|The Toyota Prius.
Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles can serve as a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for your house.
The Prius, unlike the generator, also has a battery that provides instant, UPS-like power, to your house. Careful research has shown that most* people would prefer not to go outside to manually pull a cord in the case of a power failure. The same independent research foundation,** using accepted methods of sampling and polling***, determined that most* people would prefer not to spend money on a big, expensive generator, even if they don't have to pull on the cord.
|Cheap pull-cord generator (a few kW)||Prius+ 3kW UPS in trunk||Expensive generator||Prius+UPS in House|
|Instant ON||No - you go outside and start it up||No - You must start the car.||No. You wait 10 seconds to a minute||Yes|
|No - you need a long extension cord and plenty of cube taps||Yes||Yes|
|Cost||$500-$2,000||As low as $200!||$5,000-$10,000||$2,000-$4,000
|Government paperwork||None||None||Electrical and maybe building permit||Electrical permit|
|Fuel||Gasoline||Gasoline||Propane, Natural Gas||Gasoline|
|Noise||Is it ever!||Just the Prius||Probably-depends on model||Varies from soft to silent|
The "cost" for the Prius, obviously, does not include the cost of the vehicle itself. If you don't have one and don't plan to get one, "never mind." If you are thinking of getting one, here's another reason to add to the gasoline-saving and environmental benefits. If you already have one, well then, it won't cost you anything, will it?
***I decided to save money on both because it's so obvious