Prius Personal Log  #113

March 30, 2004  -  April 1, 2004

Last Updated: Mon. 4/26/2004

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4-01-2004

Words of Wisdom.  Some people intensely fear change, so they will do all of the following (and then some) with the hope to prevent it:

  • Comments are always vague, to avoid ever providing any conclusive detail.
     
  • What you say will be quoted out of context, to alter the intended meaning.
     
  • Definitions of terms will be changed after the fact, to draw a different conclusion.
     
  • Data from an extreme example will be treated as if it were normal, to create a false average.
     
  • Relevant facts will sometimes be completely ignored, to prevent you from winning an argument.
     
  • Questions will rarely ever get answered directly, to confuse the discussion topic at hand.
     
  • The same misleading information will be repeated over and over again, to get you to eventually believe it.
     
  • They won't ever acknowledge the future, to make you think only the current choices are possible.

Don't let any of that bother you.  After awhile, silent observers (there are always far more than those actively participating) will notice that behavior and begin disregarding it entirely, allowing you to state your point unimpeded.  Good luck with your own hybrid endeavors.

4-01-2004

Why.  A particular online group was making me crazy and burning up a ton of my time with little in return.  This is why I decided to move on...  The fact that honesty had no meaning played a big part.  Some of those in that anti-hybrid group would simply make up statistics by implying that data from a special-circumstance actually represented a consumer average, rather than the extreme it really was.  Some would take a quote of mine out of context, saying I really meant something else.  In short, all they cared about was damaging my reputation.  So if I just stop feeding them any more quotes or data to compare to, they'll have nothing more to fight with.  The thing that still troubles me though is how rude they were to others.  Those that I left behind will continue to be harassed & insulted.  I know that for a fact since I see those same anti-hybrid people causing trouble on some of the other online discussion groups.  Thankfully, I always kept my replies isolated to just that one.  Anywho, it boils down to the reality that they don't want to face.  The evidence is overwhelmingly abundant.  They fear change, plain & simple.  To those remaining that are still fighting the anti-hybrid people, good luck.  As planned, I am now moving on.  April 1, 2000 is when I first played with a Prius.  Today is my 4 year anniversary of that fantastic event.  Last fall, I decided to wrap-up debating by now.  Things seem to have fallen in place in time, so I can do exactly that.  There are far too many that want my help instead, and I'd much rather devote my attention to them.  Now, I will.

4-01-2004

Google Searching.  All of the following country-codes showed up on a new Webalizer report summarizing traffic of this website today: AT, AU, BE, CA, CH, DE, FI, JP, NL, PK, RO, UK.  That's pretty cool.  I always wondered where Prius interest was around the world.  Now I have a sampling.  I also have found out that Google is a popular worldwide provider for web search services.  Now I wonder what the heck people are finding of interest.  Photos obviously exceed language and cultural differences.  But what about the other stuff?

4-01-2004

Safety Tests.  All but the Rollover-Resistance rating is now available.  Prius did well on the NHTSA's 5-star rating system.  Driver Side: 5 stars.  Passenger Side & Front Occupant & Rear Occupant: 4 stars.

4-01-2004

What happened to gas prices?  One of the campaign promises that Bush made was that he would keep gas prices in check.  Now we are about to embark on the highest non-inflationary prices ever.  I thought that was a poor choice of things to promise.  It looks as though more will be joining me with that opinion... especially since it has once again become an emphasized campaign topic.  The latest is an attack ad against Kerry.  I suppose that might help to distract from the promise that wasn't fulfilled.  Politics, what a pain.  And whether I like it or not, commentary will be part of these logs, since gas is obviously a fundamental aspect of Prius.  Kind of makes you wonder what else will happen.  Will the low MPG standards finally be raised?  That is by far a better choice than simply reducing gas taxes temporarily or tapping into our reservoirs to satisfy temporary shortages.  And of course, lets not forget about the emission problem.

4-01-2004

Used Hybrids.  That market is slowly, but surely growing.  An electric motor will last several hundred thousand miles.  It will be able to deliver full power its entire life, and will later compensate for a aging engine who's compression is slowly dropping.  An improved battery-pack will placed in back, providing performance better than when the vehicle was new, long after it would normal have been sent to the junk yard.  Hybrids offer much greater potential than people realize.  They are just so new still that many simply haven't thought that far out yet.

3-31-2004

March MPG.  I just finishing crunching the numbers for March.  With the temperature only in the 40's, I was very curious how high the efficiency would be able to climb.  The average for the month calculated to 48.1 MPG.  Yeah!  That's 4.9 MPG higher than the 3-year average for my Classic Prius.  So based on this obvious trend of improved MPG, the 2004 should easily climb into the low 50's once the warmer weather finally arrives.

3-31-2004

Cruise-Control Discovery.  Huh!  How about that?  I just discovered that some people were under the impression that I used cruise-control to achieve great efficiency.  They had no idea that I wasn't, since many owners actually do.  My use of cruise is actually quite rare.  Over the past 10,000 miles, I have literally used it only a handful of times.  Since I am a programmer, I'm in tune with the way computers respond to input.  So I generally like to handle the controls myself, feeling I might be able to squeeze out a bit more efficiency.  After all, I can see the approach of a hill, which allows me to respond sooner.  Cruise can't until it actually fills the incline/decline change.  I'm not sure how much I gain from doing that.  Perhaps it's nothing.  But I do have fun driving the Prius, so there is a gain in that respect.

3-31-2004

Short Trips.  This may not have been well defined in the past.  A short trip is one where the engine is still cold at the conclusion of the drive.  That means you really didn't get to take true advantage of the hybrid system.  It spent most of the time running the engine at high idle to prepare the emissions system for exhaust cleansing.  Fortunately, the engine doesn't cool off right away and the fluid in the thermos remains hot for several hours.  That means you can shut off the car in between and it will still count as a single long trip, rather than several short trips.

3-30-2004

The way I drive.  I wish I had a simple method of quantifying what I do in a fashion that would be easy to convey to others... but I don't.  What I do with the accelerator-pedal is as complex as the numerous tiny adjustments I do with my feet as when I rollerblade, each of which contributes to an overall savings.  However, those responses to changes in the road become so second-nature that I don't even think about it.  The movements become brainless reflexes after awhile, especially after 70,000 miles of driving a Prius.  I know for a fact that I play with hills, pre-accelerating to avoid a speed loss due to gravity.  Then I throttle back right before hitting the top and milk the motor on the way down.  Exact timing and how much is a mystery though.  I look way ahead too, scanning for red & green light opportunities.  But judging what to do is instinct, especially since weather, time of day, and traffic density has to be taken into account as well.  Practice and continue to try new things. You'll make a personal discovery or notice a pattern... eventually.

3-31-2004

New Owners.  The "accelerate slowly" misconception gets most new Prius drivers.  They assume driving conservatively will save gas.  But in reality, that actually wastes it.  When the light turns green, generously drop the pedal.  (But don't floor it, obviously.)  "Brisk" acceleration will make a world of difference.  And since it is the way many people drive anyway, you may not even have to alter driving habits.  The next serious problem new Prius owners encounter is tire pressure, they simply aren't aware of its importance.  You need an absolute minimum of 35 PSI in front (33 PSI in back).  Softer will kill efficiency, as well as the tires themselves.  Increasing pressure (always with a 2 PSI bias in front) will both increase MPG and tire life.  So it is very worthwhile to give it a try. My preference is 44/42.  Another efficiency factor, that is quite often overlooked, is oil level.  You'll discover dealers squirt way too much oil from the bulk barrel into your engine (despite that being warned that it could cause damage in the owner's manual).  Some owners have even reported having almost a entire quart over the "Full" mark.  MPG will suffer as a result.  Have the excess drained out immediately!  1/4 inch below the "Full" mark is the ideal level for the oil.  Switching to synthetic oil makes a difference too.  So don't forget about that option.  This last one, may or may not be obvious... avoid short trips.  Since heat is needed for the emissions system, the engine must until heat is available.  That means during the first 5 minutes of driving, the engine may not shut off.  In other words, you don't really get to take advantage of the hybrid system unless your drive is longer.

3-30-2004

Reduce Emissions & Consumption.  Both are required.  Simply fulfilling one doesn't cut it, you can't just ignore the importance of the other.  Think of it as fighting a war on two fronts.  Only focusing on one means you will be conquered by the other.  You must defend both to ultimately win.  Hybrids like Prius accomplish the needed reductions.

3-30-2004

Sad Reality.  I never imagined a hybrid owner would campaign so hard against hybrids... especially with such a weak argument and disregarding the likelihood of production costs ever dropping.  But I see it daily.  He's out there speaking against hybrids.  Perhaps he just bought the hybrid to gain credibility.  Perhaps he fears the technology, since he has discovered just how great it really is.  He's pushing the PZEV version of Focus.  PZEV isn't available in any other Ford vehicle, nor have I ever seen any non-hybrid plans for them to offer that in the future.  Unless you want a Focus, you're screwed.  Yet he is pushing that anyway.  How can that possibly make sense?  It sounds like a really good anti-hybrid argument on paper, but not on the dealer's lot.  People desire other vehicle types, like large cars, minivans, trucks, and SUVs.  So there really isn't an emission benefit.  And of course, MPG is completely ignored with non-hybrid designs like Focus, placing no value whatsoever on its importance.  In fact, MPG drops slightly to achieve PZEV.  That's really sad.  Remember, reducing emission & consumption is the goal... not just one or the other.

3-30-2004

Two Thousand More.  Step back and smell the money for a moment, to put things in perspective.  Some people now think nothing of spending $2,000 to buy a television.  So thinking those buyers will frown on adding that amount to a car loan isn't realistic.  Ask yourself how many people fit into that category.  The number continues to grow.  People are spending more and more on vehicles.  The up-front premium for a hybrid will become trivial after awhile, especially as gas prices continue to climb.

3-30-2004

Assumptions.  I commonly run into people that assume the word "reduce" actually means "as much as possible".  And as nice as that would be when it comes to the reduction of emissions & consumption, there are some realities we must take into account.  Fortunately, we don't have to make the entire journey all in a single step either.  Hybrids will evolve over time, becoming better and better as the technology becomes practical to implement and affordable to sell.  So don't make assumptions about what you encounter until you researched all aspects of it in full.

3-30-2004

Absurd.  Now that GM has a hybrid (the Silverado), people are trying to compare it to Prius.  Even by ignoring the propulsion system entirely, they have absolutely nothing in common.  Comparing a truck to a hatchback is completely absurd.

3-30-2004

Prius:  Motor Trend's  2004 Car Of The Year.   Need I say more?   ad scans 3

 

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