Yes, I knew it was only a matter of time.
Chloé has now replaced Watts, my wonderful little 2006 Prius.
Watts had less than 29,000 miles on him when he was traded in today. He averaged about 46.5 miles per gallon. This means that Watts burned about 624 gallons of gasoline during his time with me—far less than the vast majority of cars. Over that time, driving Watts, with a very roughly estimated $3.25 price per gallon of gas*, I have given the oil industry about $2,028. By my best and admittedly crude calculations, this is at least 5 times less than what the average American gave to the oil industry during that same time—well over $10,000!**
Chloé is a Leaf.
I chose the name Chloé***, because it stems (no pun intended) from chlorophyl, as in photosynthesis, as in leaf, as in has an energy capture rate of approximately 100 terawatts—which means that plants capture about 6 times more power from the sun than all of power consumed by human civilization****.
Even though Chloe is primarily a popular given name for girls in England, I chose the French spelling of the name: Chloé, as a deliberate jab at George W. Bush (remember the “Freedom Fries” bozo) and his dear friends and immediate family, with their well-documented deep ties to the oil industry and the middle eastern oil sheiks, including the immediate family of Osama bin Laden.
Chloé does not run on oil at all. Chloé doesn’t even have a tailpipe. Chloé never needs an oil change because it has no engine. Driving Chloé will not give the oil industry one thin dime. Chloé will contribute to better air quality in the LA area with tremendously reduced carbon emissions.
I am elated!
Chloé was made in Tennessee, creating jobs in the USA. Chloé runs on electricity, sustaining jobs in the USA, jobs that the corporate elite in America can not outsource to foreign countries.
Chloé is not my sole means of transportation***** as it only has a 100 mile range per charge, but it should certainly be adequate for all of the in town traveling this family does in the LA area. I’ll keep you posted on the advantages and limitations of EV (electric vehicle) ownership as I experience them over the next several years.
The first thing that I noticed that totally rocked my world: after establishing a bluetooth connection to my iPhone, Chloé began streaming music from my phone with no wires attached to anything. Jeeze! Bluetooth streaming! Awesome!! More later.
My next exploration will be solar energy. Driving on sunshine just makes a whole lot of sense to me!
* based on this chart, I averaged $2.86 (average US price per gallon in September, 2006) with $3.62 (average US price per gallon in September, 2011) and rounded up 1 cent for ease of calculation—not 100% statistically sound, but in the ballpark
** The average American drives around 15,000 miles per year. Over the 6 years I drove Watts, that would be 90,000 miles for the typical American household. If all of the cars on our roads were new cars bought in the last 6 years (certainly they are not), they would average less than 27.5 mpg according to their stickers’ fuel efficiency rating (which we all know overstates fuel efficiency). With an average $3.25 price per gallon of gas, the typical American family would have given the oil industry probably significantly more than a whopping $10,636!
*** from the Greek χλόη (khlóē), meaning “young green shoot”
**** source: Photosynthesis
***** You will recall the recent purchase of Monica, the hybrid Lexus. Again, the focus is on minimizing the carbon footprint and minimizing the contribution to the most profitable and one of the most dangerous (read: source of warfare, terrorism, and environmental destruction) industries on earth: oil. [Does the Republican party really want another Texan in the White House, so close to the Bush debacle?! But, certainly, in this country, the oil industry gets what the oil industry wants!]