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Sierra Club Members Dick and Mary Cardell Take Part in the Hybrid Revolution
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by Miranda Spencer

Learn about Dick and Mary Cardell's hybrid car and how it works.

Have you ever found yourself cringing as you watch clouds of smoke sputter out of a car exhaust pipe?

With the human population on an increase and the amount of transportation moving in the same direction, it’s only sane to worry about the pollution being emitted into what was once, long long ago, clean fresh air.

Introducing the new and improved hybrid car. With a new look, cool features and better gas mileage, it’s catching on so much that two members of the Sierra Club, Dick and Mary Cardell, purchased a new hybrid Toyota Prius in September.

“The Sierra Club pushed the old Prius,” Dick says, “but when they announced the newer Prius, which is more like a station wagon, we test drove one and said, ‘Great! We’ll take it!’ That’s when the car salesman informed us of the waiting list, which didn’t require any money down.”

So for nine months, Coggin Auto at the Avenues continued occasional back-up calls to make sure the Cardells were still interested. Finally one lucky day in September, the ozone layer rejoiced and the Cardell’s wait ended.

But how does the hybrid work? Hybrid means having two types of components put together. A hybrid car has two types of engines: electric and gasoline. With the two engines used together, not only does the hybrid car help save gas and money, but it also helps save the environment.

According to www.care2.com, “A well designed hybrid can reduce the smog pollution by 90% or more compared with the cleanest conventional vehicles on the road today.” And since hybrid cars burn less gasoline per mile, they release much less pollution and fewer greenhouse gases. Not only does it help save the ozone and our lungs it also travels 50-60 miles per gallon in the city, whereas the gas-guzzling SUV travels 15-20 miles per gallon.

There are five cool tricks that hybrids use to be more efficient than the average automobile.

One trick is using the brakes to recover and store energy in the battery. According to HowStuffWorks.com, “Whenever you step on the brake pedal in your car, you are removing energy from the car. The brakes of a car remove this energy… and store it in the battery to use later.”

Another cool trick on how to save gas happens while you’re sitting at a red light for a while. The gas engine shuts off, but the electric engine turns on.

Hybrids also use aerodynamics for speed. Most of the work done by your engine is pushing your car through the air, also known as “aerodynamic drag,” which is accomplished by reducing the frontal area of the car. Also, having stiffer and higher-pressure inflated tires also helps to reduce the drag that regular tires cause.Finally, using lightweight metals such as aluminum saves power and increases gas mileage.

A study done by the EPA in 2004 says, “The Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, and Honda Civic Hybrid ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively for overall emissions and fuel economy in a study of over 100 car models.” The Honda Insight has the highest fuel economy of any vehicle commercially available with a gas mileage averaging 66 mpg on the highway and 60 mpg around town. Honda used every possible trick in the book by making it a small, lightweight two-seater with a petite gas engine.

The Toyota Prius, designed to reduce emission in urban areas, was honored as the 2004 Best American Car of the Year. This five-seat, four-door sedan never needs to be charged – the engine accomplishes that.

The newer versions of the Insight and Prius are slightly different than the old. Differences include a bigger engine, better gas mileage, more interior room, side airbags, a navigational system, rear windshield wipers, CD players, and more speakers.

So it’s no surprise that people are being turned on to the new hybrids, including Dick and Mary Cardell.

“We bought a hybrid to help save the environment and for the gas mileage,” Dick says. “It’s just not worth paying the extra money for gas. Plus they’re much cleaner.”

The Cardells, who have lived in Jacksonville for nearly 40 years, have always been an environmentally friendly couple. Dick Cardell grew up fishing with his dad in the everglade wetlands. He received his bachelors in political and social science at Illinois IT, and then received his masters in education at the University of Florida. He began substitute teaching at a high school in Miami until he went into military service for a couple of years. He eventually came to Jacksonville where he was “talked into teaching elementary school,” Dick recalls of his earlier years.

Years and a retirement later, Dick laughs as he says, “Now I volunteer as the CPAC representative for the one and only Lakewood Community Association.” Dick also keeps Scottish heritage alive with the St. Andrews Society, is an active member of the Jacksonville Camera Club, and is the “outgoing president” of Shepherd’s Center of the First Coast, a national organization for senior citizens.

Mary Cardell, born in Louisville, KY, is a retired librarian who received her bachelors in education at Western Carolina University and her masters in Library Science at FSU. She moved to Jacksonville, where she held a teaching job while living downtown for two years.

“The pollution was horrible,” she says. “I started having respiratory problems so I moved to Palm Beach, but by this time Dick and I had already met so I ended up moving back because of him.” Now she plays the clarinet for the Band of Senior Citizens.

The Cardells are smitten over their new car and are impressed with how quiet and comfortable it is. “It’s so quiet when I’m sitting at a light that I often think that it’s turned off,” Mary says.

“Probably the only drawback is that the rear visibility is not the greatest,” says Dick, continuing with a laugh, “But when I see someone driving a hybrid we both wave, and I kinda feel like part of a club!”

Club or no club, the reputation of the hybrids are rising, and it’s all for the best benefit of the earth.

For more information on hybrid cars, try these websites:www.auto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-car1.htmwww.care2.com/channels/ecoinfo/hybrid


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