We Have Drunk Deeply From the Hybrid Kool Aid Again

Some of you will remember my undying love and passion for hybrid cars. I think they are very very cool machines, represent an incredible technology, and are a real and tangible way to save the planet and win the war on terror.

If those claims sound like overly dramatic to you, you can read this to at least understand my reasoning. You may or may not agree with me. And I realize that some folks think the whole hybrid-thing is a bit of a scam. I get that.

But you’re talking to a hybrid evangelist here. And so it probably will not surprise you to hear that when we bought a new car this week it was another hybrid.

We got the Toyota Highland Hybrid, one of the three main hybrids that Toyata’s been hawking the past few years. Got it at Toyota of Dallas the other night.

Here’s a little video I just put together:

Click here if you can’t see the player.

Ever since we got our Prius in 2004, we’ve been pretty confident that this would be our next car, to replace the Jeep. We bought the Jeep used, back in 1999, after Dennise had her bad car accident. She felt like she needed a larger vehicle, and it suited us well for low these many years.

The Jeep’s been paid off for some time, and the Prius got paid off earlier this year, so it dawned on us that we could probably afford the payment.

We’re definitely looking forward to the gas savings. I’ve got it figured that we’ll save $80-100 bucks a month in gas, at current prices. That helps mitigate some of the sticker shock.

We estimate we’ve already saved upwards of $13,000 in gas by driving the Prius these past few years. (For the math on this, go here). Obviously, you’re talking much less total saving in the much larger Highlander. Still, $80 bucks a month is nothing to sneeze at.

And, as I wrote before, we like the idea of supporting the Hybrid technology with our dollars, and thereby encouraging the development of increasingly more environmentally friendly cars. Remember, it’s not just about saving money on gas, it’s also about driving cars that emit fewer and fewer CFCs.

So, we’ve got a new car. It’s the fanciest car we’ve ever known, probably by a factor of two. Right now, it’s kinda like driving a rental…we’re being very careful, and sort of imagining that somebody’s gonna take it away.

Trust me, after being in the Jeep –with no FM radio (forget about CD!) a crumbling interior and paint job, and upwards of 150 K miles– this new car feels like a Rolls to us.

If you get the chance, hope you’ll consider getting a Hybrid. And if you want, we’d be happy to take you for a spin.

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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...)

4 thoughts on “We Have Drunk Deeply From the Hybrid Kool Aid Again

  1. eric, congrats. i have at the top of my dream list a hopefully-not-forgotten-by-the-bankruptcy-of-gm clean diesel truck. i am a pretty big fan of the vw jetta tdi, although i would scarcely fit into it! i know many folk have concerns about the batteries of hybrids. enjoy the new ride!

  2. Hey Frank:I know you didn't mean this personally, but…I am really, really, REALLY tired of hearing the chicken littles talk about the batteries. There will be a fix to this, mark my word. And if there's not, it will be the worst PR disaster in Toyota history, and turn what is one of their greatest successes into their greatest failures.They will figure out the issue with the batteries.The battery naysayers remind me very much of the Apple naysayers, who have been telling me for 30 years not to buy Macs because Apple was about to go out of business, or because you couldn't get software, blah, blah, blah….Good companies find a way to fix their potential problems. This battery issue will get fixed. Mark my word. It's a red herring.

  3. eric, this is a strange response to a sort of throw away comment. i was not expressing a concern for the batteries, just that i had heard it expressed by others. still, you obviously are an environmentally-friendly guy, as you mentioned emmissions reductions in addition to fuel savings. you say, "they will figure out the issue with the batteries," and "good companies find a way to fix pitential problems," which implies that you agree that there is at least "an issue." so is it fair to call it a "red herring"?

  4. I'm just tired of hearing from all the Hybrid naysayers. I realize now that your comment was probably throw away, and that's why I tried to say my response really wasn't about you.At the point I wrote that, I had probably heard from three or four friends in the previous day, all saying that they'd consider Hybrids, except for these fears they have about the batteries. So, sorry for being testy.My view is that it will take some innovative technologies to get us off dead center and I think the Hybrid technology has been one of the best in many many years. Yes, there will be environmental costs to almost all technologies that are new an innovative. But we should be trying them, developing them, and spending our money to buy them, in order to create even newer and more innovative technology (and jobs) in the future.There are all sort of anti-hybrid nuts out there, who make all sort of outrageous claims…including that, if you can believe it, that a Hummer is more environmentally friendly than a Prius!!!! Just goofy stuff. I just get sick of hearing the naysayers. As I said, it had nothing to do with you.I did find this interesting story on Hybrid batteries at hybridcars.com:http://www.hybridcars.com/battery-toxicity.htmlIt indicates that Toyota and Honda *do* have battery recycling plans in place. And, as it points out, at this point, regular car batteries are still far more of an environmental threat than hybrid batteries.Sorry again for being testy.

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