I've been kicking this idea around in my brain since I got back from California. She and I rented a Toyota Prius while we were out there. There was a credit for renting one from the San Francisco Airport, and we figured that the difference in price would balance out with the better gas mileage. Total damage for the fuel, about $30. Total mileage, over 600 miles in a week. Two tanks or so in the subcompact we were supposed to get would've surpassed that total. Add the extra pep in the mountains, and it turned into not a bad choice.
I can't quite figure out how the Prius became so trendy. It's not particularly good looking. Its curious construction created blind spots that could hide SUVs. Even when checking blind spots, body panels blocked views. Starting it was a crapshoot, with a very finicky ignition system that required four simultaneous steps to get that electric motor to hum. The only thing I can figure is the smug factor.
Celebrities love them. Toyota charges quite a premium for them. People that drive them love them, despite all these shortcomings. If you're not sure why, check out Matt Stone & Trey Parker's thoughts via South Park's "Smug Alert" episode. It's classic South Park: contrastingly irreverent and poignant with a touch of revulsion garnish on the side.
I'll hold out for a decent looking car that gets better mileage than what I've got now. I've gotten a slight uptick in efficiency and a good cut out of my gas bill this year. Next year, who knows what'll shake out? I need to make friends with a coworker early in the year to carpool. That'll make driving to work fun again. I'm gonna miss you, Casey!