How to Save $13,636 While Driving 100,000 Miles

Did I get your attention with that headline?

Hope so.

Because I’m not kidding, and I’ve done the math to prove it. I am about to tell you how Dennise and I saved $13,636 by driving 100,000 miles.

Let me raise the stakes.

Driving that same 100,000 miles, we also reduced dangerous greenhouse gases by 78,875 pounds, roughly the equivalent of a highly polluting car’s five-year output.

“Wait,” you say, “there must be catch. This is like one of those commercials on late-night TV, right? Nobody gives you money for driving a car. Nobody saves greenhouse gases by driving that much.”

Ah, dear reader, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Because you see, there’s a very simple answer to how it’s very, very possible…possible for just about anyone, really.

The answer is this: You can drive 100,000 miles, save $13,636, and eliminate the greenhouse gases equivalent to the average car all by doing one simple thing:

Drive a Toyota Prius.

Longtime readers will recall my love for Hybrids, and my love for the Prius. I wrote this entry some years back, imploring everyone to consider getting a Hybrid.

As we drove home from breakfast with my parents at Cindi’s this morning, a funny thing happened to our Prius’ odometer. We rounded the corner of the block, down by the creek, and up popped this:


So, that gave me pause. I asked myself a variation of that same simple question I asked in my original blog about Hybrids a few years back:

If we had another Jeep, instead of our Hybrid, how much more would it be costing us to go that 100,000 miles?

The answer –again, averaged out– is that it would cost $13, 636 more!!!

Here’s how I get that number….

We start with what has, more or less, remained our real-life working averages for some years.**

The Prius gets about 45 miles/gallon. (Dennise get a little more than this…me a little less…it’s an average…)

The Jeep Cherokee we own gets about 12.5 miles/gallon. (Pretty pitiful…mostly my driving…)

Using those real numbers from our real experience, the Prius has used: 2,222 gallons of gas to go 100,000 miles.

To go the same distance the Jeep would have used: 8,000 gallons of gas.

For a difference of a whopping 5,778 gallons of gas!!!

Then I went online and found average gas prices since January 2003. If you take the weekly average since that time, gas has cost $ 2.36.
(BTW…..doesn’t this seem low to you?)

That means we saved $ 13,636 dollars!

That’s the good news. The depressing news is that that means we could have bought gas for two more Prius’ with what we’ll spend to go 100,000 miles in the Jeep!!!


The gas calculation is based on our real-life experience. Since I have no real-life experience with the cost of greenhouse gasses, my assertion about them comes from a cool little widget at The widget allows you to compare any make and model car to any make and model Hybrid, and see the savings in gas, money, and pollutants.

The per-year numbers may be easier to get your head around…

Per year, a Jeep puts out: 23,929 pounds of greenhouse gasses.
Per year,
a Prius puts out: 8,154 pounds of greenhouse gasses.

Another calculation, hydrocarbons (read: plain old smog) factors out this way per year:
A Jeep: 23 pounds
A Prius: 10 pounds

The final point to make. Besides the savings of thousands of dollars in gasoline, and the elimination of whole cars-worth of smog from the air, there is one final crucial reason to buy a Hybrid: Fighting the war on Terror.

I’ll refer you here to a great page on that’s titled “Oil Dependence.”

Here’s the relevant part:

Let’s look at the energy security spiral resulting from our dependence on Persian Gulf oil:

1. Ensuring free access to oil forces the U.S. to maintain a military presence in the Persian Gulf. This presence costs the American taxpayer more than $50 billion per year in defense spending—and obviously a lot more during times of war.
2. The presence of the U.S. military and oil firms in these nations arouses hostility from people who reject American values or resent American wealth and power.
3. The production of oil in otherwise under-developed societies funnels vast wealth to a few, leaving the rest behind in poverty, undermining the stability of those nations and arousing more hatred in their people.
4. Oil money from the West—that means the cash you fork over at the pumps—fills the coffers of terrorist organizations to pursue a program of anti-American violence. 911 is just one example. (Oil money enables Saudi Arabia to invest approximately 40% of its income on weapons procurement.)
5. Pipelines, tankers and oil rigs become critical and very vulnerable targets for terrorists trying to bring the international economy to a standstill, by diminishing the supply of oil.
6. Both the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Agency of the U.S. Department of Energy currently project a steady increase in world demand for oil through at least 2020. This means further enrichment of the oil-producing countries, continued funding to terrorist groups, sustained lethal threats to the U.S. and its allies, and fluctuating oil supply lines.

As long as we remain (and grow even more) dependent, this cycle of energy insecurity—oil and blood and oil and blood—will continue.

Buying a Hybrid is a very significant, and very real way, you can personally fight the war on terror, and help win it, in a way that military-might can never do. I mean this as literally as I can. Most Americans have not been asked to sacrifice in this war (something that continues to astound me) and as you’ll note from the underline portions above,
the money we pay for our gas can help to finance terrorism. This is something we all can do.

So, enough with the preaching. Enough with the facts.

Time for the only question left.

Given that there are now Hybrid SUVs, trucks, sedans, and luxury cars from almost every known manufacturer….

What are you waiting for?

** I recognize that many people get vastly different averages than this. This is our real-life experience.


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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