Using the Trailer

This week at Wandertec:

1. Finished the Wandertec SAX (BOB liner) design and began testing.
2. Began assembly of the 1st batch of Wandertec mLites.
3. Fitted lights on my Carry Freedom Y-Frame Trailer.
4. Started using my Carry Freedom Y-Frame and Xtracycle to transport a large load of work equipment across town instead of using my Honda Element.
5. Signed off on the plans for the shop expansion.

I decided to start up with using my Carry Freedom to try to avoid one of my trips across town. I bought the Honda Element a few years ago so I’d have a car that got relatively good gas mileage (26mpg) and that could still be used to haul some stuff. But lately I’ve been hauling almost everything in town by bike.

This got me thinking about changing up my vehicles. I’ve decided to sell the Element soon and replace it with a Toyota Corolla. My girlfriend is going to sell her Mercury Sable station wagon and replace it with a used Toyota Pickup. The Toyota Pickup will be used for when our loads are just to big for bike trailers around town and the Corolla will be for road trippin. I’ve used the Element as the Wandertec trade show and event vehicle. But with only a few of these events to attend each year, I figured I’ll be better off just renting a van when it was needed.

When considering the choices of fuel efficient cars to replace my overall all-purpose but not optimally fuel efficient Element, I first thought on the Prius. It seems that if I will mostly be using the new car on the highway for road trips. In these conditions the braking energy recapture benefits of the Prius are less applicable. I also considered a VW Golf diesel. My problem with this was I’d spend approximately $5000 more than the Corolla and only get 45mpg vs. 40 mpg. I’ve decided rather to put that $5000 into updating the heater in my house.

I put in all my data into an energy/carbon use calculator and discovered that the best use of my resources was to replace the 38 year old furnace in my house. This would reduce my energy use by 15% while using a 40 mpg car instead of a 26 mpg car only resulted in an 8% reduction in energy use.

For the long term, I’m very interested in using a Plug-In Hybrid. But saying as they are not yet available, the Toyota Corolla and some other energy saving technologies will have to do as my bridge to a more energy efficient day.

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