This Prius is Making Me Soft.

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The street we live on looks a lot like this. There are at least six of these cars parked on our block.  So far, the Prius owners are the first to offer us their cars when they leave town.

Friends lent us their car while they are away on vacation. It’s a nice gesture and we appreciate the wheels when we have them. I am somewhat embarrassed, however,  to admit that we having been using the loaner car everyday. It is a Prius. The second one that has been loaned to us.  For a few days I didn’t feel bad about driving it because it was a Prius.  I wasn’t hurting the environment that much, I figured. Do Prius owners drive more, because they feel like they can? It doesn’t cost as much to drive because the gas mileage is so good. I have a neighbor who frequently drives to the city instead of taking the train. She may subscribe to this “it’s not bad to drive” rationalization in her hybrid.

The car has been convenient, but I am falling out of the habit of being a gritty, resourceful, car free individual. I liked myself better as that person.

August 9
It’s 95 degrees. We have a borrowed car. Our friends are away on vacation. I am getting lazy. Even on the ride home from Beacon I found myself disbelieving that I had just a week earlier ridden my bike on the same road in similar heat. The impulse to be soft is powerful.

August 11

Today is the last day with the borrowed car. It was calling to me. I was feeling weak.

I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Plus, it was oppressively humid. Holy hell, besides being so tired, I would come back from camp drop off looking like a drowned rat. Arriving at camp fresh from the A/C in the Prius, one of the counselors asked hopefully if we had ridden our bikes again. “I was thinking about you,” she admitted. She was impressed with our choice and I could tell she was thoughtfully considering all the pros to getting rid of the car, yet she identified her reason-why-not (everyone always does), “I can’t strap my guitar to my back.” But I was delighted to see that she didn’t let herself off so easy: “or I could just attach a trailer to my bike.” A bystander, who lives even closer to the camp, contemplated his excuses—he has art materials to carry. But he talked himself out of them as well. I felt good that maybe these like-minded folks might ditch their cars on occasion and walk or bike when they could.

Author: zerocarmom

I am a 50-year-old mom with two kids (ages 7 and 24), a husband who works in our attic, a sneezy old cat, and a full-time job as the co-founder of a Brooklyn-based business. My family lives a mostly idyllic life in a small village in the Hudson Valley, sixty miles north of New York City.

2 thoughts on “This Prius is Making Me Soft.”

  1. As a former part time bike commuter (FIRE now) and someone who is thinking seriously about giving up his car, I applaud you for sticking with biking. However, I noticed a struggle with temptation of the Prius throughout your blog. The advantage of the Prius is that it can haul things and you don’t have to exert energy. Europeans bike regularly and have recently found a solution for this. Have you thought about getting a cargo bike with an electric motor?


    1. Congrats on FIRE! I appreciate your comment. My favorite part about living without the car is challenging myself to adapt and find solutions. I have contemplated a cargo-style trailer, as well as pedal assist bikes. I recently tried an electric CitiBike in NYC and loved it, so I think I am getting closer. Those Prius posts were a few years ago and I have gotten much better at avoiding the temptation of using my neighbors’ cars. If you haven’t read it yet, I have a post in response to a Mr. Money Moustache and Tim Ferriss podcast on walking and “optimizing away our car dependency” that I think might help push you over the no car edge. Or if my post doesn’t do the job, I bet the podcast would!


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