The MPG Smackdown: The Clunker vs. the Hybrid
This was sent in recently by a fellow named John Canoose.
My friend Joe lives a few blocks from me. He's a regular working stiff, just like me, though we work at different places. Now, Joe, he likes to do the right thing -- as he sees it -- so he recently bought himself a brand-new Prius.
Joe says, "Wow, it gets great gas mileage, almost 50 mpg around town and about 40 on the highway, even with 5 people in it -- you know, 4 passengers and the driver. That's pretty good."
Anyway, Joe's grandmother for years drove a beat up old Plymouth Voyager. He used to tease her about it getting maybe just a little more than 15 mpg around town. Of course, it did a lot better on the highway with that 5-speed manual transmission and 4-cylinder engine.
Grandma claims she would get something like 28 mpg, maybe a little more, on the highway. Pretty good. But Joe hated that thing; it was underpowered and it was ugly.
So when Grandma died, you guessed it, she willed the Voyager to him. It sat in Joe's driveway for a couple of weeks while he advertised it for sale in the paper. But as you would expect, no takers.
I went on a vacation at about this time. Returning from Sand-in-Your-Shorts-Beach in Florida, I drove by his house on the way home and there was the Voyager in his driveway, but it looked like it had been driven.
Joe was home, so I stopped in. "What's up?" I asked. "Decide to keep that nifty Voyager?"
Joe says, "Well, yeah. You know, I realized that I could get as good mileage as the Prius if I didn't drive it all the time."
So, is Joe flipped out or is there something going on here?
Think you know? Drop Ray a note!
[ Car Talk Puzzler ]