Now on to more important things, like our environment. As everyone knows, Todd is an environmental scientist, so we are very aware of environmental issues. I've also never made it a secret that one of the reasons I am nervous about having kids is the future of our environment and world. I don't want to subject them potential resource shortages all because our current population did not treat the environment properly. That said, we are always looking for little ways to be more green - we recycle, we use environmentally-friendly cleaning products when possible, we try to buy products that are renewable like our bamboo flooring, etc.
That said, there are lots of ways we can be better about things. One area is transportation. While our cars get fairly good gas mileage, it could be better. Also, since we both work at IU, we could car pool. The problem is that on most days we have such different schedules and get to or leave work at different times. So, we are going to try to work on coordinating better or carpooling with friends whenever possible. This past weekend we went and looked at some hybrid cars. We would like to get one as we feel we are the perfect people to have one. We do a lot of city driving because of where we live. We are pretty set on a Toyota Pirus or Honda Civic Hybrid. There are other hybrids out there, but the gas mileage isn't as good as these two cars and the safety ratings aren't as strong as these two cars. Also, the reliablity ratings for the Pirus and Civic Hybrid have been steady since 2005. For the most part, these two cars come in head to head in Consumer Reports. We also decided that we would rather buy new because the technology for hybrids has changed so much in the last three to four years that it would be best to get a new model car. Below is what we found out about buying a hybrid (in our naivety):
- Both Toyota and Honda hybrid car prices are not negotiable. There is such a high demand for these (even used models) that they will not negotiate and they tell you that up front. You pay the sticker price. Period.
- There is a wait-list for most hybrids because the demand is so high.
- If you want to get a hybrid, you have to put a down payment on the car while you wait for it to arrive.
- The value in these cars does hold well. We looked at a used 2005 Pirus that had all the bells and whistles for that year and it was still $22,395. Most 2008 models for the Pirus and Civic Hybrid run between $25k and $30k depending on what you add to the car. That isn't a bad return since cars typically depreciate more than that in three years time.
- Finally, if you want to buy a Honda hybrid in Bloomington, IN, they have none on the lot to test drive. But, you can give them a non-refundable $500 deposit to put you on the call list to test drive when they do get one in (maybe within 3 months) and you get first bid at purchasing the car. I am not sure if the same is true for Toyotas, but apparently people do this all the time. (I was a little shocked when the sales guy said this, but he did not waiver when I asked a second and third time if he was joking.)
So, we are going to do some thinking about this before making a final decision. We do want to get one, but we want to know what we are getting first. I think we may also head to Indianapolis or some larger city where we hope to find a dealer with one on the lot we can at least test drive.