Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's not easy being green

FRIARS CORNER, May 25, 2008:

As I drove by the Sunoco station on Wednesday this week, I was shocked to see the price of a gallon of gasoline reach $4.02. It has probably gone up higher since Wednesday as you are reading this today. I’m sure there’s not a single one of us who are not being affected by the ever increasing rise of fuel and food prices.

But, you may have noticed that I said I noticed the price as I drove by the gas station and not as I drove up to the gas station. This is because a few weeks ago, I got rid of the Dodge Durango that I inherited when I came to St. Francis and now bought a new Honda Civic Hybrid. That’s right, I’ve gone green! [For those who are always curious about such things, the parish does not pay for our cars. Our Franciscan Province pays for our automobiles and all related expenses.]

So, it has been a real joy driving my new eco-friendly car out-and-about. The Durango got about 12 miles per gallon on a good day and the last time I filled up the 20 gallon tank before the new car, it cost $78! It was time to trade-in the Durango and as I began to look for a new car back in January my goal was to find something that got a minimum of 30 MPG. My final decision, after months of looking, was on the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Back at the beginning of Lent I came across a story about how the bishops in England were encouraging their faithful to use Lent to engage in a 40 day carbon fast to bring greater focus on their carbon footprint, on the many ways that we all contribute to the problem of global warming. That story really impacted me, and since then I’ve really been trying to do whatever I can to lessen my own carbon footprint.

I have to say that it just plain feels good to drive nearly 450 miles on just 12 gallons of gas! But, there has been an unexpected reaction to my new car that I’m not sure what to do with. There seems to be a certain type of person who for lack of a better term feel judged in the presence of my new car. What do I mean by this? Well, in one conversation, a person while sitting in their big, gas guzzler asked, “So what does that get, like, 50 MPG?” I said, “Actually, it has been averaging around 43-44.” They responded, “Huh, that’s all?” That’s all?!

And then there are the people who want to explain that because the Hybrid uses a nickel battery, which is difficult to dispose of, driving a Hummer is actually more eco-friendly. A Hummer? Really?

All kidding aside, it is a great car and even better as it passes the gas station. But, please don’t hate me because I’m green.

Fr. Tom


  1. I've been told by Friars that because of their vow of poverty, they don't own automobiles. With tongue in cheek they respond..."The Pope owns them".

    Let me see your registration please ;)

  2. Actually the community owns them - we don't want to involve the Pope - we merely have poor use of them.