With so many sporty attractive smaller vehicles on the market, the first step to better fuel efficiency and saving money is simply downsizing the vehicle. There are more and more options now for fuel efficiency, alternative fuel use and hybrids. Some of the following types of vehicles have been seen around the Island:
Stop-Starts: This vehicle does not use gasoline while stopped, cutting back about 10% use of fuel.
Diesel: The new generation of diesel vehicles has lower emissions with higher efficiency.
Plug-In Hybrids: This vehicle offers 100 plus miles per gallon that can be plugged into the electric grid.
Smart Car: This tiny, zippy car is great for the environment with very low CO2 emissions.
Global Electric Motor (GEM) Electric Locally owned business, this vehicle is manufactured in Fargo, North Dakota, is 100% electric with no emissions.
Hybrid: The most fuel efficient car on the road, the Toyota Prius, is the gas-electric hybrid that is more common to see on the road. But there are also other models, such as the Lexus hybrid version, the RX 450h, seen driven by a City staffer.
Mike Harris, owner of GEM of Marco Island, was the first to pull into the new City Hall parking space with his one of his six models of electric cars. He stated that the GEMs have a 30 mile driving range which makes it an ideal community vehicle. Costing about two cents a mile to run, it is an effective way to be environmentally sensitive and easy on the pocketbook. For a look at the different models of Mr. Harris’ GEM cars, drive by City Hall – he is rotating parking the different models and colors offered through his business.
Resident, Charlette Roman, a naturalist and long time advocate for the Tigertail Beach and Sand Dollar wildlife, has had a very positive experience with her hybrid, stating, “The Prius is like no other car I’ve owned. I can drive three friends with all four bags of golf clubs, make less impact on the environment, and most importantly I’m doubling my gas mileage from my previous car (a Chrysler Sebring convertible)!” Comfort and pleasure is not given up for cost savings and protecting the environment.
Not surprisingly, Nicole Ryan of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Inc., also tried out the new space. The Conservancy has both the Toyota Prius and the Lexus RX 45h, that are enjoyed by their staff as they travel all over southwest Florida. The Conservancy does not just “talk the talk”, but apparently are “driving” it as well!
Witnessing the devastating oil spill impact to the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding coasts, with the amount of fuel used by gasoline-only vehicles and the carbon emissions they produce, deciding on an alternative energy or hybrid vehicle for your next ride around town is the way to go to save dollars and prevent pollution. And, now, you will get front row parking at City Hall!