Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Save Gas, Save the Planet: John Addison’s book about hybrid and electric cars, pathways to low carbon driving, and the future of sustainable transportation. © 2009 John Addison. All rights reserved.
The Circle of Life
There is no one correct answer for the best vehicle, or even type of vehicle, to best save gas and save the planet. People have different needs at different times of their life, and different driving conditions.
Michael enjoyed living car-free when he went to the university. It was easy to get everywhere by walking, bicycle riding, and using transit. Living in a thriving city, he continued to be car free while he was single.
Love and marriage included his wife’s car. It was easy to share one car, and take full advantage of transit in the city. Walking and bicycling were great for short trips, since many shops, restaurants, and activities were nearby.
Then they had a daughter, a son, and another daughter. With three children, Michael and Beth also found themselves the proud owners of a minivan big enough for themselves, kids, friends, grandparents, and groceries. Their second car was a sport SUV with all-wheel drive to accommodate roads when there was snow and ice.
As the children got older, they started their own journey of bicycling, transit, riding with friends, and sharing family vehicles. It made more sense for the family to transition to one, then two hybrids with good fuel economy.
When the children are grown, Michael and Beth plan to return to one vehicle. They are looking forward to choices that include 100 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that require zero gasoline. When they retire to vibrant city living, they may choose to live car-free.