Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Environmental Calculus: Train vs Car

Sister cars: the new Prius Prime in white and my sister's older Prius in blue

Most trips I take, I do an environmental calculus: if I take a plane, what is my cabin footprint? If I go by train, what about the roundtrip to the train station - can I go by cab? If I have to be picked up at the other end, that's another trip. And if I drive, what's the gas mileage?

The Prius Prime makes it easy

2 weeks before we got to DC, my daughter saw this cherry tree in full bloom
But when I had the chance to drive a Toyota Prius Prime for a week, it was easy to figure out the math. The plug in hybrid gets about 25 miles in pure electric power, and over 60 miles per gallon with the gas engine. We were taking a trip to my sister's remote house in Pennsylvania, (40 minutes roundtrip for her to pick us up at the train station, and another 40 minutes to drop us off, if we drove) then on to Washington, DC. So we could charge the car up at my sister's house, then charge it in DC. And for the longer periods in the car, we would use a teensy, tiny bit of gas.

The incredible kale salad at Zaytinya - going green
In fact, my sister also drives a Prius, an older model that gets 'just' 40 miles per gallon. So driving around with her would use a lot fewer fossil fuels in the new Toyota. We drove to the new house she is building, and made it there and back on electric power.

Worried about climate change? Save gas

Zaytinya's fantastic hommus (their spelling)
One of the reasons I like to drive an electric vehicle is I worry about global warming. We had planned our trip around seeing the cherry blossoms in Washington, but with climate change, the peak occurred  weeks before normal and we missed the blossoms.

The upside was that in early spring, we were able to eat outside. DC really embraces outdoor dining, and we found sidewalk cafes everywhere.

It can be difficult to snag a table at Zaytinya, but the outdoor seating area nearly doubles the capacity. We had a vegetarian feast of small plates. Some of the dishes were: kale with smoked olives, crispy Brussels spouts, seared Halloumi cheese with dates, pomegranate, orange and mint, and beets with fennel. We had to have the creamy hommus. There was a never ending bowl of warm, freshly made pita. 

Note: Toyota loaned me the Prius Prime for a test drive. Opinions expressed are my own. 

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