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Fun to drive vs Greenness

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by apostasy10, Feb 26, 2012.

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  1. apostasy10

    apostasy10 Junior Member

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    I've always been concerned about global warming. For the past decade or so I've felt guilty about driving. That seems to have been alleviate alot by having bought a prius almost 5 years ago (I bought a used 2004). Prius are undoubtly the greenest, cleanest cars outside of electrics. But I've also always loved driving stick shift cars, and owned a VW Jetta before I bought my prius. Although I was thoroughly impressed with toyota's hybrid technology and the fantastic gas mileage, after 5 years I really miss the fun of driving the understated sportiness of a Volkswagen manual. I just want something fun to drive.

    My wife has agreed to drive my prius and trade in her honda so i can get a newish volkswagen diesel, which are definitely fun to drive. And although they're a little better on carbon emmission then regular non-hybrid cars, they aren't as clean as the mpg-leading Prius. I've done the research and I'll easily get 44-48 mpg in the model I'm looking at (a 2011-12 VW Golf TDI) but diesel fuel contains more carbon, so in terms of carbon emissions, I'm really emitting about 80% equivalent (~35-38 mpg) of a "gasser" according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. There's also a diesel particulate called "black carbon" that scientists are now believing might be responsible for raising temperatures more quickly than CO2 (although it is destroyed much more quickly: around 50 years as opposed to the hundreds of thousands years it take CO2 to breakdown). I used to feel guilty take long trips in my pre-prius vehicles (eg an hour to my sister's, 1.5 hours to my mom's), I dont want to be feeling guilty after starting a new car payment.

    So I guess my question is: how do my fellow tree-huggers reconcile the need for something fun to drive with the desire to drive the greenest vehicle possible?
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    I have fun with the electronics, I take time to drive fun routes with the woman I love. (Charleston SC via Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway, Dallas TX via the Talimena Scenic Drive, Minneapolis via the Ozarks and Crowley's Ridge Parkway)

    The Prius is my first Automatic since 1971, they have come a long way. I currently drive a straight, flat 'commute'. Shifting would not make it more fun.

    Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, motorcycle and sport car two lane tourism serving Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner28, Devils Triangle, and Six Gap North Georgia.
    Cherohala Skyway
    Talimena Scenic Drive
    Crowley's Ridge Parkway

    The handling of the 2004 will improve with a stiffening plate.
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/?_nkw=prius g7&clk_rvr_id=318842981790
  3. wxman

    wxman Member

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    That's a non-issue with the current crop of clean diesels. Based on many studies, diesels with particle filters (DPF) totally eliminate BC (soot).
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  4. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    I would suggest looking at your drive patterns. If appropriate, test drive a PiP, Leaf, and Volt.
    I have never experience more fun in driving that the 100% available torque the moment you step on the accelerator.
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  5. apostasy10

    apostasy10 Junior Member

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    Thank you wxman. I did a little more research:

    How does clean diesel technology reduce black carbon?
    Thanks to the use of ultra‐low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel, more efficient engines and more effective emissions control
    technologies, new U.S. clean diesel trucks and buses have significantly lower particulate matter emissions and 99
    percent less black carbon emissions than those manufactured before 2004.xiv Today’s new diesel cars and trucks all have
    advanced filters that trap particulate matter.

    source: Diesel Technology Forum: Home Page
  6. drinnovation

    drinnovation EREV for EVER!

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    I reconciled by buying a Volt, and pay for wind-power. (And am working toward a community solar garden but that might take 2 years). My commute is 35miles a day and its all EV that is wind power.

    While its not a stick, I still do lots of down shifting (for regen) and the power on take off is great.

    If your commute is short the Plug in Prius might do, though it lack the strong EV acceleration. If our commute is within range (70m or so) the Leaf may be an even better choice since you'll still have a Prius at home for the long trips.
  7. apostasy10

    apostasy10 Junior Member

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    drinnovation - impressive. Yea, I thought about the leaf, but it's more than I want to pay right now. I'll probably buy a used one in a few years.
  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Why are you posting this question? You're wasting electricity to try and assuage your guilt. ;)

    I have a Prius and I enjoy driving it, but we think nothing of driving over 100 miles round trip just to eat at a restaurant. That means we burn 2 gallons of gasoline in order to have fun.

    But, thinking in reverse, we're about as efficient as we can get while having our fun. And we don't do it every day.

    If fun for you is driving a diesel instead of a Prius, have some fun, just make it an efficient diesel and don't go crazy with the fun. Driving a diesel efficiently is like driving a hybrid: keep off the power and you'll be rewarded.

    I'd suggest you wait until 2013 but with prices likely to increase your wallet might not like waiting to see whether the Cruze diesel would be better. (Your wallet also might not like the repair bills on the VW. I wish you no bad luck.)
  9. bernard 2012 c

    bernard 2012 c New Member

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    Currently have a VW GTI. Great fun to drive. Lots of instant torque. But I will never buy another VW. Its been towed twice to the dealer, with several other dealer visits for SRS lights, etc. Once the warranty is up ( which VW recently reduced to 3/36), it's gone. Unreliability is not worth it. My 2005 MR2 spyder with 12k miles is plenty of fun.
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i have fun in the no carbon footprint parts of my life and try to keep the vehicle to basic transportation. i suppose it's not for everyone tho. driving has just never been that big a thrill for me.
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  11. apostasy10

    apostasy10 Junior Member

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    Is your GTI a diesel? (I'm assuming it's a MK6, which had that option apparently.) Yea, I guess VW isn't the best for reliability, and I think their electric systmes aren't that great, but I love their style and handling. I guess buying a TDI is like you have a spyder and a green car all in one.
  12. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Re: Global Warming fixes- There is a new proposal, that I tend to agree with, that maybe we need to focus more on the particulates and methane issues, rather than CO2 which is too hard to stop. It certainly seems plausible to me particulates may be causing some of the ice losses in the glaciers.

    Re: Cars - so for me you need to focus on fuel conservation such as Prius. I am not an EVangelist, but when you say Leaf is expensive be sure to check out your Fed + State discounts up to $13500 for an EV and then electron fill-ups are cheap.
  13. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

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    Buy something extra and fun for the days you want it. Remember how much fun stick shifts are to drive on the open road... Now remember how much open road you drive on every day... now remember how much fun stick shifts are to drive in bumper to bumper traffic... :(

    I have many cars, with one my favourite non-Prius cars being a stick shift. I drive it some times and it is a blast. But driving the Prius is better most of the time. If I had to drive it everyday, it would not be fun unless I could somehow manage to get everyone else off of the roads.

    If you drive 300mi/week, and 280 of those are at 50mpg, and 20 are at 15mpg, you have an effective mpg of ((280*50)+(20*15))/300 = 47.66mpg.

    Better than driving anything else out there. And I guarantee you that the fun cars aren't VW diesels, and they won't be getting 40+mpg. My most fun, fun car gets between 8mpg and 12mpg in the city. But it is driven so rarely it hardly makes a dent. I would rather drive it every now and then instead of something less sporty all the time with nothing more fun.
  14. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    for me fun to drive is in handling on curvy roads, not in shifting and acceleration. With some current suspension mods and others coming in future, Prius can be fun on country back roads. Not modified Miata type of fun, but still never the less.
  15. seftonm

    seftonm Member

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    So many fun activities or things we do in daily life are un-green. I may not drive the greenest vehicle, but it's still greener than most. To get something I enjoy, I am willing to give up a little greenness. I also enjoy un-green things such as being an omnivore, watersports behind a gasoline powered boat, and road trips. I don't like giving up what I like doing. But I will make an effort to do things that I enjoy in a cleaner and more efficient way.
  16. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I, too, was a stick-shift man. I drove a manual-transmission Honda Civic Wagon, and I loved it. Not a lot of power, but I liked the handling. I traded it in 15 years later because I wanted the latest safety features (air bags, ABS, VSC). The Prius was more powerful, but had softer handling, and of course no transmission. I enjoyed the gadgetry, the technology, the fuel efficiency, and the low-pollution rating. But it was never "fun" to drive, the way the stick-shift Honda was.

    But the most fun thing about the Prius was when it wen electric.

    So I bought the Zap Xebra. No power at all, max speed of 35 on level ground (faster downhill). But that car was FUN to drive! No shifting. It just had a rotary switch with F, R, and N. But so much fun!!! So eventually I got the Tesla. Still no shifting, but mind-blowing torque, and amazing handling on curvy roads. In the Prius I felt guilty about burning a gallon of gas to drive to Coeur d'Alene and back, but not so in the Tesla, charged from hydroelectric power. And it's even more fun in the summer with the top off, or with the (aftermarket) mesh top, which is sort of a hybrid between cloth top and no top.

    So that's how I combine fun to drive with green. Sure, the Xebra required compromises, and the Tesla was expensive, but we choose our own priorities.
  17. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) Aspiring Hypocommuter.

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    The TDI is a LOT more fun to drive than a G3....but I think that the G3 is a lot more fun to own. ---just sayin.

    I'm not the biggest fan of the G3's handling, but it's not a chore to drive one either. If you've got to have fun to drive, get a motorcycle or a "toy" car and use that vehicle for when you want "fun" which should be very little of your total driving. With the money that you're saving in gas (or repair bills in the case of the TDI) you can get all kinds of toys.

    That's the kinda green living that even AGW agnostics can dig! ;)
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