Prius Personal Log  #15

September 25, 2001  -  October 13, 2001

Last Updated: Fri. 4/09/2004

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10-13-2001

$1.14 per gallon of gas.  We were close to the $2.00 mark just a few weeks ago.  What the heck is going on?  I can't even remember how long it's been since the price of gas was so low.  Selling hybrids that specialize in great MPG will be much harder now.  Fortunately, Prius also offers Stealth-Mode and Super-Ultra-Low-Emissions; those qualities aren't affected at all by price fluctuations.

10-12-2001

Intelligent Braking.  Prius has this, traditional vehicles don't.  When you lift your foot off the accelerator-pedal in a Prius, you're telling the computer you'd like to slow down.  As a result, the regenerator motor immediately uses the unwanted thrust to create electricity which also causes deceleration.  Not needing brake pads & shoes much (or at all) means they won't wear out anywhere near as fast as with traditional vehicles.  That's intelligent.  Unfortunately, when you lift your foot off the accelerator-pedal in a traditional vehicle, all that happens is you glide.  So if you're exiting a highway onto a downhill off-ramp, you'll probably keep going at that speed until you step on the brake-pedal.  Then, you have to rely on the brake pads & shoes exclusively (and rather heavily) to slow down.  That's just plain dumb.  What a waste.

10-11-2001

"Transportation Is Finally Evolving"  I finally recorded a copy of that new Prius TV commercial.  After a couple of days of fruitlessly trying to capture it digitally, I got desperate and recruited my VCR to assist.  Sure enough, within an hour I got it on analog tape.  Ick!  Oh well, that quality is better than nothing.  And after carefully converting & compressing it to a file that I could share with everyone online, it looks surprisingly good.  If you'd like a copy, follow this link:  video files

10-09-2001

20.4 MPG average overall, a 21-year low.  That's what it said in a newspaper article today.  Less than 6 percent (48 of 865 cars, trunk, and vans) get 30 MPG or better.  And that's based on EPA ratings, which are warm weather measurements.  (MPG drops significantly during the Winter.)  It's really sad that things are getting worse rather than better.  The article stated "a 3 MPG increase in average fuel economy industry-wide would save $25 billon in fuel costs and reduce 140 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emission per year".  Imagine what the world would be like with Prius technology everywhere, we'd get quite a bit more than a 3 MPG overall increase.

10-09-2001

I handed her the keys.  The reaction was fantastic!  I didn't expect so much excitement. She had hinted at wanting the opportunity, but as a close friend it was obvious how important the well being of the Prius was to me.  Adding risk beyond my daily commutes wasn't a good plan.  Things change though.  And letting her drive was really fun.  It's interesting to see the reaction of someone driving a Prius for the first time.  It kind of gives you an electric feeling.

10-08-2001

Played with a Honda Insight.  As I was merging onto the highway, I noticed a small, red hybrid off in the distance.  So I made the voltage surge.  Swishhh!  I caught up in a few moments.  I honked and waved.  He responded with a polite head nod.  So I pulled forward a bit, to let him notice what I was driving.  Then I shot off again.  At that instant, he realized I was also driving a hybrid.  He couldn't get into my lane fast enough.  I quickly merged over and slowed down.  That resulted in him honking and giving a big "thumbs up" to me.  Then he pulled in front of me.  I followed for a few miles then passed him again.  He countered.  Unfortunately, my exit came shortly afterward. I wondered how long that would have continued? 

10-07-2001

New Prius Commercial.  WOW!  I was watching the Discovery Channel.  The show came to a break and I turned my attention away from the TV.  Then I suddenly heard the word "Prius".  When I rapidly looked back, sure enough there was a Prius on the screen.  Sweet!  There was a line of Toyota vehicles following a Prius through an oil field.  Then the oil pumps came to life and started walking.  At that point I was too overwhelmed to absorb it all and quite upset that I wasn't recording.  Oh well, eventually I'll get a digital copy.

10-07-2001

An interesting detour.  Usually driving around construction is a pain, but this one is kind of fun.  Approaching my home from the nearest city, I have to drive around a large, steep hill.  The road is flat and usually smooth.  Now there's a small torn up section where they dug under the road.  To avoid this, I have to drive up the hill.  That consumes a lot more gas than the flat route would have.  But it turns out the glide down to my house actually makes up for that.  So the MPG ends up even, and watching the down & up on the multi-display entertaining.

10-06-2001

The Bike-Rack.  I got use to having the bike on back.  I drove countless trips both north and south that way.  Now that it's almost too cold for biking, I no longer have to worry about the wind resistance from the rack dragging down my MPG average.  Too bad the temperature drop will have the same effect.  I guess you just can't win sometimes.

10-06-2001

37 F degrees at 8:30 PM.  It's officially cold now.  We're expecting a hard freeze soon. (That means the low temperature will drop into the low 20's.)  Summer is over.  Goodbye 50 MPG tanks.

10-06-2001

Installed a Cargo Net.  Replacing 2 plastic rivets with 2 metals clips, then hand-screwing in the connectors, was all I had to do.  It only took a few minutes.  Now there's something to keep small items from sliding around in the big trunk.

10-05-2001

$1.21 per gallon.  Gas prices have went from a record high to near record lows (within the past few years).  That makes me wonder how much people will care about the high MPG you get with a Prius.  Oh well, the SULEV emission rating is more important anyway.  Having clean air is something our children will appreciate.

10-04-2001

Prius Photos now on Google.  Discovering this new search feature was a pleasant surprise.  There are now a bunch (over 4000) of Prius photos well organized into graphic selection pages.  Fortunately, the resolution my photos offer is still much higher than what's available there.  But that sure makes it nice for those searching for a wide variety.  This is how to use that feature:  1. Go to http://www.google.com  2. Type "Prius" in the search line.  3. Click the new IMAGE tab.  4. Click the GOOGLE SEARCH button.

10-03-2001

It only took 10 minutes.  I spotted a Prius.  Once I reentered the metro highway system (the 694/494/394 loop), I didn't feel like I was back "home" without having seen another hybrid.  Up north, I was all alone.  Seeing another Prius within just 10 minutes made me feel really good.

10-02-2001

Northern Minnesota Colors.  Fall last year was breathtaking.  It was well worth having to deal with the 3 disappointing years before that; the brown leaves and overcast skies made terrible photos.  What would this year be like?  I drove north for several hours hoping for the best.  It was even better than I expected.  The colors were incredible.  And the turbulent occasional clouds looked great, though they caused substantial delays when their shadows got in the way.  I took 198 exposures which resulted in 24 photos that I'm very proud to publish.  The Red, Orange, and Yellow leaves look great with the Green of the Prius.  Here's what I saw:   photo album 23     photo album 24

10-02-2001

Saw a biker, couldn't resist.  It's too easy driving up to someone riding a bicycle and starting a conversation.  Just mentioning the fact that the engine isn't running fascinates them.  They instantly see (since they can't hear anything) the benefit of using just electricity.

10-02-2001

Shhhh!  There was a large group of young people (early 20's) sitting on the curb next to a building.  They were patiently waiting for something.  Then I rolled up, in stealth-mode.  The window was down.  So I made direct eye-contact with one of the women, held my finger up to my mouth, them exclaimed "Shhhh!"  Someone else immediately responded with a "Damn that car is quiet!"  On cue, as the Prius rolled away, I replied "That's 'cause it's electric."  A whole bunch of heads immediately perked up.  So I swung around to the parking lot behind them and stopped.  A few ran over to check out the hybrid.  They were quite impressed when I opened the hood and told them it was still running.  There wasn't any sound and the engine was surprisingly cool.  That was fun!

10-02-2001

He noticed.  When I walked around the corner, I saw someone checking out the Prius.  Alone up north, I thought no one would realize the car was special.  It turns out that people now understand what "hybrid" means.  So when they see the HYBRID ELECTRIC stickers on back, they get really excited.  Needless to say, I was more than happy to answer his questions and offer an Info-Sheet & Card.

10-02-2001

Driving with all the windows open.  That let me enjoy every moment.  It was 73 F degrees outside, and would likely be 6 months before I get the opportunity to do that again.  Minnesota Winter tends to last a very loooong time.  Having one last pleasant day was nice.

9-30-2001

Fuel Door - A few squirts of WD-40 fixed it.  Opening the door to the gas tank had been difficult the last couple of fill ups.  The latch didn't appear to be stuck, yet the door wouldn't open the first attempt.  It turned out that all the salt & dirt the hinge had been exposed from the previous winter to dried it out.  Without any lubrication, the spring-hinge didn't swivel on its own.  Adding just a few squirts of WD-40 was all that was needed.  Now it the fuel door pops wide open every time.

9-30-2001

Cleaned the floor mats.  They look wonderful now.  Too bad the results of Winter will quickly get them dirty again.

9-30-2001

Polished the Prius for the first time.  Winter is about to set in and the car isn't as new as last year.  That means I should protect the shiny paint finish from road salt using more than just spray-on wax.  The choice was a no-brainer.  My Taurus looks incredible (in fact, almost unbelievable) after 7 Minnesota Winters protected by "Nu Finish" polish.  So that is what I decided to use on the Prius too.  Now the paint is protected and there is a nice gleam (which will look great in the Fall photos I plan to take).

9-28-2001

Consumption or Energy Monitor.  When I first got my Prius, the Energy Monitor was the screen of choice.  I preferred that.  Knowing what the hybrid system was actively doing was fascinating.  But after about 8 months, I switched to the Consumption screen exclusively.  I knew the hybrid system so well I could predict its actions.  Watching the outstanding MPG get even better due to the warmer weather was incredible.  But now its getting cold again.  I find myself switching to the Energy Monitor occasionally.  That makes me wonder if I just miss seeing it or my interest has changed now that the colder temperatures are pushing MPG down.

9-28-2001

Info-Sheets verses the website.  I didn't see a spike in hits as a result of showing my Prius to so many new people.  I wonder if the detail provided on that double-sided piece of paper is so thorough that there really isn't any need to research online.  Those interested simply proceed to a dealer for a test drive.  Hmm?

9-27-2001

Yet Another Prius.  This one was White though and I saw it on the drive home.  Apparently, good things do come in three's.

9-27-2001

Checked the internal air filter, for the air-conditioner.  It's behind the glove compartment, which is fastened in place very securely.  But once I removed those two stubborn plastic bolts using a pliers, it was very easy to reach.  The filter appeared fairly clean still, but it will be replaced in 2000 miles anyway since that's covered under the routine maintenance warranty.

9-26-2001

An awful discovery.  Of course, this may be good news for those that enjoy tracking my progress.  I just found out that the highway bridge I use to cross the Mississippi River to get to work will begin "significant construction" soon, which isn't expected to be finished until the Fall of 2004.  Odds are, they are going to do just like they did several miles up river a few years ago.  They destroyed the obsolete bridge and built a new one in its place.  That translates into an 8 to 20 mile increase in my commute (depending on how the new traffic flows) for the next few year.  I'm going to drive a lot more than 20,000 miles annually now.

9-26-2001

Another Aqua Prius.  Again, I passed one on the way to work.  But this time was different.  Yesterday, I saw an older man driving.  Today, there was a beautiful young woman.

9-25-2001

Wheels 2001.  That was the auto show my Prius was part of.  It's a charity exhibition that my workplace puts on every other year, only this time it was in conjunction with a 40th anniversary celebration.  That meant there would be a lot more people.  And since I was in charge of the auto portion, it meant I could open participation to "not classic yet" vehicles.  So I did.  My Prius was there for around 2000 people to see.  Having to watch over the show itself, I didn't get to answer as many questions and pass out Info-Sheets as I would have liked.  Yet, I still distributed around 200 color copies (some b&w copies too).  And I discovered that my website cards compliment the sheets very nicely since they provide personal data, something the detailed sheets don't include.  It was exhausting, but I had a blast.  The weather couldn't have been better.  The hoards of people that checked out the Prius were all filled with excitement.  And we collected a decent amount of non-perishable goods too.  I didn't win that trophy though.  The other 17 vehicles were pretty impressive.  So, placing in the top third isn't anything to be upset about.  (And we all know my Prius was the cleanest & quietest vehicle, has the smoothest transmission, and gets the best gas mileage.)

9-25-2001

An Aqua Prius.  Passed one on the way to work today.

 

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