Rob Jenkins - 08/16/09
The time to repent and go green is now

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and be not green, I am nothing" (Book of Gore, 32:15).

Inspired by that modern take on a favorite Scripture, I wish to announce that I intend to stop destroying our planet, embrace Mother Earth (or Gaia, as I call her when we're alone together), and, once and for all, go green.

To that end, I have decided to purchase a hybrid car. It's true that I don't really need a car. My 1998 Honda is still quite serviceable, even at 175,000 miles and counting. It gets close to 30 miles per gallon and has been paid for since 2003.

But that's not really the point, is it? Getting only 30 mpg when I could possibly get 45 or 50 is clearly a sin.

Which also explains why I can't be satisfied with just another economy car. I mean, logic might dictate that a regular Civic would cost less and still be fuel efficient. If I put any stock in that sort of thing - logic, I mean - I'd simply do the math.

For example, I can get a new Civic, well-equipped, for around $18,000. A comparable Insight runs $21,500. My public school math tells me that's a difference of $3,500.

According to Honda's Web site, the Civic gets about 26 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on the highway. Let's split the difference and call it 30. The Insight, with its hybrid motor, gets around 41 and 43, respectively, for an average of 42.

Now, let's say that I drive roughly 200 miles each week, and that gas is around $4 a gallon. (If it's not now, it soon will be. The evil Republicans and their Big Oil henchmen will see to that.)

To drive those 200 miles, the Civic will use 6.7 gallons of gas, while the Insight will use only 4.7 - a savings of 2 gallons per week. At $4 a gallon, that equates to $8 a week or $32 a month.

But remember, the hybrid cost me an extra $3,500 to begin with. At $32 a month, it will take me just over nine years to recoup that money.

Or to look at it another way, I could just go with the Civic and use the $3,500 to buy 875 gallons of gas - enough to fill up every two weeks for almost three years.

But of course, it's not about logic or common sense or doing what's best for the family budget. It's about protecting Mother Earth. And if I have to spend several thousand dollars extra just to save 2 gallons of gas per week, I will, because I know it will make a huge difference to the planet.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go send Washington a penny to help pay down the national debt.