Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fuel Efficiency: Good, Better and Best

I filled up my vehicle yesterday at a bargain price of $1.25 per litre. How quickly our perception of a "good deal" changes! Last week gas was $1.38 per litre. Small cars are quite popular in Canada and Cooper minis and Smart cars are not unusual to see on our streets. I took these pictures on Manitoulin Island. Mrs. Bean's Cooper was parked in front of the docked Wyn Cooper. Rowan Atkinson's character, Mr. Bean, has a loyal fan here.

Manitoulin Island's roads are great for biking. Traffic is very light and the terrain is not overly hilly. Our city buses have bike carriers on the front so passengers can pedal their way to their destination after they get disembark at the transit stop. The occupants of the little car above obviously use a bike for shorter trips too.

And here are the die-hard cyclists waiting for the ferry to take them back to the mainland. I wished them well against the rain, wind and bad drivers they would encounter.

One of my co-workers lives a few kilometers from the hospital. She bought herself an electric bike for about $500 and is very happy with it. She has to do some pedaling, but the little motor assists on the hills. It is nice to arrive at work without having to shower and change your clothes.

The price of fuel is changing our behaviour. I am driving less for pleasure and have cut back on extras at the grocery store in favour of feeding my vehicle's gas habit. My next car will be a lot smaller for sure. That Mini Cooper is very cute!

I laughed when I read this comic a couple of weeks ago. Click image to enlarge.


  1. Now, this is the way we need to address the energy crisis, not looking at off-shore drilling. My son has a Mini Cooper and is totally in love with it.

  2. The new mini is expensive and not that fuel efficient.
    Also I love all my Jeep's and live in offroad heaven. Plus gas here is $1.25 an imperial gallon.
    But the cartoon cracked us up. You gave us a piece of local humour without realizing it.
    The Arab population is suddenly successful and as a consequence getting very obese.
    Plus they drive everywhere.
    At least we hike when we get to the end of our offroad destination.

    See you soon Sis.

  3. The cartoon was certainly good for a chuckle!

    If we all do our part, we'll be healthier, our environment will be better, and we may even become better neighbors in the process! It's alot easier to converse if we're walking or bicycling down the street!

  4. The comic is a good chuckle.
    You are so right--our perceptions change very quickly. That is why I am not as bothered by the high price of fuel--something HAD to change our perceptions. American auto makers claimed they made what people wanted to buy. So, watch them switch as fast as they can to smaller cars.

  5. That comic is cute all right. Some people don't like to walk two feet further than they have to ... just witness parking lots.

    I was with my in-laws one day when they moved the car from one side of the grocery store to the other side, just to go to another store ... not even half a block. I was amazed ... I even said something I was so incredulous ... it popped right out of my mouth!

    Outside of D working, we don't drive a whole lot. The trips to the coast to visit Mom cost a bundle and take up our gas money!

  6. You are right about changing habits.-I will by a compact fuel saver for the first ime after my truck falls apart. Of course it will take longer now that I ride the bus.

  7. I love the cartoon and his reasoning - get a Hummer! That yellow car is so cute and Mrs. Bean, to boot!

  8. Anonymous7:50 am GMT-4

    It was only in March I remember racing to the gas station to get a bargin at $1.04. Now we also try and preserve gas by combining trips, spending less on "treats" (i.e. eating out, movies, etc.) I now look for things that don't cost money for entertainment. As you said Ruth, need the money for our car's gas-guzzling habit. On the flip side; this has forced us to at home and spend more time with our families. Some of the younger generation family could benefit from it.

  9. Anonymous9:14 am GMT-4

    I wonder if there is a correlation between the fact that Europe has a lower average obesity rate and a lower car ownership average?

  10. We're all changing our habits. Motorcycle sales are way up. Over July 4th weekend here, fireworks sales skyrocketed. We're stay home this summer.

    I didn't know the economy would take a dive when I bought my fuel efficient Honda last year. I'm glad I did.

    We can sit back and watch car manufacturers squirm in their seats and watch people trade in their Hummers. I find it amusing.

    Great post, Ruth.

  11. NCMW- You are right, we have to change. You have a smart son.

    SLBrother- I have heard that about the Mini, but it looks great. The cartoon is brilliant!

    Evelyn- A slower pace of life would be good for all of us for sure.

    KGMom- The knowledge has to be there to make a fuel efficient vehicle. The consumers have to demand it. Our fuel is still a lot cheaper than it is in Europe.

    CS- I see people drive a few hundred feet to avoid walking too. People like you that live away from towns have to plan your trips carefully.

    Larry- Getting a new vehicle is expensive even if it is fuel efficient. I will keep my minivan for a while longer too.

    Jean- I would take the car and the vanity plate...I like Mr Bean too.

    Cheryl- I grew up in a big family where money was carefully spent. I am falling back on the lessons I learned then. And time spent with family is more important than money spent on family.

    SG- I think you hit the nail on the head!

    Mary- You made a smart purchase and one I will likely copy. There are way more motorcycles around here this year too.


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