader. But after driving the Prius and getting teased a lot, I’ve learned my lesson; I hereby cease and desist all playing of the stereotype game.
But just to rub it in, I got 54mpg on my last tank. I've also never paid more than $30 to fill up. Just sayin'. And I still have my 16mpg Jeep that I love to death. So THERE.