Prius Personal Log  #20

January 9, 2002  -  January 21, 2002

Last Updated: Fri. 4/09/2004

    page #19         page #21         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

1-20-2002

What the heck?  Now the state of Oregon is charging hybrid owners a special license fee.  They claim it is to make up for lost revenue that is normally collected through gas purchases.  Then why aren't Geo Metro owners also charged.  Yes, their car is tiny and lacking many features, but the mileage is similar to Prius.  And how come there isn't any type of scale?  All hybrids, regardless of design, are lumped into the same category to pay the same price.  This new annual fee is trivial if you were able to collect a credit from the state at purchase time.  (Of course, if you bought yours used you're out of luck.)  It's the principle of the thing.  Why penalize someone for driving a vehicle that consumes less?  That very thing helps us reduce our dependence on oil imports. 

1-19-2002

Archiving the CLUB messages.  Up to this point, I've been focusing solely on our preferred discussion forum, the GROUP.  Now that work is done.  It's time to shift efforts.  The CLUB was where we founded the Prius "federation".  People were drawn in by the fact that we had 2 executives from Toyota that occasionally provided us with priceless information.  Eventually though, they stopped participating and most of the members moved over to the more accommodating GROUP.  That format is preferred; however, we still don't want to lose the important history we left behind.  So I starting building an archive for the CLUB.  Again, this will help to encourage participation by allowing new members a quick way to catch up with all the messages they missed.  Then they'll more like an active member of the group since they'll be so much better inform.  Also, it will also something we never had before: the ability to search.  And with over 9,000 messages, you can imagine how much is already "lost" just by the simple fact that we can't find where specific information is.

1-18-2002

Checked the exhaust.  Shining a flashlight down the tailpipe revealed a clean interior still.  After nearly 26,000 miles, I'm amazed.  Prius is proving to be very easy on traditional components.  Later in life, that should keep maintenance costs down and allow the vehicle to last an unusually long time.  Great!

1-17-2002

46.1 MPG.  This winter certainly isn't like it was last year.  Then I was getting MPG in the upper-30, lower-40 range.  Having an average temperature around 20 F degrees warmer really makes a difference.

1-16-2002

Thin Ice.  Things are melting.  Winter is starting to feel more like Spring.  Routine Winter pleasures, like ice fishing and snowmobiling on lakes, is becoming dangerous.  My Prius is happy though.  Underneath that awful seasonal filth is a hybrid that's getting great MPG.

1-15-2002

Got an email.  Remember the Prius I saw at the intersection a little over a week ago?  I got an email from the driver saying "Hi!".  He recognized my "1701-A" license and realized I was the one from this website.  Cool!

1-14-2002

Slip & Grip.  Today I experienced the Prius version of traction control.  All last Winter, I let up on the accelerator-pedal whenever I felt the wheels slip.  This time, I kept the pedal at a constant level.  The wheels would start to slip on the road heavily covered with fresh snow, then they would automatically slow down to the point where they would grip.  The slip would begin again, then the grip.  That happened 3 times without any control from me.  It was a feature I had heard others commenting about, but had never experienced it myself.  What a "slick" feature.

1-14-2002

Slow Winter Driving.  There was quite a bit of new snow on the highway and it was still accumulating.  That made everyone be extra cautious.  Not driving as fast causes the MPG really to climb.  That benefit makes Winter much more tolerable.  In fact, it's almost refreshing to drive the same old commute route at a different speed (45 instead of 70 MPH) from time to time.  It's like when I see an accident causing a delay.  (First, I take a moment to be thankful it wasn't me.)  Then I kick back and roll through the delay in stealth.  Everyone else around me is frustrated.  I'm feeling quite good.  Stealth means there's no noise to interfere with the music, no vibration from the engine, and there isn't any gas being wasted.  It's really nice.

1-14-2002

Checked the oil.  It was just barely starting to show some darkening.  I've never heard of any other vehicle (even Insight) being that easy on oil at 3,000 miles.  I'm used to seeing the thick, dark, black stuff at that point.  This was still light & runny like warm pancake syrup.  Not having to do an oil change until 7,500 miles is nice.  And once all my free services are used up, I'll be using 100% synthetic oil (which tends to handle aging even better than actual oil).

1-13-2002

60,000 website hits.  That counter on the home page only provides a rough idea of actual activity throughout the rest of the website.  But it's nice knowing that I still hold the interest of many.  Hopefully, I'm being helpful too.

1-13-2002

Digital Tire Pressure.  Up until now, I've been using a really nice analog tire gauge.  That trip to the Mall ultimately got me to Brookstone.  $30 bought a great tire gauge replacement.  It's an extremely well built device (large aluminum housing & rubber shock guards) with an illuminated digital readout (accurate to 0.5 PSI) and a hard storage-case.  I'm definitely impressed.  It will make routinely checking pressure much nicer.

1-13-2002

A bit of Stealth fun.  I couldn't resist.  The thaw has ended and snow is falling again.  I wanted a final fling using that special term.  So I drove over to the Mall Of America, then slowly & silently rolled around in the parking ramp.  There were several people that had absolutely no clue I was following them.  Then when I flipped the lights on or said "Hi" through the open window they were pleasantly surprised.  (Somehow I've learned to not startle people anymore.  That's nice.)  Anyway, that was a lot of fun.  Tomorrow's commute will be much colder and whiter.  When will Spring finally arrive?

1-13-2002

Origin of "Stealth Mode".  It's a very well known term now.  That's what owners use to point out the electric-only drive feature unique to the Prius.  The Honda hybrids don't offer it.  Thinking about that made me curious.  So today I asked on the Yahoo Group if anyone remembered who and what experience lead to the result of coining the term "stealth mode".  The reply pointed out Maggie from Tokyo, Japan describing her first-generation Prius.  In message 79 on 6/30/2000 she mentioned, "stealth car" mode.  That obviously made an impression on me.  One month and one day later, in message 295 describing my test drive experience in a second-generation Prius here in the United States I specifically stated, stealth mode.  That was the first time anyone had ever said it that way here.  I unknowingly played a role in the creation of that term.  Sweet!!  (Thanks Maggie!)

1-13-2002

Archive Message Indexes.  Now there are two sorted indexes available, complete with hyperlinks, for the first 24,999 messages on the Prius Yahoo GROUP.  One provides a list in numeric posted order, the other provides a list based on subject threads.

1-12-2002

Odometer Photo.  Since I was updating the Info-Sheet, it made sense including a more up-to-date photo.  The original mileage shown was 10,015 miles, now it shows 25,510.  See:  photo album 27

1-12-2002

Info-Sheet now available in PDF.  Countless people had requested a PDF version of the Prius Info-Sheet, even though a Word version was already available.  I kept trying, but it took until now to finally figure out how to deliver a photo quality version complete with true-type text and an accurate layout.  After all, making printouts was the goal not online viewing.  So a very big thank you to all those that helped me out.  Without the samples and suggestions you created & shared, I may have never figured it out.  Phew!  The PDF is done now:  info-sheet

1-12-2002

Saw that little light in the mirror.  It looked familiar in the dark like that.  But at the crowded intersection, that's all I could see.  Then the light turned green.  I quickly opened my window and started waving my arm out it.  Sure enough, there approached a Silver Prius with a very excited owner looking back at me.  Sweet!

1-12-2002

First two Prius TV Commercials improved.  Because the original video source was already digitally optimized, I didn't until recently know how to improve the quality.  Now the video is much brighter (no more shadow washout) and the bit-rate is much higher (smoother playback).  The new versions of the "Nature Approves" and "The True Car Of The Future" commercials are on:  video files

1-11-2002

Bill Maher endorses the Prius.  He was given an opportunity to speak on "The O'Reilly Factor" today.  That was Bill's opportunity to passionately sound off again about the great car he bought and strongly believes in: Toyota Prius.  And he fantastic job of it too.

1-11-2002

MPEG-1 format Video Files.  It was really bothering me that I the last few Prius videos I shared could not be viewed by MAC users.  MPEG-4 format offers noticeably higher quality with much smaller file sizes, but Apple support for it won't be available until sometime in the Spring.  So I struggled and struggled until I finally found a way to deliver a file small enough that still offered acceptable quality.  (The technique is a bit on the complex side.  And I've received several requests to spell out how I render all those videos.  So watch for a new digital page explaining exactly that.)  There were 3 videos in MPEG-4 that are also now available in MPEG-1.  You'll find them on the following Prius page:   video files

1-10-2002

Cameron Diaz talks about her Prius.  I caught a rerun of that great interview of her on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.  Now you can see it too:  video files

1-10-2002

Did it again.  That power climb two days ago was so much fun, I had to do it again.  The feeling of seamlessly switching power sources is fascinating.

1-09-2002

Don't take us for Fuels!  All right.  What's the deal?  A new United States federal initiative was announced today to advance fuel cell technology to reduce dependence on foreign oil and emissions.  Funding will cease for hybrid development and the money will used for this initiative instead.  Being an owner of a hybrid for 1.5 years now, that was frustrating to hear.  I know quite well that hybrid technology is very realistic.  But the real cause for concern is those fuel cell vehicles aren't even expected for a whole decade.  The United States alone buys 17 million new vehicles every year.  That means there's at least 25 million are actually purchased worldwide annually.  10 years times 25 million calculates to around 250 million new vehicles produced between now and then.  If most were hybrids, that would really make a difference.  But that looks very unlikely at this point.  This allows the US carmakers to deliver nothing in the meantime (while Toyota is making a profit selling Prius).  Oil will still continue to be consumed at an alarming rate in the meantime and emissions will continue to add to the worsening environmental problems.  That does not make me happy.  Of course, getting upset means I will promote the Prius even more.  The world needs to know that there's a realistic solution already available.

1-09-2002

Aqua Prius sighting.  Whoa!  I keep seeing Prius.  The invasion of the hybrids has begun.

1-09-2002

Squished Rabbit.  I'm driving along a desolate 4-lane road.  The only light is that coming from the Prius high-beams.  In the distance, approaching the wet road from the side, I see a rabbit hopping along.  It was determined to get to the other side.  There was plenty of time, so I kept driving at 45 MPH.  The rabbit hopped across, waited a few moments, then suddenly decided to double-back.  The rabbit was only 20 feet from the Prius when I realized I had to make an emergency decision.  I was so close I could see his eye.  I screamed!  "Squished Rabbit" wasn't a good plan.  That resulted in me aggressively turning the wheel and propelling the Prius into the opposing lanes.  I avoided an unpleasant experience.  In fact, if the Prius could talk, she would have said "That was really fun!  Do it again!"  Those tires with 25,413 miles on them, along with the great steering & suspension, handled that situation without any trouble.  Cool.

1-09-2002

Check out the Silver Prius.  That sounded suspicious.  I was with a group of friends on the way to lunch.  There was a new Prius parked in front of the building.  Hmm?  Sure enough, they were trying to confuse me.  I caught on though and got the owner to unintentionally reveal himself.  It was great!  And I bet they were all relieved.  I can't imagine what they had to endure not telling me for the last 4 months that he had ordered a Prius.  He tossed over the keys.  I got to drive that Silver Prius with only 211 miles on it.  The feel of the acceleration and brakes was virtually identical to mine.  I was even able to show off with it.  Climbing a steep hill with 4 adults inside, I was able to maintain 30 MPH in stealth mode.  That was fun!  Now I really can't wait for the Spring Gathering when I'll be able to see a whole bunch of hybrids all at once.

 

back to home page       go to top