So, I began to evaluate all of these trips. I drive a great car, but there are times that I really don't need the fancy car, I just need some wheels. I was considering getting a van so that I could use it as a mobile billboard, but they get horrible gas mileage and that defeats the purpose of saving money. So I decided to start looking into what vehicles are the most fuel efficient. If you are not looking at a vehicle that is practical, but one that is purely built to get great gas mileage, the Honda Insight is hands down the winner. They offer a manual transmission hybrid that gets 66MPG on the highway. But, there is a group that offers a kit to increast that to over 80MPG and some guys have tweaked it to do better than 100MPG (primarily in the city as that is where the battery system is best). Okay, so I am not counting on 100 but I would love 80MPG! That little trip last week would have cost me $5!!! My $7 daily commute would be reduced to to something like $1.75.
I am not a tree hugger, but I am in favor of things that can improve the environment. I don't think that petroleum products are evil, but if I can save some money by using less then I am all in favor of it. I don't think that the government should mandate vehicles having certain efficiencies, but I certainly think that those that do should be available for public purchase. I want one of these terrific fuel efficient cars because I want to save money!
The key to this ultimate efficiency is first adding a kit called a MIMA which allows me ot override the computer system on the Insight and make it work a little smarter. The second step is a better battery and plugging the system in at night. That little piece can set you back another $12k, don't see myself going that route for a while. But, I might add a few deep dwell marine batteries and see if I can goose a little more out of it that way.
So that is the plan for 2006. I am going to find a good used Insight and have fun calculating how far I can go on a tank. I could drive from Key West to Ancorage for under $130. I could retrace the route for the famous (to me) Gumball Rally from New York City to Los Angles (actually the parking lot of the Queen Mary in Long Beach) for only $70. That is truly amazing to me, coast to coast for under $100. At those prices I can't even get worried about gas if it gest up to $3 again (or $6 like in places in Europe).
So, where would you drive if you could do it for almost free?