On the right road

By By Tracy Wahlen

By Tracy Wahlen

Jamie Lenz, a freshman in bioengineering, has trouble breathing.

She was diagnosed with adult onset asthma at the age of 13. And from the moment she awakes in the morning until she goes to bed at night, Lenz notices her asthma. Going outdoors generally makes it worse.

Her asthma has been getting progressively worse with age and she is now 31. The inversion that occurs during winter months makes things worse, too.

So when Lenz decided to go back to school, she bought a hybrid car.

Living in Riverton, Lenz has a long commute and was concerned about the pollution problem that affects her on such a personal level.

She traded in her Chevy Tahoe for a Toyota Prius. She also made a goal of riding TRAX to school at least 50 percent of the time. The days she rides TRAX, her husband uses the hybrid car to drive to work.

“We have had record red-burn days this winter. Inversion is a serious problem,” Lenz said. “I have concerns about contributing to that.”

Her husband, Dylan Lenz, has had long-standing concerns about global climate change. So it wasn’t a stretch for Jamie Lenz to convince him that it was time to get a hybrid car, Dylan Lenz said.

“It doesn’t hurt to save a few bucks on gas, either,” he said.

The Lenzes said they did look closely at their budget when considering this purchase. A base-model Prius goes for around $21,000.

The clean-burning engine and good gas mileage helped the couple decide it was worth rearranging their budget to get the car. They found their Prius got around 45 miles per gallon in cold weather. They expect it to get around 60 miles per gallon in warmer weather.

One of the drawbacks Jamie Lenz mentioned was not being able to take the car just anywhere to get the oil changed. It has to always be serviced by Toyota, she said.

Jamie Lenz doesn’t belong to any type of organized environmental group. She describes herself as one person who wanted to do something to effect change in a problem that affects everyone.

While she doesn’t belong to an organized group, she does participate in other activities that benefit the environment. She feels strongly that basic recycling habits are important.

Jamie Lenz is currently working to create a petition to present to the Riverton City Council to show that residents are interested in hybrid cars. While she doesn’t have a lot of spare time to devote to her cause, she is hoping to find a small group of people who also feel strongly about this issue.

Her hope is that they will help her to gain a large support base.