Driving the Druid to Distraction

In my paid employment, I have to drive places. Now, I can hear all the cries of “a Druid should walk, bicycle or at least use public transport”. But that’s not feasible in the work I do, and the work I do keeps the lights on – and probably the computer you’re reading this on, so you have to shoulder some of the blame too! And now, it’s time to choose a new car. No choice here, it has to be a new car, it has to be large enough to carry all my technical equipment, and it has to be reasonably comfortable if I’m to do the miles I have to do, and it’s leased over three years. In Druid terms, I’m obviously aware of environmental impact. As a Druid who rides a ruddy great big motorbike in his spare time, I’m also aware that everything is a compromise, negotiated between need and want in the face of ones conscious and in the face of the sentient landscape that watches and witnesses. There’s that pragmatic bone again.

So, my last two cars have both been Toyota Prius’s, or Prii if you prefer. And yes, I’m leaving myself open to a huge amount of derision and condemnation from folk who’ve read somewhere about how environmentally unfriendly they are, how the batteries are the cause of pollution, how the shipping of parts back and forth add to their impact. Fire away. But in terms of operating CO2e and fuel economy they’re supposed to be the dogs whatsits. Ah, if  ’twere true. I’m a sad old git (got in first) and I have spreadsheeted my fuel in all the cars I’ve owned in the past decade. I know precisely what the mpg is for my Prii, and I’m not relying on the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the trip computer.

The second generation Prius was supposed to to offer 65mpg and the CO2 was 104g/km. It returned over 60,000 miles… 50.3mpg (English miles, English gallons).

Prius 2G mpg
Prius 2G mpg

The third generation was of course far superior. Offering 72mpg and with a CO2 of 98g/km, it returned over a similar distance… 50.7mpg!

Prius 3G mpg
Prius 3G mpg

So… surely there are cars out there that offer better than that. My mate’s BMW 320D ED is allegedly offering 65mpg and has a CO2 figure of 109g/km. Should I get a BMW? Could I bring myself to be a BMW driver? 😉 The other option I’m looking at is the Mercedes C220 CDI BlueEfficiency which advertises 69mpg and 109g/km CO2.

Interesting, isn’t it, to see the winter / summer cycle on both cars. It’s reflected in other cars I’ve had, and shows the extra demand in the cold and wet weather of the heaters, lights and demisters. Something else you can see quite clearly is the diminishing return after the first year of the 3G. That, I believe, reflects the new leasing companies refusal to fit low traction tyres after the first tyres were worn out. I reckon they cost me five miles per gallon at least. I have to factor that in too.

I’m thinking out loud, really. You’ll all have opinions. So for now, I’m interested in folk who drive 320d ED’s and C220 CDI BlueEfficiency (and indeed, latest generation Prii. Let me know what you think of your cars and why. I have a huge list of possibilities. There are other issues, including the tax efficiency of the Prius, no matter how inappropriately skewed. The BIK taxable benefit at 40% tax rate of the Prius is half that of the Merc or the Beemer. In many ways I’d far rather they just gave us all the choice of one or two vehicles… take that ethical judgement away from me…

Now… what colour? 🙂

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