1st generation Honda Odyssey: Nice SUV alternative  


One of the better car buying decisions I made was when I bought a used 1995 Honda Odyssey. I've had it for about two years now, and it has been cheap and very reliable. This is actually an Accord based van, so it has a 4 cylinder.

Fuel mileage ratings are 18/22, which is just OK for its time, but you can still find clean 1st Gen Odysseys (1995-1998) for under $4,000 that will probably run forever. An interesting note about the 1st Gen Odyssey is that while Honda kept making this smaller, 4 cylinder based van for the rest of the world, North America got the bigger gas guzzling v-6 model starting in 1999.

The van seats 7, has fold down rear seats, and has plenty of cargo space. If I were to get another one, I would probably get a 1996-1998 model with OBD-II diagnostics, so that I could hook up my ScanGauge II to track fuel mileage. If you are looking for a reliable, cheap, no-frills, SUV alternative, consider an Odyssey 1st Gen.


Postal Service fuel economy drops with alternative fuel vehicles  


According to a blog post at the Wall Street Journal here, the U.S. Postal Service, between 1999 and 2005, purchased about 30,000 flex-fuel Ford Explorers in order to satisfy a 1992 mandate that a certain percentage of government vehicles be capable of running on alternative fuels.

The problem was that there was only limited availability of E85, so most of the vehicles were run on regular gasoline, but got 29% fewer miles per gallon than the vehicles they replaced.

Woops, nothing "Green" about that. Wouldn't it be cool to see Walt the Postman driving a Honda Fit, or maybe a Ford Escape hybrid? Either would've been a way better choice.


Time.com: 10 Things You Can Like About $4 Gas  


I came across a great article at Time.com called 10 Things You can Like About $4 Gas. The article suggests that high gas prices can reduce insurance costs, pollution, traffic deaths, and even promote healthier lifestyles. Number 5, More Frugality, touches on car stuff, and even talks about hyper-miling.

Anyway, the article got me thinking about how carpooling can be an excellent way to turn a gas sucking SUV into a "commuter bus" for coworkers. Even 2 or 3 people sharing a ride can greatly increase the miles per gallon per person, and by sharing the fuel costs, the riders will save money as well.

Are we reaching the tipping point where people who might have never considered ride sharing in the past, might now participate as a way to cut back on costs? I think so.