Carbon budget update: July 2008

July had a few surprises. First, we drove more than we did in June (a total of about 3600 miles) and we used way more electricity (526 kwh up from 283). A lot of this was unavoidable – or at least, not things we were willing to avoid. Over 1500 miles on the Prius and 100+ miles on the Explorer were due to a quarterly trip my husband takes. He carpooled most of that distance, though, so two other people didn’t rack up any miles for that trip. And, since he was gone, I had to drive the Explorer – though I worked from home 2 days, which saved about 4 gallons of gas.

The electricity was from two things: a/c (it got humid enough to warrant it several nights) and canning. And our hot water usage was back up to 157 kwh. Not sure why that is…I’ve been sticking to the shorter showers.

On the other hand, we didn’t fly at all this month, so that helped our overall carbon balance a lot.

We drove the Prius over 3000 miles this month (yikes!). Let’s see: 1100 of those miles were driven instead of flying, and 590 of them were driven for a required business trip. But that’s still 45 miles a day, on average. How on earth did we do that? Huh…looks like I drove about 60 miles the day we went strawberry and pea picking. It’s 22 miles round-trip into town for work, so that’s 440 more miles. I have no idea where the other 860 miles happened. Hmm, have to look at that more closely next month. The only good news there is that in summer, Sulie (the Prius) gets over 50mpg and used 63 gallons of gas. If the truck had gone that distance, it would have used 254 gallons.

Prius miles this month: 3450 (+400)
Truck miles: 145 (+120)
Gas this month: 81 gallons (+21)
Air miles this month: 0 (-1200)
Elec (household): 369 kwh (+273)
Elec (hot water):157 kwh (+67)
Propane this month: 0 (+0)
Wood this month: 0 (+0)

Carbons: -388 each (was -530 each last month; we’re aiming for zero, so we did 142 better than last month)



  1. Mom said,

    August 6, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Congratulations on your husbands carpooling! I think you deserve credit for it. Just a friendly reminder that depending on your driving cycle, you might want to consider a fuel efficient vehicle with an I4 engine. Hybrids aren’t better for fuel efficiency than a small gas powered vehicle unless you are driving lots of city driving. Plus, battery disposal at the end of the vehicle’s life in an environmentally friendly way is difficult. Hope this helps!

  2. Emily said,

    August 7, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Hi, “Mom.” What is an I4 engine? We do lots of city driving, and our hybrid gets 50mpg on average this time of year.

    Also…is there any chance you’d sign yourself “Mom’s Kitchen” or some such? My mom does actually read my site, and when you sign yourself “Mom,” I’m not sure if it’s you or her.

  3. Jen in MI said,

    August 8, 2008 at 6:28 am

    I’d love to see “Mom” post about I4 engines! Your posts on the “budget” are great, Emily.

  4. August 10, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Thanks for asking….

    An I4 engine is a gas powered engine with 4 cylinders that are inline with each other. (another bit a trivia is a V6 or V8 engine is one with 6 or 8 cylinders that are not in line but a V shape and have 3 or 4 on each side). It’s the engine you have in your Prius, or it’s in many other small cars. For people on a budget, a small gas powered car might be a better option. As an example, per the EPA, the typical annual fuel cost for a 2008 Ford Focus is $2196 and a 2008 Prius is $1335. The cost of a base 2008 Ford Focus is about $15K and the 2008 Prius about $23K, so it take 10 years to break even in fuel savings. Hope this helps – I’m not knocking your Prius purchase at all, I’m just not sure that most folks are aware that they really are best for city driving, not highway driving. Also, I am concerned about all these batteries ending up in landfills some day. (although I am sure yours won’t, since you are environmentally savvy).

    Love your blog!

  5. Emily said,

    August 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    MK- Thanks for the details! Yes, it’s surprising but I know there are many “regular” cars out there that get 50+ mpg. Some of them are quite old – late 70s/early 80s Volkswagon Rabbit pickups, I believe, are on that list. It pays to do the math!

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