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If it works for the environment, it works for you

We definitely need more than one day a year to think about a sustainable environment. Most don’t even realize how effortless it is to save resources without our everyday routine changing all that much.

Hybrid cars, for example offer the same experience and usability of any “normal” gasoline car. Driving one is virtually the same as any other car. No silly plug to charge a battery, rather a battery that recharges while the car is using its gasoline-powered motor and powers an electric engine when needed. The Mercury News reported these cars could travel 500 or even 700 miles on a single tank of gas. Who needs to worry about high gas prices then? As the Gainesville Times reported, even with record-high gas prices, people are driving more miles than ever before. This trend is contradicting previously made predictions that if gas prices increased, people would begin to drive less.

According to the Gainesville Times, Honda and Toyota dealers’ dramatic increase in the sale of hybrid cars was noted last year. Nationwide, hybrid car registrations increased from approximately 34,500 in 2002 to around 44,000 in 2003, an increase of 27 percent.

Vehicles from both domestic and foreign manufacturers are available, and in a variety of body styles. Hybrid cars available include Toyota’s mid-sized Prius sedan, Honda’s smaller four-door Civic and Ford’s Escape SUV.

With the demand for these environmentally sound cars growing quickly, it can be hoped that car manufacturers will get the message and develop new cars with better gas mileage rather than even bigger SUVs with more DVD players on board.

John Kerry boiled it down quite eloquently when he said to the St. Petersburg Times during his visit in Tampa on Tuesday, “What we have to realize is that being responsible about the environment is not some cuckoo, do-gooder, silly notion that you embrace once a year on Earth Day.”

It is a shame that complaints about high gas prices are the norm, but calls for more efficient cars needing less gas are hardly heard. Instead of complaining about the symptoms — high gas prices — we should focus on fixing the cause.