alternative fuel

BMW X1 vs Lexus NX Hybrid
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to

Family oriented compact utility vehicles are the hottest segment of the industry now with the emphasis on compact. The BMW X1 xDrive 28i and Lexus NX hybrid fit this description well with both falling in the $40,000 plus range when well equipped and offering seating for five. The main difference between the two in terms of driving is that the X1 has a sports car feel to it and the Lexus offers a more cushy ride. The NX gets superior fuel mileage the BMW offers more fun for those miles. One caveat and that the theses two are not as spacious as their big brothers, the BMW X3 and Lexus RX, but cost thousands less.


As vehicle manufactures move to find better ways to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), four-cylinder are becoming more popular as they offer more efficiency with nearly the same performance. Both of these vehicles have these engines although our Lexus NX was a hybrid with additional electric power that adds nearly $5000 to the price, but has more features as well as averaging nearly 32 miles per gallon in daily driving. What sets them apart is everything else. The Lexus is more refined, quieter, and has a more upscale interior. The BMW is sportier, friskier, and handles better.

Mother’s view: The BMW X1 xDrive28i was more rough and ready. The interior noise was significant with the optional run-flat tires, but it was quite agile and simple to park. The Lexus was a bit more portly, but the interior was nicer. Both cars have nearly identical interior space with the X1 getting a slight nod for room. The BMW X1 comes standard with stability and traction control, airbags nearly everywhere, an emergency communication system and more. Make sure to order such options as frontal collision warning and lane departure warnings among other life saving devises. The Lexus offers similar safety features and has excellent crash safety ratings. My choice would be the NX for its nicer interior although the BMW’s navigation and axillary controls were easier for me to master.

Dad’s view: The BMW X1 comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated at 228 horsepower and uses an eight-speed automatic transmission with a standard all-wheel-drive system. The engine is noisy, but productive and I could get 30 mpg in highway driving. The Lexus hybrid gets even better mileage from its 2.5 liter engine with hybrid boost. There are enough option packages for both vehicles to muddle the differences between wants and needs. I would strongly suggest you do your homework once you have narrowed down your choice as options can quickly add $10,000 to the bottom line. My selection would be the Lexus NX hybrid for daily use, but if you enjoy a vehicle that handles the BMW ranks just below a Porsche in fun per mile.

Working woman’s view: The BMW has some nice standard features such as a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, BMW’s iDrive interface with a touchpad controller, 6.5-inch screen, navigation, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, HD radio, CD player and a USB input. The Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, hands-free control for the power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding mirrors, four-way power lumbar for the front seats and interior ambient lighting. The Technology package offers BMW’s integrated smartphone apps, navigation and an upgraded 8.8-inch display screen. The NX has similar standard features with a larger display screen and a rearview camera. Lexus options include wireless phone charging, navigation with a touchpad controller, voice recognition, a 10-speaker audio system, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning. You can also add the Lexus Enform Remote that allows you to control certain vehicle functions from your smartphone. My choice is the Lexus NX, but not the hybrid version. I don’t drive enough to justify the additional cost of the hybrid. One kudo for the BMW was its smaller turning radius making it easier to maneuver, a larger cargo area and its maintenance free four years or 50,000 mile program.

Young working man’s view: Both vehicles are loaded with electronic goodies such as the BMW iDrive with an integrated touchpad on the main control that lets you draw number inputs and has to be experienced. Lexus Enform remote is handy. The Lexus is fairly quick off the line when its two electric motors kick-in. Both the BMW’s and NX engines shut down at stop lights or when stuck in traffic to save fuel. The NX’s regenerative brakes can be a bit abrupt whereas the X1’s were excellent. The Lexus NX is very car and handles well and is comfortable. The BMW is just plain fun all the time.

Family conference: These two vehicles offer buyers an interesting choice based on their driving habits. The BMW is athletic and never lets you forget that. The optional run-flat tires provoke a lot of road noise and the energetic engine can be raucous. On the other hand the X1 gets excellent fuel mileage and has superior handling and braking. The NX has a distinctive exterior that may be off-putting and gets exceptional gas mileage and provides a cushy ride. With the new Porsche four-cylinder Macan coming to market priced nearly identical this is going to be an even tougher choice.

Using vehicles to create student interest in math and Language Arts
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

Using vehicles is an excellent way to motivate students and to help ready them for real life buying decisions. The following links deal with the various manufactures where students can write for information, obtain pricing information and to harvest compare and contrast data for Common Core related essays.

A listing of all DMV offices.
Finding the office that deals with your state and others can provide information on how old one needs to be to drive as well as the various license fee data that could be used for Common Core math problems. I have used driver manuals to motivate students to read.

Data on fuel economy
This federal site would enable students to select a variety of vehicles and there fuel mileage. This could be used for math as well as to provide statistics for an essay on the best or worst type of vehicles in terms of fuel costs.

A link site to manufacturers who sell cars in America

A listing of vehicle websites worldwide

National Motorists Association
A great source of information on driving and the law.

A listing of car value prices
A good place to find statistics for math problems about the prices of cars and motorcycles.

Where cars are made by location
Great way to teach geography.

Last Year for Prius Plug-In; Hopefully not Forever
The Car Family

Good-Bye Old Friend

Good-Bye Old Friend

Toyota is making some bold moves lately, and we aren’t talking about pulling up stakes in California and moving to Texas, but it ending production of its much loved, but pricey, Prius Plug-In. The 2015 will be the last year for this model as Toyota looks to rethink, redesign, and reimagine what The Car Family believes was the best commuter car you could buy. Period.

To give you an example of what the model provided, it got a real world, daily use, mixed driving use, multiple driver use, 67 mpg average. The electric bill was only $4 extra a month using the off-peak hours feature. And, in some states the Plug-In was eligible for the coveted high occupancy permit saving an average of ten to twenty minutes of travel time on a typical commute. Add to that the high resale value, about 60 percent after three years, the exceptional cargo capacity, ease of loading, and ability to be parked in the smallest of spaces and you have a winner.

That being said, Toyota is facing more competition and is apparently rethinking the extra engineering and cost of a plug-in version to the insanely popular Prius. The cost of this option has already placed the plug-in over $5000 of the price of a Camry hybrid, although the Camry didn’t have the plug-in feature.

We shall miss what Plug-in owners affectionately call the PIP, and wonder how many potential buyers were opt for a non-Toyota product to replace it. One thing for sure, Toyota has weighed that decision well and is apparently willing to gamble that a new, improved version may attract PIP owners back into the fold in a few years. Stay tuned.

Nissan Pathfinder: Affable and Affordable
The Car Family
for more reviews go to

Sometimes a car simply amazes you and that is the way it was with the new Pathfinder. Nissan has made this seven passenger SUV into a well mannered, fun, and versatile vehicle capable of handling most any terrain and with enough options to satisfy any taste. Perhaps, best of all, the Pathfinder starts around $30,000 (US). In other words Nissan has priced the this gentle giant under the cost of many mid-sized sedans.

The Pathfinder is a radical departure from older generations and provides ample evidence that Nissan knows how to produce a seven passenger SUV that can match luxury brands in quality and performance. The unibody constructed Pathfinder offers ample cargo space, an upscale interior, and spry performance. Indeed, this Nissan is a joy to drive. It has excellent acceleration, good braking, is easy to park and offers superior value. The Pathfinder is very nimble.

Visibility in all directions is among the best ever in a large SUV and the 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 gave us over 23 mpg in mixed driving and 25 on the highway. That is impressive considering its towing capacity is 5000 pounds. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) in our test vehicle was unobtrusive, quick to react and kept the engine on task. A hybrid Pathfinder is also available.
2015 Nissan Pathfinder

Mom’s view: What a surprise. This is a big SUV that drivers like a small one. It has a turning radius that enables you to quickly maneuver into tight mall parking spaces. Safetywise, Pathfinder models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags, traction and stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system. Options include a voice-activated navigation system, a 13-speaker Bose stereo and the best Around View system in the business providing a clear, 360-degree overhead view of nearby obstacles. A blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert are available on SL and up models. You can also order all wheel drive, but we found the front wheel drive enough to power through the recent snowfall without slippage.

The interior has plenty of storage spaces, but the real plus was the usefulness of the second row seats that have over five inches of travel and help make access to the third row of seats easier. I was impressed on how easy the seats folded flat enabling us to haul a six foot table with room to spare. A great place to put those bargains. The Pathfinder is available in S, SV, SL and Limited trim levels. Even the base model is well equipped with tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system, and 18-inch alloy wheels and more. Nissan has created a value oriented SUV for families that has a 19.5 fuel tank making 500 miles trips possible without refueling.

Working woman’s view: I reommend the SL version with its leather interior, power liftgate, remote start, heated front and rear seats, an electric-adjustable front passenger seat, and a digital compass as well as a 120V outlet. The center armrest is equipped with jacks for just about any devise. I would also add the Tech Package with its 13-speaker Bose stereo and a navigation system, eight-inch touchscreen, NavTraffic and NavWeather, and an around-view monitor that provides a 360-degree birds-eye view of the surrounding area. The interior is understated and quite funcitonal. I believe the information center was the easiest to use of any I have tested and the large touch screen was quick to accept inputs. There is also a DVD Family Entertainment Package that shows images on 7.0-inch screens located in the back of the front seat headrests.

Dad’s view: This is not a performance vehicle and is tuned more for economy. The results are very good, but its real pride is in its handling and ride. If you haven’t driven a vehicle with a continuously variable transmission it might take you a short time to adjust. The braking is good for its class and the government crash test scores were all above average. The seats are very comfortable and the optional heating element works quickly. I highly recommend you look into the Pathfinder hybrid which, unlike the Toyota Highlander hybrid, can be purchased in models with a minimum of extras and thus starts around $35,000. Since Nissan also produces the best selling all-electric car, the Leaf, that technology certainly helps when they created the Pathfinder hybrid and were able to package the batteries with a minimum loss of cargo space. Essentially, the Pathfinder is a family vehicle for drivers who don’t like minivans. I found this Nissan refreshing and it showed quality throughout. I kept it in front wheel drive for better fuel mileage, but the recent bad weather gave me the opportunity to try it on slick roads and it never faltered. This is the type of one-size fits all households. It is easy enough to go grocery shopping, take a weekend trip, or commute with equal aplomb.

Family conference: This is an excellent choice for 909 readers looking for a large, family oriented SUV that is enjoyable to drive, has great visibility, and an abundance of features. Clearly, Nissan has done its homework and the Pathfinder gets our most improved SUV award. It certainly deserves a test drive. As always, we highly recommend you buy from a reliable dealer.

Lexus: The NX Best Thing
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to

Angular, modern, and stuffed with electronics, Lexus has brought into the world a crossover utility vehicle that is designed for the modern family. An exclusive extended test of this newest Lexus was enough for us to note that this all new model is comforting, quiet riding, and sharp looking, both literally and figuratively. Smitten, you bet. And reinforcing that glowing feeling was the fact that the NX is probably going to be priced well under $40,000 and the hybrid about three grand more. Look for the Luxury package and shipping to add another five thousand to the total. Look for exceptional residual values.

The NX’s forte is not acceleration, although the F Sport model is a temptress within limits. The NX also lacks the cargo capacity of some competitors in its niche. What it does offer is exceptional fuel mileage, a plethora of safety features, room for five, and an interior and electronics that are worldclass.

Our evaluation was with the NX 300h, a hybrid that provided an overall fuel rating of nearly 29 mpg while running at freeway speeds and the air-conditioning working to neutralize the record heat. There are other versions as well including a turbocharged, 235 horsepower, four cylinder NX200t, a NX200t F Sport for those who need the need for more performance. The NX can be equipped with all wheel or front wheel drive depending on your needs with the six speed transmission


Mom’s view: The crossover segment is crowded with some attractive competition from the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes-Benz GLK, but in reality the NX pricing, unique attributes, and legacy are going to make it difficult to ignore for those shoppers looking for the next best thing. It does lack the interior space of some competitors. For example, the new model hasn’t much room for a purse as the center console is given over to some crafty new electronics. As in the older RX, the rear seats still recline, but the cargo space is smallish. Standard safety features include eight airbags, a backup camera, anti lock brakes and an electronic stability system. Optional parking sensors, blind spot, lane departure, and collision warning systems. The latter that can be ordered with adaptive cruise control that apply the brakes automatically in dangerous situations. If you like the exterior styling and enjoy a utility vehicle that is fun to drive safely, get in line at your Lexus dealer. This is a winner and a looker in red.

Dad’s view: The NX isn’t for those who lust after 0 to 60 mph times. This is a vehicle for those who want to brag about resale value, gas mileage, and electronics. The driver can select from Eco, Normal and Sport modes that control the acceleration of the NX. You are going to love the Sport mode as it makes the Lexus must more responsive. The NX may not be the fastest, but the fuel efficiency numbers are going to sooth those wounds with an overall average of 28 mpg for the new four cylinder turbocharged engine on premium and perhaps 30 for the hybrid, with 33 mpg a possibility in town driving. The 2.5-liter gasoline engine is paired with an electric motor to make a reported 194-hp in the hybrid. It is the slowest NX, but the most efficient. The F Sport being the stop light braggart and includes a tighter suspension and is ideal for those who drive in the mountains. We were testing the prototype and so there might be some changes, but the look and feel of the car are solid. You can expect to see these crowding the shopping malls starting later this year.

Young unemployed male’s view: So much for a degree in computers, anyway, the NX offers some trick technology that includes a touch interface that enables you to control several vehicle features including driver information, station and selection read-outs, and even traffic updates. However, the GPS map wasn’t very clear on the prototype and you can’t enter a destination when the car is in motion. The HD stereo with AM/FM, satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, and cleverly hidden USB/iPod connections among a host of other gadgets that provide clean sound. The cream is the optional wireless smartphone charger and the Enform information. With some models there are extra speakers, including a subwoofer, and streaming apps. The stereo is quite good and you can always download my music to lighten up your day at The NX is a real bargain, but the option packages might push the price above the larger RX model so shop carefully.

Young working woman’s view: This is a dramatically different Lexus designed to appeal to young families. It rides smoothly and yet is alert to critical situations and can even act for you. The interior is understated and draws raves for its quality materials. The seats are comfortable and the instruments well placed. The downside was the smallish monitor, about six inches, and poor graphics. I doubt that weakness will be on the finished model. The cabin is a bit dark and visibility to the rear is limited so the back-up camera is a strong consideration. The NX is easy to get into and provides a stellar view of the road. Mom’s right, gorgeous in red.

Family conference:
You can bet the farm that Lexus has another hit on its hands with this handier sized RX. It is very pleasant to drive, provides good visibility and safety features, and provides the owner with a sense of pride. Look for early adopters to line-up Apple Store style for this next best product.

One of the Nation’s Most  Energy Efficient Homes


by  The Car Family


Tucked into a cul de sac in Alta Loma is a Spanish style, one story family home that is unique and yet common. For the secret of this 2400 square foot home is that despite its tract house appearance the owners have taken inexpensive steps to make it one of the most energy efficient homes in Southern California with a gas bill that seldom goes above $300 a year and an electric bill that is just a tad over $400 a year and that includes charging the Prius Plug-In nightly.




Let’s start with the facts. First, the house is essentially all electric except for the gas dryer, water heater, and furnace. The back of the house has a southern exposure and is largely glass with a fairly large roof overhang. There is an oversized three car garage attached and the roof has three distinct pitches providing the interior with very high ceilings. Into this mix add a normal sized family, two large dogs, and the usual array of appliances and you have a very typical ranch style residence.



Now comes the interesting part the average gas bill is about ten dollars a month. On extremely cold months this could rise to $35, but the dual pane windows let in an abundance of southern sunlight that heats the tile floor and helps keep the home comfortable long into the night. The addition of the newer windows and doors greatly helps in keeping energy costs down. Southern California Gas and Edison both offer rebates in some cases. During the warmer summer months the roof overhang keeps the sun from shinning into the house. Helping keep the stucco exterior cool is the placement of large bushes on the southside of the house. The large attic acts to “store” the rising heat from the living areas and together make running the air conditioner a rare event. Indeed, last year it was only on twice and this year three times.





The water bill was reduced by the use of drought tolerant plants which require little maintenance, very little care, and no fertilizer. A drip system was installed, but even in hot weather watering twice a week is all that is needed. A grant to remove the grass front yard was given by the area water agency. Although some people hire professional landscapers, the yard was designed by the homeowner to reflect their desire to have a colorful, happy yard. Citrus trees on the property and a garden add to the water cost, but the drought tolerant landscaping has partially offset this and resulted in substantial savings. In addition, the home has low water use toilets and washing machine. The showers have restrictive flow features and the dish washer is never started unless it is full.



The gas bill was dramatically reduced with the tankless water heater and a two-stage furnace. Helping reduce the need for heating are ceiling fans that bring down the warmer air from the high ceiling in the house. Changing the directions of the fans in summer also helps to increase evaporation and keeps the family cooler. Energy efficient fans only cost about three tenths of one cent per hour to operate.



Electricity rates were also kept low by taking advantage of Southern California Edison’s savings plans and the installation of an upgraded SEER air-conditioner. Energy Star appliances, the use of outlet strips that can be shut off ending parasitic losses to devises that are plugged into them, and having lighting systems that use less electricity all squeeze the energy costs. Another important saver is programing the dishwater and clothes dryer to run during late hours. Interestingly, the Prius Plug-in, has a timer that enables it to start charging during off-peak hours. The addition of the Prius has raised the monthly bill for electricity by a measly $4.



There are other things that can reduce energy use that may take more time. For example, having large bushes and trees keep the sun off the house is worthwhile. The west side of the Alta Loma house is shaded by a hedge and vine. Keeping your freezer and refrigerator full and keeping the coils clean helps save running costs and using small solar entry lights can keep your entry lighted for very little cost.



One final tip, on those cold nights when the thought of going to bed unless the home is 68 or higher degrees, is not appealing, use the microwave to prepare a couple of rice heating bags. They can be tucked under the covers a few minutes before bedtime and they can easily take the chill off the bedding and retain warmth for over an hour.



Setting the programmable thermostat at 62 at night and 68 in the day in winter and a maximum in summer of 78 or 80, taking advantage of utility offerings checking your usage with an Edison account are ways you can certainly save yourself some hard earned income as well as help to save the environment.

The bottom line is that this house does not use solar panels because it is so energy efficient it does not qualify. It just uses items that  are subsidized by many energy agencies and water districts.  The energy costs of this house would save a potential buyer thousands of dollars a year so those looking to purchase a home should definitely check the utility costs before making a decision.

For free teaching resources go to




Priusization of the Nation: How Toyota Changed the World

by The Car Family

for more car reviews go to

It started fairly innocuous with Toyota’s introduction of the Prius in 2000. It was ugly, underpowered and cramped, but the technology and fuel mileage were stunning for the price. The word was that Toyota was losing money on each sale and still many took one look and walked away from the nearly $20,000 pricing. After all gas was $1,40. The Prius was ignored by the major publications because it was slow, fairly plain looking and, let’s face it, Toyota wasn’t backing it with much advertising.   Since we test vehicles from a family viewpoint we immediately made it our car of the year and sent Toyota our award, the only automobile journalists that did so.

Unsure of the potential of the Prius, Toyota only ordered 1000 units per month for the first two years and this gave wings to the company’s planners and so  in 2004 they introduced the much sleeker, for  Prius. This second generation and model was again a sales success and today the Prius is the number one seller in the number one market in the United States, California. As Sam Butto of Toyota pointed out, ” I think the name Prius was, and is, perfect for the vehicle as Prius in Latin means to go forward, suggesting it is a predecessor of cars to come. And indeed it was a fortuitous choice.


Prius becomes a Household Name

 Today, nearly 15 years later, the term Prius and the idea of the Prius has enveloped the nation. Jokes such as the movement of the space shuttle Discovery through the streets of Los Angeles at Prius speeds are understood, something that was unheard of before Toyota took the bold leap to bring mass produced family hybrids to the world.

Ferdinand Porsche, yes that Porsche, developed the first gasoline-electric hybrid in the early 1900s and diesel electric hybrid locomotives have been around for generations, but it took Toyota to take the risk of bringing to market a vehicle that by all standards was a money loser and no one outside of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace were worried too much about the environment at the time.

Perhaps an even greater hurdle was the demise of General Motors’ all electric EV-1. It had a short driving range and a shorter lifespan. The Car Family thought the EV-1 was a stellar idea with regenerative braking, a quiet ride, and about 70 miles of power if you weren’t using the fast lane. The problem for the Prius was that people assumed future vehicles that used battery power were all plug-ins with a short range because of the EV1 legacy. This range worry was carried over to the Prius by the uniformed and thus Toyota’s product languished for a while. Honda sold a few of its sleek Insights, a two-seater hybrid, but despite their excellent fuel economy, the lack of storage and comfort rendered it ineffective in cultivating consumer interest.


In 2000, Toyota only sold around six thousand Prius sedans, but the word was getting out that the Prius was a money saver and kind to the environment. Slowly sales increased driven largely by word of mouth and gas prices increasing to over $3.50. The result was sales of over 100,000. Today, Toyota is selling that many in six months and the demand is staggering even, with steady price increases. You can still buy a standard liftback Prius for just over $22,000, but many buyers are moving upscale to the solar roof paneled 5 model and even to the fully loaded Advanced Plug-in that list for around $40,000. The hot selling base Plug-In with the optional white paint, is the most coveted of all bringing premium pricing and why not with real world gas mileage figures easily topping 65 mpg.

Other Manufacturers Motivated to Join

 What is even more dramatic is that this Priusization of the nation has yielded to the public a choice of over 60 hybrid vehicles now and they include everything from a Porsche SUV to a Honda sports coupe. Toyota is upping the ante with the possibility of making all of their vehicles available with a hybrid option. This is not only driven by consumer demand, but by pending corporate fuel economy standards that will force automobile companies to have cars averaging over 50 mpg in the near future. That reality is augmented by the fact the steady surge in demand has carved out a lucrative consumer  niche for hybrids that can’t be ignored.  That belief is cemented by the fact that over five million hybrids have been sold around the world with Toyota earned profits on four million of those. And Americans buy the most.



The Prius has also established itself as a vehicle to be owned by environmental leaders and this clout puts pressure on other manufactures to keep pace. It also helped  prompt the government to give federal tax breaks. Progressive states also  adopted this policy and even offer owners the privilege of driving in the high occupancy lanes.

The Priusization has brought energy patriotism into vogue by reducing the United State’s dependence on imported oil. In 2012, 12,778,885 vehicles were sold and the average fuel economy was around 23 mpg. If even about 25 percent of these were a Prius the total gas burned would be reduced by over 40 percent. Of course, that is unrealistic, but it does show the potential that Priusization offers. And, just as importantly, the pressure it puts on other manufactures to compete by producing more efficient engines. Indeed, almost very hybrid now offered uses some of the basic ideas that Toyota helped bring to the public.

Finally, the Prius has become a cult favorite for both movie stars and those that want to fly their We Care colors. And today that cult is expanding as more families are tempted to test drive these sedans and find there is plenty of room, good performance–thanks to the Power button, and the ability to take 450 mile journeys without refueling. It is when they refuel the the real magic occurs as the Prius only uses about nine gallons of gas to  travel 450 or more miles. This creates expectations for other manufacturers to meet. In 2010 there was only one non-diesel, non-hybrid car that could get over 40 mpg on the highway. Today there are seven non-hybrids, 21 hybrids, and three plug-in cars that better that mark and there is little doubt that the Prius pushed these manufacturers into spending the funds to meet the competition and even tickled the German companies to expand their diesel powered line-ups.

The Real Meaning of Prius

The world Prius has also entered the media with terms such as Prius Progressives, and Prius Politics gaining immediate understanding. As well, the idea of the Prius as an environmental statement has now been somewhat overwhelmed by its practicality and utility appeal. Driving a Prius is no longer just seen as being caring, but pragmatic as well. Cities, such as Rancho Cucamonga are placing electric plug-in outlets at parks and businesses are buying Prius in fleet quantities. The reason is simple, the government is allowing 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, When you consider that the Prius can cost well under ten cents a mile and has very high resale you have an exceptional, and legal, tax benefit. And if you own a plug-in and use your business to charge the batteries the energy used is a business expense, too. Makes one wonder how long it will take before the government makes a Prius regulation for tax allowances.

In America only a few words have gone from proper noun to noun or genericized trademarks. “Crescent wrench, Kleenex, Xerox, Q-tip, Coke, and Jello to name a few. In the automobile world,this list includes brands such as Cadillac for quality, Rolls Royce for wealth, Jeep for off-roadability, and Edsel for poor value are some.  Joining this list now is Prius, the only vehicle in the modern era that has not only created an image, but a car whose name has joined popular lexicon for frugality, environmental concern, and yes, even slow moving.

For a list of all manufacture websites go to

Next Page »