Hay bale in Toyota Prius, from Austin American-Statesman

Hay bale in Toyota Prius, from Austin American-Statesman

Texas is pickup country, as a visit will confirm. It's one reason Toyota builds its full-size Tundra pickup truck there.

But Texas governor Rick Perry overstepped last year when he sneered at the ability of the Toyota Prius hybrid to hold hay.

Austin American-Statesman humor columnist John Kelso raised his eyebrows at a comment by Governor Perry in July that slammed the Prius while defending pickup trucks.

While speaking to the Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio, Gov. Rick Perry made the point that Texans will continue to drive their pickups no matter what gas costs by saying: "You can't put a bale of hay in the back of a Prius. It don't work."

That sounded like a dare to me. A double-dog dare, as a matter of fact.

The intrepid Kelso borrowed a Toyota Prius from a coworker, and with some help from Callahan's General Store, set out to learn how much hay a Prius holds.

The result, as the photo shows, was definitive proof that the Prius will hold hay. How much? A full five bales: three in the back, a fourth stacked on top of them through the rear doors, and one more in the passenger seat.

It made a bit of a mess, though. So much so, in fact, that it clogged the car wash vacuum cleaner used to clean it up. So we wouldn't recommend regularly swapping your pickup for a Prius.

We're still waiting for a retraction from Governor Perry's office, but so far, no luck. But it's good to know it's possible--for those awkward moments where you suddenly remember you promised to deliver a few bales of hay for a friend.

2009 Toyota Prius

2009 Toyota Prius

[Austin American-Statesman (article no longer on the site), via CleanMPG Forum]