Our Camry hybrid (sixth post)

07_toyota_camry_hybrid_ag_14_544x40 We purchased our 2007 Toyota Hybrid Camry in March of 2007 and I have previously written about it five times (first, second, third, fourth, fifth postings). 

Now it's 3 1/2 years old, and we are still happy with it--notwithstanding the various stains that have appeared on the upholstery (not Toyota's fault).

Last winter it was time to replace the original tires.  During the Olympics there had been ads about certain tires that claimed they boosted fuel efficiency compared to standard tires.  Also, during the time I worked at EPA, I had a number of conversations about how EPA might help promote more efficient tires to the public.  So I was aware that not all tires are equal when it comes to fuel efficiency.  Tires have what is called "rolling resistance,"  a factor of friction with the road--lower rolling resistance equals less friction, which improves fuel efficiency.  ImageServlet[1]Since we had to replace our tires anyway, it made good sense to look into ways we could boost the fuel efficiency of our car even more, and save some money and emissions at the same time. 

Prior to buying our new tires, the highest mileage we had ever experienced for a complete tank of gas had been about 39 mpg (no--we don't track this ourselves with pad and pencil; the car displays it for us).  Since we bought our new Michelin Energy Saver tires, on two occasions we have exceeded 40 mpg for a full tank.  I don't know for certain if it is because of the tires, since there are a lot of variables associated with driving, but not much else has changed, so it seems plausible that they are contributing to the better mileage.

I also need to brag that once, shortly after I filled up, I drove about 5 miles, and at the end of the trip, my mpg display showed this:

58 mpg display on camry

58.7 MPG!!!!  Okay, so it was only for a few miles, but still.

Because our car already gets pretty good mileage, our annual savings will likely be only about 10-20 gallons, saving us $25 - $60 (or more) depending on gas prices.  If they last us five years, we will probably save at least $150.  If gas prices go back up to $4 or more, then our savings will be more--perhaps as much as $350.  In the end, the savings will completely pay for one or two of the tires, and reduce greenhouse gases by 1000-2000 pounds.

Because of where we live, we have now saved almost $4000 on taxes by owning this car.  There are a variety of local and state incentives you will want to consider if you are in the market for a new car.

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