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Scott BennettAs published by the Brooklin Town Crier - June 4, 2010

by Scott Bennett

Mike Clarke with his Toyota PriusI just got back from a business trip to Virginia where the only way to get around is by car. So I rented a car for two weeks. Actually, not just any car, it was the most fuel efficient car on the road – a Toyota Prius. This amazing vehicle is classified as a Full Hybrid and allows you to travel up to 60 km/h on electric power. That power is generated by the engine when it’s running, from energy recovered from the brakes or when the car is going down hills or coasting to a stop.

I caught up with Mike Clarke from Brooklin, who drives a 2010 Toyota Prius, to see what he thinks of the car. He is equally impressed with this new company car from Coca-Cola. Mike travels a lot for work and averages over 500 km per week on the road. He says "it costs about $30 to fill up the tank, which will last about 800 km."

When Mike first got his Toyota Prius, he says, "everywhere I went, people were asking about it." The dashboard is unlike any other car, and people who get a ride with Mike always comment on it. You can choose what to display on the dashboard. You can see in real-time when the engine is running, using the electric motor or recharging the battery. There's also an option to see a bar chart of the fuel efficiency you are getting. Display options of the Toyota Prius dashboardThe third option, Mike describes, "helps you drive eco-smart." It's a chart that shows you in real time how efficient you are driving.

The Toyota Prius excels in urban settings and traffic congestion because when it doesn't need the power from the gas engine, it will turn it off. No more getting stopped in traffic and getting a fuel rating of 0 mpg! Mike can travel home from Oshawa for example, on mostly electric power, therefore saving on fuel.

Mike recently finished studying journalism. He said that the environment is a topic that was often discussed. In fact, Mike made a short video about the impact of disposable water bottles and the benefits of using a stainless steel water bottle instead. You can watch Mike's excellent video - Onebottle Report - on YouTube.

I hope you are inspired by Mike's experience with his Toyota Prius to think about the fuel efficiency of your car or truck. I did the math on my car, a 2002 Honda Accord (which was the most fuel efficient mid-size car that year), and I would save $1,000 a year in fuel costs if I drove a Toyota Prius. Vehicles make up the single highest source of personal greenhouse gas emissions. So switching to a fuel efficient car is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. Thanks Mike, for being a green leader in our community!

For more ideas on how to go green, see our green tips for transportation.