‘Green’ machines showcased at fair

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The shouting is over and the 2008 Mower County Fair is history, but nine hybrid vehicle owners made it more fun for fair-goers.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, a variety of gasoline/electric-powered vehicles were on display for fair-goers to view. It was exciting to see the people stop and look at what is available for “green” cars — even if they came in silver, blue, red and tan colors.

Most of the cars on display were Toyota Priuses, but a Honda Insight, Toyota Camry hybrid and Ford Escape added variety to the display.

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A special vehicle shown this year excited the most reluctant of viewers: a modified recumbent, battery-assisted bicycle which got 40 miles on one charge of 3.6 cents.

The hybrid owners had the model year, current mileage and average miles/gallon showing on the windshield for passers-by to note.

Many were impressed with the averages of 45-50 miles per gallon shown.

One particularly impressive statistic was displayed for the Honda Insight: a 52.6 lifetime average mpg, but 80 mpg on a recent trip of 500 miles.

However, the Catrike vehicle wowed everyone with its 2,000 mpg equivalent statistic.

No salepeople were present and the purpose was to illustrate that higher mileage vehicles are available now to save gas, money at the pump and reduce a person’s CO2 footprint.

The event was sponsored by the newly-formed Austin Coalition Environmental Sustainability (ACES), a collaboration of several organizations in Austin, including Austin Audubon Society, Izaak Walton League, League of Women Voters, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Farmers Market and Superfresh Produce.

The group also handed out blue-colored reusable grocery bags if citizens filled out a survey on their daily participation in “green” activities.

Membership is open to interested persons and groups with environmental concerns and a willingness to become involved in increasing public environmental awareness, according to Terry Dorsey, event coordinator for ACES.