Lazy Afternoon Reruns: “My little Echo at 13”

Almost thirteen years ago, I bought a little white two-door car called an Echo, which was made by Toyota for a very short time. I got one of them in the first model years. The Echo was basically the all-gas version of the then-new Prius hybrid. What sold me on the Echo over the Prius was that there was only 10-MPG difference between the two cars, yet the price difference was $14,000; the Echo retailed for around $11,000, and the Prius was just under $25,000. Back in 2000, when gas only $1.00 per gallon, there was no way I would make up that $14,000 in gas savings on that MPG difference.

Yet, even though the sticker on the Echo’s window said that it got 41 MPG, the car’s gas mileage has been even better than that. For example, when some friends of ours used to live in Charleston, South Carolina, we would drive over from Montgomery to visit them. Google Maps said that the distance was 497 miles driveway to driveway, and I could almost get there on a 10-gallon tank. We usually had to stop in Charleston when the idiot-light came on. That would mean the car was getting closer to about 48 – 49 MPG when a trip was all highway.

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