Probably An Unpopular Suggestion But…

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in the Madfarmer, Transportation, Travel | Posted on 09-10-2009


by the Madfarmer


The only major downside I have discovered from living in a rural area is that I must travel long distances every day. I am not able to support my family as a full-time farmer yet so I still have a “regular” job. Considering I live in the middle of nowhere, I have a daily commute between 30-100 miles. Traveling those distances really cancels out many of my attempts at sustainable living. However, I am a country boy at heart and cannot afford to have enough land in an urban setting to do all that I want to do with my farm.


Therefore, I was forced to research my best option for fuel efficiency. Everyone knows the new hybrids get fantastic gas mileage. But not all of us can afford to shell out $30,000 for a new car. So I began looking at solid used cars to see what kind of fuel efficiency I could find. One car that I stumbled onto was the old Geo Metro. (Now let me stop right here. If you gain any of your self worth through the type of vehicle you drive you may want to stop reading this now.)


I discovered that a Geo Metro could get between 40-50 mpg. That’s better than some hybrids! I quickly began to scour the papers for a Metro. One week later, I found a 1995 Metro for $1,500. I was able to pay cash, save on insurance, and get 45 mpg. I drove the car for 2 years before it finally kicked the bucket. Inspired by this new knowledge, my next vehicle was a 2000 Toyota Echo. I am still driving this car today. I paid $3,500 cash and it gets 38 mpg.


Not everyone will be willing to make this decision. But if you are stuck with a long commute and don’t need to impress anyone, do a little research and see what you can find.


Some other suggested fuel efficient old cars*:

2000 Honda Insight (51mpg)

2001-02 Toyota Prius (41mpg)

2000-05 Toyota Echo (38mpg)

1998-02 Chevy Prizm (32 mpg)

1998 Mazda Protégé (32mpg)

1998-2000 Toyota Corolla (32 mpg)

1998-2001 Acura Integra (32)


*Taken from Consumer Reports 


And it’s too bad we don’t have many of the cars they drive in the UK  

Comments (1)

Of course you’re doing the right thing!! Thanks for your lesson on purchasing such small cars for less–likely for cash–I’ll look for such cars for future purchases and bookmark this page!
Given your investment, I would do as much of the servicing and maintenance of the vehicle as possible myself. My demo 2003 Hyundai Accent was newer and set us back about $11,000. Driving from a sprawl neighborhood. I wish that I didn’t have to drive–I’d far rather ride! I’m going to try our bus system, yet, I have to park and ride, given distance and lack of sidewalks….
I can’t believe people here really like driving that much these days; have they noted how much the cost of driving has increased and how unpleasant and dangerous it can be? The cost of everything associated with owning a personal auto is increasing rapidly every year.
Why don’t Americans understand that instituting some sort of public trans from your community to your employer in the city will create a good deal of employment in your area and the city (along with other like situations)? Such jobs may help replace jobs lost in the dying of the industrial revolution.
Certainly, Americans, now being a very short-sighted, narrow-minded, puffed-up people with the attention span of a gnat, don’t want to pay for it, but, inevitably, we’ll all pay later, won’t we?!