Prius Personal Log  #205

June 13, 2005  -  June 20, 2005

Last Updated: Sun. 7/10/2005

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6-20-2005

Now.  It's hard to believe that some people were freaking out about $50 per barrel not too long ago.  Now, we are facing the reality of $60.  How long do you think it will it take before everyone else figures out what's happened?  There were quite a number of people that became so obsessed with size & power they completely lost perspective... which makes me wonder what kind of reaction they'll have once they begin noticing hybrids everywhere.  This "turn of the century" is looking to be as profound as the previous, and both were based on the automobile.

6-20-2005

More Shots.  Documenting the MPG climb up on the Consumption Screen... photo album 95

6-20-2005

$59.37 per barrel.  The nightmare is officially in progress.  Prices only in the 30's are now just a distant memory, even though they were less than a year ago.  I got grief for years, spending so much time & money on the website.  No one really expected oil prices spinning out of control until the next decade, even me.  But having been a boy scout, I made the "Be Prepared" motto a fundamental of my life.  Now it's paying off.  Phew!  The unprecedented discounts certain automakers are now giving to quickly reduce their stock is a clear sign that significant change is near.  But what's really next?  I can't imagine a bulk of the population suddenly switching to small economy vehicles, especially since word is out about Prius being larger, faster, cleaner, and more efficient.  Bio-Fuel production can't possibly be increased quickly or inexpensively.  And of course, increasing hybrid production has some challenges too.  In other words, demand for oil is going to remain high for awhile.  So don't expect gas prices to come down soon.  In fact, don't expect them to come down much ever again.  There are plenty of excuses now to keep them at the current level.  After all, what incentive do providers have to reduce prices?  Aren't you glad Prius is so well established already?  Some owners in the United States are now approaching their 5-year anniversary and the 100,000 mile mark.

6-19-2005

100% Comments.  When will people stop talking about how much energy it takes to produce fuel?  It should be blatantly obvious that a 100% return isn't going to happen.  Only a stored energy already existing, like fossil fuels, gives you something from "nothing".  The goal is really to find a new "source", one that requires less energy to harness than the others.  How come no one expects a home furnace to ever be 100% efficient?  They simply purchase an "energy efficient" one that rates in the 90's, saying that's perfectly acceptable.  But when it comes to the efficiency of producing a fuel, they actually expect it to deliver greater than 100% (a net gain)?  That's quite unrealistic.  Only electricity itself can come from "nothing" when a renewable source like solar or wind is used.  But that is far from being readily available.  Our infrastructure currently requires a combustible fuel for the production of fuel.  Obviously, that process will never be 100% efficient.  So we have to settle for a "as close as possible" approach for now.  I suggest dismissing any "100%" comment that isn't followed by a suggestion.  What do you suggest?

6-19-2005

Startled.  I got quite an unexpected laugh today.  A parking attendant was leaning back in a chair reading a newspaper, not facing me at all.  The sense he was using to inform him of an approaching vehicle was obviously sound, which I could imagine working quite well before I came along.  Because as I stealthed up to him, he suddenly jumped and the paper went flying.  The silence allowed me to arrive there undetected, until that final moment when apparently a change of lighting (reflection from the car) alerted him to my presence.  It was a rather funny sight seeing him get startled like that.  Do you think he'll change the way he waits for vehicles now?

6-18-2005

Minnesota Gathering.  It was a perfect summer day.  In fact, we even more than we expected: 4 other Prius (3 Classic & 1 HSD) drove by as we were sitting out there swapping hybrid stories!  So between the 15 that were there for the gathering and the ones we spotted, the count comes to 19.  That's likely some kind of record for the Midwest.  As for the gathering itself, we ran out of consecutive parking spots.  But from one of the photos (not available yet, but soon), you can see 13 Prius all at once.  This story swapping was very informal.  Next time, I'd like to introduce a "round the table" type activity, giving those that would like to address everyone an opportunity.  The smaller conversations were great though.  I even ended up with a few suggestions for the User-Guide.  Take a look at what we did... photo album 97

6-18-2005

Nissan hybrid to be built locally.  This is yet another example of how hybrids will actually increase jobs.  Part of last year's republican election platform was the repeated claim that they would cause jobs to be lost.  It turns out that exactly the opposite is happening.  Nissan will be employing workers in Smyrna, Tennessee to build Altima-Hybrid.  Toyota will be employing workers in Georgetown, Kentucky to build Camry-Hybrid.  Ford is already employing working in Kansas City to build Escape-Hybrid, and there upcoming hybrid sedan will be built locally too.  When will doubters about hybrid technology finally admit that this offers a new opportunity for the struggling automotive industry.  Jobs will clearly be retained, not lost.  And realistically, there will actually be some gain too.  The battery industry will obviously get new production opportunities from this.

6-17-2005

$50,000 Goal.  It's about dang time they officially stated a formal goal for the anticipated price for a fuel-cell vehicle.  I've been complaining about how the plug-in hybrid initiative is quite misleading, focusing on the technology itself rather than the market they hope to serve.  They didn't bother to set a price-point.  They were somehow just hoping they'd find customers.  But at a $12,000 premium, forget it.  Setting a more realistic goal of an additional $5,000 over the price of a "full" hybrid would stand a much greater chance of successful.  But they didn't.  Too bad.  It doesn't take much research to find that out that Prius was derived that way.  A target price was established a very, very long time ago.  Now that threshold is being exceeded, where the technology can realistically be used in non-specialized vehicles too... as we are now witnessing with Highlander-Hybrid and with the upcoming Camry-Hybrid.  Anywho, that $50,000 price is what Toyota will be working to achieve in the next 10 years.  That is what they hope to be selling a fuel-cell vehicle for by 2015.  Right now, the current price-tag of $1,000,000 is (obviously) way too expensive.  And needless to say, those that kept claiming fuel-cell vehicles would somehow miraculously be the same price as a traditional vehicles are by 2010 have nothing to say anymore.  Clearly, that won't happen for quite awhile.

6-17-2005

MPGoG.  Should I start listing my efficiency average as MPGoG (MPG of Gas) now?  Ethanol is suddenly get a whole lot of attention.  I've been using the 10% blend (E10) the entire time I've owned a Prius.  So technically, I'm only consuming 90% gas.  That makes the total of 735.649 gallons is actually only 662.084, which calculates to 54.1 MPGoG.  Seeing that, rather than the 48.6 MPG listed on my homepage, sure would get people's attention.  That 10% is renewable and not derived from oil, fulfilling the requirement to reduce consumption.  That is a goal of Prius, but I'm not sure people are ready for that.  Imagine if my Prius had been fitted to use E85.  The value would calculate to 324.3 MPGoG.  People definitely won't understand that.

6-17-2005

Planning for the worst.  Oil hit its highest price ever today:  $58.47 per barrel.  The massive discounts our desperate automakers are giving now on gas-guzzlers are encouraging consumption, making this ugly situation even worse.  Today I saw an advertisement on a Ford Explorer, featuring the "pay the same as employees" discount.  It stated the price was reduced over $11,000 from the MSRP.  That kind savings easily pays for the gas difference, making the justification to buy one pretty simple.  However, it does absolutely nothing to reduce our dependence on imported oil.  With no way to significantly increase the production of hybrids and certain automakers losing massive amounts of money, the situation is clearly going to get worse.  And with worldwide demand continuing to rise, it's quite unrealistic to expect things to get better for years to come.  The best we can hope for is to stabilize prices.  Everyone that has purchased a Prius was planning for the worst, endorsing the technology with hopes it would become mainstream before the need for it did... which is now!  So naturally, I find it quite redeeming that the anti-hybrid talk is rapidly dissipating.

6-16-2005

$56.58 per barrel.  The race to $60 continues.  Some are naturally curious to see how high it will go.  I'm more curious how long it will stay there.  How do you feel about this growing-worse-by-the-day situation?

6-15-2005 Broken Promises.  We keep hearing this same old story over and over.  The president has, yet again, made a promise about supporting hybrids that would be shocking if he actually kept.  This time, I'm going to provide the entire paragraph rather than choosing my favorite sentence.  It could come in handy when referring back to the promise later:

"The first step toward making America less dependent on foreign oil is to improve conservation and efficiency. That's why this conference is an important conference, and I want to thank you for holding it. Hybrid vehicles are one of the most promising technologies immediately available to consumers. There are some interesting things taking place in the market place that will help achieve this part, this step of less dependency on foreign sources of oil. Hybrid automobiles are powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity. Some can travel twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles. Hybrids produce lower emissions. To help consumers conserve gas and protect the environment, I propose that every American who purchases a hybrid vehicle receive a tax credit of up to $4,000. We're trying to encourage people to make right choices in the market place that will make us less dependent on foreign sources of oil and to help improve our environment."

Support for hybrids gets mentioned, but nothing ever becomes of it.  Our hopes have been broken several times in the past already.  Heck, not getting any money but being provided with an "America Needs Hybrids" campaign would be great.  Instead, we keep hearing far more about drilling for oil in Alaska... which wouldn't be needed at all if he was serious about hybrids.  Don't believe this until at least a very minimum details are provided.  Note how extraordinarily vague that "up to" qualifier is.  It could end up that new owners won't qualify for anything more than the deduction currently available (a few hundred dollars).  Remember, the Detroit automakers have been begging for this for years... yet nothing has ever materialized for them

6-14-2005

Double-Standard.  For traditional vehicles... "It was only a fluke." "Only a few were affected." "Don't worry about it."  For hybrids... "They'll all fail." "The entire market will collapse."  I'm hearing comments like that far too often.  That kind of double-standard is clearly non-objective, but those supporting the Big-3 don't care though.  Many are doing everything they can to ignore the true success of the hybrid system in Prius.  They don't even want to face a denial situation.  The hope is that their favorite automakers will somehow catch up if they can stall for time long enough.  Too bad.  I'm going to keep right on documenting my experiences... which have all been quite different from the failure they are attempting to portray.

6-13-2005

More European Photos.  These are from Santander, Spain... owner in Spain

6-13-2005

2005 Millennium Silver Prius.  It's very rewarding hearing the excitement from new owners, especially one that just happens to have a Prius that looks just like mine.  Here's the photos he cheerfully shared... owner:  Russ

6-13-2005

Great Owner Photos.  Check these out.  Prius in blooming... owner in Holland

6-13-2005

"You pay what we pay."  Employee discounts are being offered on an unbelievable magnitude.  GM is going nuts trying to unload their inventory.  I wonder what will happen next.

6-13-2005

$55.62 per barrel.  The momentum is building.  An upward trend is very easy to see now.  This is really bad.  Nothing is in place to this on the large-scale.  It will definitely get worse before things get better.

6-13-2005

Speeding.  Reducing driving speed down to the legal limit is unquestionably the easiest thing any person could ever do to improve their MPG.  They don't need to give up their vehicle.  They don't even need to change the method in which drive, nor the time or route.  All they have to do is obey the law.  Why isn't this being publicized?

 

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