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Question of the Week: What do you drive, and why?

2008 June 16

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Got wheels? There are as many reasons you have a car, truck, or whatever you drive, as there are types of vehicles from which to choose. But there are also trade-offs in your vehicle choice that affect the environment and your wallet.

What do you drive, and why?


En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

¿Tienes ruedas? Hay muchas razones para escoger su medio de transporte, sea un automóvil, un camión, o lo que usted decida conducir, así como hay una gran variedad de vehículos que puede escoger. Asimismo, se hacen trueques al seleccionar su vehículo que afectan el medio ambiente y su bolsillo.

¿Qué tipo de vehículo conduce y por qué?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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267 Responses leave one →
  1. W. Dennis Ely, Jr. permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 2000 ford Excursion V-10. This vehicle helps me tow my 35′ trailer and carry my family of 6. I only drive 5 miles to work. So mileage is not bad.

  2. Beth Braun permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I used to drive a 2005 Scion XB because of the inexpensive price tag, now I drive a 2008 Scion XB because of the inexpensive price tag, as well as the gas mileage (30 mpg). I used to be a mini-van owner . . . . but no more – can’t afford it! Not when I drive 60 miles a day (roundtrip) to work.

  3. Walker permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Saturn Vue with a four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission. It gets okay gas mileage, and is the right size for carpooling four kids to school, hauling a couple duffel bags of baseball equipment to and from practice, or hauling a muddy dog to and from the dog park.

  4. Karen permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 1995 Chevy Blazer very low gas milage. I have not calculated it since I only go through a tank every 2 weeks (I drive very few miles) I need to have a large car because I live in MT and am afraid of hitting an Elk or Moose with a car. I am looking at getting the Hybrid Ford Escape for my next car.

    I just started biking to work last week. I really enjoy the time to myself and it is a beautiful ride with the Kootenai River and Mountains.

  5. Jacko permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 97 Ford Explorer.

  6. Kent permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I currently drive 46 miles one way to work and purchaced a Mini Cooper after checking several opptions. I no longer need to be able to haul 4 people in my car wanted a smaller car with a clutch. And of course wanted to get good gas mileage. The Cooper was one of the highest rated cars for milage at the time and it is fun to drive. We also have a Ford mini van my wife uses because we were hauling our kids to sporting events and simulars uses regularly. I keep cars 10 years or until they die so even though we do not have to haul the kids around any more I have another 5 years to go to replace. We would like better milage but it would be difficult to carry two care payments along with insurance increases on newer vehicles.

  7. Linda Cummings permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Honda Accord (4 cylinder). I drove a Civic hybrid until I totaled it in an accident in Jan of this year. The dealership was not encouraging when I told them I wanted a new hybrid. They only had 2 on the lot, and I didn’t like the colors. I know now that I purchased too fast, altho I needed a car, but settled for one that is not very fuel efficient at 23 miles per gallon.

  8. NOLA permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 2001 Toyota Sequoia that gets about 17 mpg. The 8 person seating capacity allows we to transport my extended family to social events, such as dinners, dance revues, etc….

  9. winstons girl permalink
    June 16, 2008

    2002 Subaru Forester. Small SUV needed for work (recycling educator – need plenty of room to carry displays, etc.) and home (two large dogs). Gas milage between 21-26 mpg. Trying to carpool, quit idling, shop in the neighborhood, etc. to be a greener driver.

  10. getting poorer permalink
    June 16, 2008

    Good for you – I feel the same way, yes we should be a little greener – but who can afford all of this??

    Anyone want to buy me a new greener car???

  11. Colin permalink
    June 16, 2008

    My main form of transportation is a 2008 Victory Vision motorcycle.
    I get between 45-60 mpg and I love riding; also it leaves half the footprint of a four-wheeled vehicle; I occasionally drive a 1999 Ford Explorer for grocery shopping, taking my dog to the park, or when I need to haul something or pull a trailer. It gets very few miles on it, with a tank of gas lasting me a month or more—and it’s paid for, besides getting between getting 20-25 mpg.

  12. Eco chic permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I don’t drive! Before I moved to DC, I HAD to drive to school! I drove a Honda Civic which got about 30 miles to the gallon but was still expensive to fill up. Now, I’m glad I moved to a city where the necessities are within walking distance or public transportation. I save lots of money and now only use the car once in a blue moon. I think more communities should push their local governments for clean transportation alternatives. Lets not be fossil fools! Lets create innovative solutions for our needs!

  13. Brian permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive an F-150 because I like driving a truck. I use it for Household projects and to haul my CRF-450 to the dirt. I have a C-5 Corvette w/ auto and believe it or not the car gets great gas mileage for a 375 hp racecar 22-25 mpg. All bets are off when you push past 100.

    When I need ta save gas, my wife and I have 2 Harleys but they only get 30-35 mpg. Good thing I only work 7 miles from my house. We’re almost at $5/gal out here in Los Angeles

  14. Tamie Kerr-Sahli permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive an Nissan Versa and get 30 MPG in town. I purchased it for the fuel efficiency, size and afforfability. This is the first brand new car I have purchased since 1987. I sold a VW Jetta to get better mileage.

  15. Matthew Bradke permalink
    June 16, 2008

    Ford Ranger…cheap, truck, paid for.

  16. Brad Winchell permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I own and operate a 1/2 ton 2007 GMC serria extended cab with matching camper shell. Also own and ride a 2004 Classic HD. Gas prices are hurting all of us. I recommend you contact your congress person and file protest. Our fixed income taxpayers are taking the largest hit. I also give up some items to enjoy what I like to drive or ride. My round trip is 54 miles each day and I carpool to help the clean air act.

  17. Pat Jarvis permalink
    June 16, 2008

    A 1991 Ford Taurus, simply because it was the only thing I could afford after I was rear-ended by a semi in 2006. The insurance money didn’t even cover the cost of this car, and I had and have no money to drive a better one. I only shop at stores I pass on the way to and from work. If I lived in a real city, I would take public transportation, but Idaho hasn’t caught up with the rest of the nation…. If the gas and groceries continue to rise at the current rate, I won’t drive anything ~ I’ll have to eat my car!

  18. Pam LaBine permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 98, two wheel drive chevy S10. I will drive this truck until it falls apart in the driveway. Thirty miles per galon and paid for is the key. In northern wisconsin there is 25 miles between anywhere. The salt in the winter destroys auto bodies. Fuel is at 4.35 this morning. We can’t move or carpool.

  19. Jayhawker permalink
    June 16, 2008

    1992 Acura Vigor because I don’t have a car payment on it and it still runs. I will drive it until I can put antique plates if it lets me. In this economy, no car payment is priceless

  20. Liz permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 1998 Honda Civic. It is a pretty descent car, I bought it used about three years ago. My husband has a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. We sometimes carpool to work since we work very near each other, but we have different schedules. I am pro the environment, but in my case I can’t take a bus to work, because the mass transportation here is terrible and unreliable. I also live in a semi-rural area, and the nearest bus stop is at least 5 miles away and I can’t take my bike on it.

  21. Josh permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Honda Civic and an old motorcycle. I own both because of their fuel efficiency. I would like to buy a hybrid but they are far too expensive. Even the lower end hybrid models usually exceed $24,000.00

    I really wish it were more convenient to use public transportation but I live in Jacksonville, FL. and the public transportation is sub-par for a city with such a large population.

  22. Don permalink
    June 16, 2008

    We drive an ’87 Mazda 626. We have owned this car since September 1986. It currently has 128,000 miles which means we average around 6000 miles per year. On long trips we get about 31 mpg. Last year over the whole year we averaged just under 25 mpg. Our taxes for the year are $36.30. It is in great shape. We will not replace it until there would be some significant savings in buying a greener car. We would need to be at a minimum of 40 mpg for a new car to make the least bit of sense. If the car keeps lasting, we will wait until the cars catch up.

  23. Josh permalink
    June 16, 2008

    Hi Southern Man

    It’s sad to hear about your strife and I can relate because I come from a family of farmers but those that live in the city and care about gas mileage aren’t causing the rise in gas prices. The trend toward more fuel efficient vehicles is mostly a result of high gas prices.

  24. spotman permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I ride a 2007 Harley Electra Glide Standard. This IS my everyday vehicle – rain or shine – only ice keeps it parked. Why? It gets @ 42 mpg, the light weight does NOT tear up the roads, it’s smaller than a car so it doesn’t add to traffic congestion and it’s a LOT of fun.

    My other “ride” is a 1951 Harley Electra Glide. Why? Because it’s loud and proud.

    My truck is a pristine 1995 Chevy C-Series with a small 6 cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission with cruise control. I need a full size truck for work while in-town mpg sucks, I get @ 20 mpg on the highway.

    My car is a 2001 Buick LeSabre. Why? Because I’ve owned a few of those “toy” cars and they suck in terms of ride and back seat passengers. The Buick with the GM 3800 engine gets @ 26 mpg on a trip which is fine with me as I have a job and can afford the gas.

  25. Anonymous permalink
    June 16, 2008

    Hyundai crossover SUV, because it gets 26-28 miles to the gallon and was a good value for the price in 2005. I take public transp during the week and drive only as needed, mostly weekends.

  26. Marc permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I “drive” my feet. I estimate walking 30 miles per week. I walk to the market, my gym, and most all of my errands. My wife & share a 2000 vw Passat (4 cyl 30 mpg) and were proud to have only 41,000 miles in 8 years (with no plans to replace).

  27. Nancy permalink
    June 16, 2008

    My husband and I own one car between us: a 1996 Toyota Corolla, which we bought used 10 years ago. We both work at home, so we don’t have any commuting costs. As others have said, it’s paid for and it gets good gas mileage–both of those are important now.

  28. Anonymous permalink
    June 16, 2008

    My husband and I drive a 1994 Honda Civic and a 2005 Toyota Corolla. Both average around 35 mpg. Hondas and Toyotas are fuel efficient, dependable, and long-lasting.

  29. Anonymous permalink
    June 16, 2008

    “Rich greenys” are not causing the price hikes. If anything, they are reducing the fuel demands and saving you a few cents. Rising prices are due to increased global demand for fuel, and our government’s lack of foresight in preparing us for the inevitable.

  30. Anonymous permalink
    June 16, 2008

    2004 Toyota Sienna, because it holds my triplets with their carseats and all of our gear without being excessive like a big SUV.

  31. Emie permalink
    June 16, 2008

    A 2001 Dodge Durango because it’s paid for and hubby doesn’t want any car payments.

  32. Chris permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 2003 Mazda 6 that I received from my parents during high school. It gets pretty good gas mileage, and I have never had any major problems with it. I mostly use my car to commute to school. I would love to use public transportation to get to class, but it is inconvenient and unreliable. For the next school year I will be moving closer to campus and will be walking to class because of the rising cost of gas.

  33. Sue permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 2007 Toyota Tacoma, 2WD, 4 door truck. No other vehicle comes close to the versatility of a truck. And this one rides like a car, seats 5 comfortably (I have three 6 footers in my family), and I am getting 20 mpg. I wish any manufacturer would make a truck that gets better gas mileage, or an inexpensive commuter car so that I could afford both.

  34. Jim permalink
    June 16, 2008

    A motorcycle because it gets 62 miles per gallon.

  35. Plumber permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I commute 24 miles round trip most of the time on a 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster. I get anywhere from 35-40 mpg. The additional benefit is being able to enjoy the freedom riding a motorcycle provides. You see more, smell more, and sense more of the environment around you when you ride. I also like that I don’t have to drive my 1997 F-150 4×4 that gets about 15 mpg very much, since I live in sunny California.

  36. Bill S. permalink
    June 16, 2008

    To Southern Man:

    It’s not the “rich greeny’s” that are charging you more than $4 per gal. It’s the mega-rich oil companies in Texas and Louisiana.

  37. CINDY permalink
    June 16, 2008


  38. Rez Gurl permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 2007 Subaru Forrester because I live in a rural area I needed the AWD, plus I wanted to save on gas. It now costs $50 to fill up my tank!

  39. Kupe permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I have a 2005 Prius and love it. It gets an honest 48-50 in the city and 54-56 highway. Comfy, quiet and doesn’t depreciate.

  40. judy permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a 2001 Ford Esacpe. I design houses in rural Southern AZ. , so I have to go to construction site in the sticks on roads that are unpaved and very steep.

  41. Elizabeth in Baltimore permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Toyota Corrolla but have been biking to work (about 4 miles each way). I love biking because I see more of Baltimore, have a less stressful commute, and I’m saving on gas. I would like to emphasize that I’m in a much better mood when I get home. I hadn’t realized how much jerky drivers effected me!

    With the gas prices, I estimate that if I hadn’t changed my behavior, and gas prices stays at $4.00 a gallon (on average) by this time in 2009, I would have spent an extra $577 on gas. yuck.

  42. webdoyenne permalink
    June 16, 2008

    Depending on the weather, either a Toyota Tacoma (4 culinder w/ manual transmission) or a 2008 Honda Nighthawk 250 (baby motorcycle…60 mpg…yay!).

  43. Ron permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I ride a Harley Heritage for 90 % of the year. It gets 44 mpg, is relaxing and fun to drive, and puts out less combustion than an auto. As with the majority of America–public transportation is pretty much non existant here and what little they do have is pathetic. If the left doesn’t let America drill for oil right here at home –and do it soon–then we all will be eating those spotted owls for dinner cause we wont be able to afford to buy groceries after having to pay even more for gas than we are already now paying. And yes–it is nice to get some of the car/truck traffic off the roads–less people to claim they “didn’t see me” on my motorcycle. Just maybe–we will be able to get this helmet law repealed once we get even more of the “real” dangerous 4 wheel vehicles off the roads.

  44. Charlie MacPherson permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Toyota Prius for 3 reasons: 1) save gas and the planet, 2) be able to drive HOV on rte 66 as a single driver, and 3) I think they’re sporty. I love my Prius!!! I have 95,000 miles on it and would get another one in a heartbeat.

  45. Splatt Rattzenberger permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Harley Davidson Electra Glide. Why? Because it’s CHEAPER to drive than my hot rod V-8 Ford Mustang. It used to be I didn’t care about the price of gasoline, but these days, the Mustang sits in the driveway because I can’t afford to fill it up. I would like to thank Al Gore, Little Dick Durbin, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace for doing what the terrorists couldn’t; bring this once great country to it’s knees with their socialist-tree-hugging-save-the-gay-whales energy policy stoopidity. Al Qaeda salutes the greenies – mission accomplished. Good job, kids! Wise up, people….the feds make more $$ in taxes per gallon than the oil companies profit….and the only reason Congress gets away with it is because YOU allow them to. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters ain’t no friend to motorcycle riders, either….but nice Academy Award winning performance, Mary….us REAL riders ain’t fallin’ for no banana in the tailpipe.

  46. Chainsaw permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I split my puny 8 mile one-way commute between a 2005 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic that averages 44 mpg, unless I’m “enjoying” the pipes, or using them to get the attention of a driver with a cell phone glued to the side of their skull, and a red 1996 Saturn SC1, with a 4 banger, that gets about 29 mpg in the city, but I’ll be danged if I can get any respect for my little red car from other drivers, and I feel MUCH safer, have more fun, and leave less of an environmental footprint while on the motorcycle.
    Believe it or not!

  47. Bret Gallo permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I drive a Dodge Ram 1500 truck. I live in Montana and a 4 wheel drive is a must. Gas mileage isn’t great at roughly 16 mph highway. I am an avid outdoorsman so a truck is needed. I am seriously thinking of buying a cheap, older small car with good gas mileage for any long distant driving. Pay $100 at the pump is really hurting the wallet.

  48. Steve S permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I Drive a 99 BMW 528. Still gets 35 mpg if you keep the speed down below 80 I’ve looked at new ones and the green cars they cant beat it. When BMW releases it and there is stations to serve it I’m going hydrogen.

  49. Ray permalink
    June 16, 2008

    Harley Davidson Electraglide for out of town trips (44 mpg) and a Honda 750 for in town going to work and errands (50Mpg in town). Both require less parking, contribute little to traffic congestion and cause minimal road damage.

  50. Bones permalink
    June 16, 2008

    I ride a 2006 Triumph MC 965 CC engine year round unless snow or ice is on the ground

    Why ?
    A. Because I get over 200 miles on 5 gallons of gas.
    B. my emissions are less than a good fart.
    C. My 600 pound overhaul vehicle weight does not ruin my highways
    D. My elected officials have failed miserably to control the price gouging that results from American & Arab oil barons

    My “winter” ride is a 2000 Ford E150 van with a V-6 Engine

    A. Beacuse Hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles are not priced for fixed income people.
    B. Because I can haul my Hunting equipment around during season, sleep in if needed, and help transport the elders in my neighborhood to appointments
    C. Because my elected officials are failing miserably to solve the energy crisis

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