Dear MOTHER: Letters from Readers

Reader letters about alternative transportation, fuel economy, environmentalism, hybrid vehicles, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and more.


| December 2005/January 2006



Magazines

These are letters written to the editors by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers.

Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors

Used Cars with Great Mileage

Thanks for helping your readers pay attention to the efficiency of their automobiles. I am endlessly amazed at the great number of environmentally aware folks who can’t tell me how many miles to the gallon their cars get.

We recently considered a 2002 Toyota Echo. It was in excellent shape, had low mileage and cost only $7,000. But in the end we went with a 1999 Ford Escort SE sedan with a “Split-port Induction 2000” engine. We knew from our 1995 Escort LX wagon that an Escort five-speed would get 40 miles per gallon or high 30s on the highway and mid-30s in the “city.” The price was $2,500. We could afford the Escort out of pocket and save $4,500 in debt over the Echo, which would have slowed our investment in the homestead/farm. Our mechanic drives an Escort and says they are made well enough that, with proper maintenance, we can expect more than 300,000 miles from these great “low-end” cars!

In the mid-1980s, Volvo sold a car in Europe that, because of its superlight body (with a passenger area hardened to be as safe as any other Volvo), got more than 70 mpg. Likewise we read about a German car that got more than 70 mpg in the city and 100-plus on the highway. It seems that MOTHER could help light some fires with a report on how the rest of the world is addressing the mileage issue.

 — Patryk Battle, Burnsville, North Carolina

Alternative Transportation

Take the bus! I live in a metropolitan area and sold my car a couple months ago. No, it is not the quickest, most convenient transportation method, but it sure beats paying those prices at the pump. Carpool! My elderly neighbor offers the single mom down the street a ride when he heads to the grocery store. The single mom always pays him $6 to cover the cost of 2-plus gallons’ worth of gasoline. My husband and I own one vehicle, and we work out a fair schedule. Transportation needs are so different than wants.

 — Rachel Ann Gray, Troy, New York

robert roll_2
7/10/2010 8:00:54 PM

After reading your compact tractor comments I would like to add one thing. I have used a small Kubota to take care of our yard of about five acres for years and loved it. However, I have asthma and during the hot humid part of the summer I have trouble getting enough air. About a year ago I ran across a second hand B3030 Kubota with a climate controlled cab. It is wonderful! I am comfortable on the most humid, hot day and have discovered biting insects can't get to me either. Another bonus is that when clearing snow on very cold days it is heated also. For anyone with asthma, I would sure recommend this approach if they can afford it or find a good, low hours used model as I did.


robert roll_3
7/10/2010 10:06:15 AM

After reading your compact tractor comments I would like to add one thing. I have used a small Kubota to take care of our yard of about five acres for years and loved it. However, I have asthma and during the hot humid part of the summer I have trouble getting enough air. About a year ago I ran across a second hand B3030 Kubota with a climate controlled cab. It is wonderful! I am comfortable on the most humid, hot day and have discovered biting insects can't get to me either. Another bonus is that when clearing snow on very cold days it is heated also. For anyone with asthma, I would sure recommend this approach if they can afford it or find a good, low hours used model as I did.






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