2004 Toyota Prius: It's Been a Good Run
July 03, 2011
This will be read with sympathy by some and detacted amusement by others. I've been kicked out of the carpool lanes. I'm back to the real world which, in Los Angeles, means being stuck in traffic, slogging along in stop and go (mainly stopped) traffic. I'm once again one of thousands, sitting in a little box staring at other stopped boxes stretching off into the distance.
Last night was my final commute in the carpool lanes and, wouldn't you know it, traffic was horrible in regular lanes and just fine thank you in the carpool lanes. When you're going 45 mph past miles of stopped traffic, it feels like you are traveling at the speed of light. It feels like you just busted out of jail.
The whole idea behind riding solo in the carpool lane was to incentivize the purchase of hybrids to save the environment. But they've upped the stakes now -- the only way to get into the carpool lanes is to have an all-electric or natural gas car. The incentive worked on me. I'm getting a 2011 Nissan Leaf, hopefully in July.
I bought our long term Prius back last October because it had new tires and carpool stickers. At that time I felt July would never come. But it is here and now and all I have to look forward to is the delivery of my Leaf and the carpool stickers it will eventually bring. Meanwhile, all I can say is, it's been a good run.
For anyone still interested in this 2004 Prius, it's been a great car in every way. I've put 8,161 miles on it and only had one issue. The brake lights came on when the car was parked over night. Toyota did the repair for free since it was part of an ancient recall. It now has 94,578 miles and all I can complain about is that the car has a generally loose feeling to it. But on the last tank of gas I got 49.4 mpg and at $3.99 a gallon that is some consolation for losing carpool lane rights.
Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 94,578 miles