by Lucy Ann Meyer, FSPA
Sister Lucy Ann Meyer driving her Toyota Prius
With a ministry that requires multiple road trips to Milwaukee, Racine, Chicago and our centers, I was asked in May if I would be interested in driving a Toyota Prius for my next vehicle. With a little hesitation, I agreed to take a test drive in one of the available Priuses. After receiving a brief orientation by the salesman, I drove to La Crescent and back. I had several preconceived notions about the complexity of starting the car and knowing how to operate it on the road. I was pleasantly surprised as I experienced a delightful trip. The Prius was easy to drive and comfortable to sit in. I've been singing the praises of my Prius ever since.
I am now a proud user of a 2005 metallic blue Toyota Prius. I am happy to affirm my satisfaction and comment positively about why I like my car. My response to others is always that I love my hatchback Prius. Sometimes when I get involved in a lengthier conversation, I share with excitement that my community, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, now has eight hybrids in its fleet.
At times I feel like doing a commercial for the hybrids! How wonderful to know FSPA has made a
decision to purchase some hybrid vehicles. It is exciting to note that the single most important feature of the synergy-hybrid systems is that it achieves an 80% reduction in smog-forming emissions. My brother-in-law, who is also a Prius user, recently affirmed how great it is that the community is concerned about air quality and care of the earth and endeavoring to speak to this issue with the purchase and use of hybrids. I am personally pleased to know that we are making a difference in the care of Mother Earth. This is a powerful testimony to our Franciscan ideals and values as we reaffirmed in our Direction Statement in the assembly of 2005.
The console of the Prius provides extensive information to the driver. When this photo swas taken the Prius was getting 49.2 miles per gallon of gas.
When driving on the highway or in the city, the console located in the middle of the dashboard provides much helpful information. The consumption/energy screen continually informs me of the miles per gallon of gas that I am utilizing and also shows me when the electric battery takes over for the gasoline engine. With the recent surge in the price of gasoline, the increased miles per gallon realized is another wonderful advantage of driving a hybrid. A recent trip from the Kathleen Moffatt, OSF, presentation in Chicago showed 51.4 miles per gallon. Published reports indicate the Toyota Prius realizes about 46 to 52 miles per gallon of gasoline. Because of the continuous monitoring on the console, I am reminded of the importance of speed control and safer driving practices. I have found maintaining constant speeds and avoiding quick starts and stops increases the miles per gallon and makes for more relaxed and leisurely trips.
Another wonderful feature of the Toyota Prius console is the availability of audio options. In addition to the usual choices of CD or AM/FM stations, the console provides the option of selecting one's preferred type of listening pleasure. It allows the selection of radio stations that offer information, easy listening, rock, light classical and country music. Choices can then be programmed in and selected from a button on the steering wheel. I have found this feature most helpful and it enables me to be a more focused driver.
Although we need to do more corporately and individually, I am excited and pleased to be given the option of driving a hybrid car. I know that in some way I am living a bit more authentically and witnessing to Franciscan values. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my enthusiasm about hybrid cars and urge others to find ways to express their concerns about the care of our planet.