10 Things I Learned Driving in #PlugInForCharity MPG Challenge

Prius Plug-In ChallengeIf you follow me on social media or have seen me gallivanting around town in my Toyota Prius Plug-In, you’d know how much I love the car. And I smirk at the other drivers and onlookers as they curiously gawk at the car, emblazoned with phrases like, “I’m lowering greenhouse emissions and raising money for charity”, #Pluginforcharity and “I’m driving for ecokaren”, I “peel off” from the stop sign ever so gingerly so as to preserve charge in the #EV mode. There is probably some cussing in the cars behind me as I have been the model driver in the all of Westchester County.

And as result, ……………..after two weeks into the challenge, I’m in top THREE!!

Yes. After two weeks of careful and methodical planning my errands and their routes, I’ve achieved my goal of at least getting high enough MPG to be placed on top THREE. I can’t tell you what my MPG is until the challenge is over but I CAN tell you what I’ve observed from two weeks of driving around in an #EV.

Here are ten things I observed while driving my Toyota Prius Plug In.

  1. People are impatient drivers. More importantly, I used to be THAT driver.
  2. Braking is hard to do, especially if you don’t want to use up gas! Why didn’t I know this before? Or better yet, why didn’t I practice this before?
  3. There are more gas stations than charging stations. OK, that was given but until you start driving around in an electric vehicle, a.k.a. Plug-In or EV, you take gas stations for granted and you are blind to “Charging Stations Here” signs. And you quickly realize that there is never a charging station when you need it. C’mon, people! Get with the program and start building more charging stations if we’re ever going to depend less on oil! Seriously!
  4. Love all the detailed info on EV’s dashboard. Short of telling you when you need to wash the car, it has so much more info about the car and your driving habits than a gas engine car. It tells you where your power is coming from – from electricity or from gas – how much miles you have left on the charge as soon as you step on the accelerator or the brake and what percentage you’ve driven on electricity and gas.
  5. Speaking of  brakes, braking actually regenerates energy so it gives you more juice to go further. Now, can gas do that? No Siree!
  6. I am more competitive than I thought. In fact, I’m more competitive with myself than I thought. I try to go a little bit more each time with one charge. It got a bit dicey at one point – in trying not to use gas at all but just the EV mode –  that I think I felt an anxiety attack coming on. Kidding. But I am serious when I say, driving an EV is like playing a video game. You try to get further with a full charge, each time you go out.
  7. Try to get your man of the house to do an errand for you – like pick up a bag of top soil – in a 90+ degree heat. Normally, that doesn’t fly in my house. But with this sexy Toyota Plug-In, he’s out the door, asking how many bags do I need. Why didn’t I get this car sooner? Men and cars. I get it now.
  8. My gas station attendant is the loneliest guy in town.
  9. My ‘other’ car is the loneliest car in town. In fact, I had to take her out for a spin, to check to see if the engine can start.
  10. Lastly, the biggest obstacle for the MPGChallenge is the steep hill going up to my house.  I lose over a mile of energy going up that dreadful hill. After two weeks of sweatin’ bullets, I finally figured out how to overcome it. Watch this video for the secret of not wasting energy going up the hill but instead, conserving it!

P.S. Thank you for all your tips! They were soooo helpful! This has definitely been a team work! Can’t wait to tell you what will happen next week when the challenge ends and if I will be able to donate money to Autism Speaks!