Prius Personal Log  #214

August 5, 2005  -  August 11, 2005

Last Updated: Sat. 8/13/2005

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8-11-2005

Other Forums for Other Vehicles.  Setting up a forum is pretty simple nowadays.  You just need access to a server with a lot of bandwidth and some canned software.  That software has become so easy to use it really can be considered plug & play... which is why we are seeing more of the same forum type (graphics layouts with lots of features, not those text-only threads from back in the old days of bulletin-boards) showing up all over the internet.  There's quite a diverse world of vehicle discussions online now.  It's not rare anymore, like it was when messages about Prius first started appearing in the public 5 years ago.  Needless to point out, it is quite interesting what they have to say... since efficiency is a rather popular discussion topic lately.  The closet cousin to Prius is likely Scion, since it has a uniqueness of its own too.  The usage logs for my website highlighted a Scion forum that had made quite a few references to my website.  So I checked it out.  There was a thread about vehicle choices, naturally the topic of MPG can up.  Someone crunched the numbers.  Scion (all varieties) was agreed upon as getting about a 30 MPG average.  That really surprised me.  I expected them to get more.  Anywho, they stated 50 MPG as the average for Prius.  I was impressed.  They were pretty honest about both numbers.  Hmm.  That's a far cry from that massive Escape forum, which is still very anti-hybrid.  I'll keep looking.  I'm curious as heck what other forums I'll find.  It turns out that Prius wasn't particularly special for a discussion point-of-view, it was just a number of years ahead of the competition.

8-11-2005

It's Over.  I wasn't expecting to be able to achieve a sense of completion already.  But there aren't anymore battles to fight.  With the price of oil now at an amazing $65.80 per barrel and soaring gas prices with no end in sight, it's over.  The weak arguments of the past against "full" hybrid technology simply don't work now.  How can anyone possibly say there is no interest in reducing consumption (spending less to fill the tank) and reducing dependence (being at the mercy of supply problems)?  And how can an automaker endorse a design that doesn't provide much of an improvement?  It has become obvious that a solution like Prius is realistic.  So... what will the next stage of market recognition bring?

8-10-2005

Marathon MPG, part 3.  Remarkable timing...  My mother called me just this morning asking for help with her Corolla (a used rental purchased just 3 months ago).  Naturally, the engine light came on while my father out of state.  Anywho, I tried to help out.  Playing with the car, I couldn't figure out what the heck was wrong.  So, I brought it to the dealer.  Turns out that the charcoal-canister was causing the problem.  See the connection to the marathon?  That canister is located above gas tank, connected by a pipe that is "suppose" to carry only vapor.  But if you try to squeeze as much gas as possible into the tank, that excess will flow up that pipe and end up contaminating the charcoal.  They filled the 11.9 gallon Prius tank with 12.8 gallons of gas.  Where do you think that extra gas went?  And how many times do you think you could do that before the engine light to comes on?  (Apparently, just a little bit longer than the rental company keeps their cars.)  In other words, that MPG stunt was loaded with things not to do to your Prius.  I strongly suggest you don't try what they did.

8-10-2005

Crunch.  Oops!  As I was rounding a corner, I saw large chunks of a glass bottle spread across the road.  There was no where to go (single lane ramps with curbs).  I couldn't stop either (a pickup following very closely).  Avoidance was impossible.  I had to hope for the best.  I heard & felt it crunch under one of the tires.  Fortunately, no flat.  Phew!  Tire damage from sharp objects is supposed to be less the harder the rubber is.  The firmness provide resistance.  But I always wondered just how far that reasoning could be taken, especially with an extremely hard rubber like that on my tires now.  Apparently, quite a bit.  Either that or I totally lucked out.  Whatever the case, I'm sure glad the tire wasn't damaged.

8-10-2005

Marathon MPG, part 2.  They used a "pulse and glide" technique.  Accelerate up to 40 MPH.  Slowly allow the vehicle to decelerate down to 30 MPH.  Then repeat... and repeat... and repeat... and repeat.  You get the point.  It is an extremely impractical way to drive, something I have never endorsed.  Can you imagine what it would be like to follow a Prius continuously changing speeds like that?  It quite simply misrepresents Prius.  That is not a true depiction of what a "joe consumer" would ever do in a Prius and certainly not what they do with their current vehicle.  That's why only ordinary long-term real-world averages are what we should publicize.  What was the true purpose of that?  None of the forums for competing hybrids are talking about it, despite many press releases.  So this was a definite success from a "divide & conquer" stand point.  Now, Prius alone shines as the ultimate MPG champ.  But since that isn't what most new owners will actually experience for efficiency, I don't like it.  What's wrong with telling people Prius delivers about a 50 MPG average?

8-08-2005

"If you can find a better car... buy it."  I love that "better" comment... since most everyone else hates it, because they can't actually find something better than a Prius.  To significantly reduce emissions & consumption in a reliable & cost-effective manner.  That purpose is my motto, which just kills the competition.  To fulfill it, the vehicle must be SULEV.  That alone limits the selection quite a bit.  Then to also require a big MPG improvement, forget it.  And thinking cost & reliability will come from automakers so far behind is nothing but a dream.  Toyota set out to build a winning design.  The competition didn't care.  Now they do.  But it's too late.  Gas prices are rapidly climbing and they have nothing to sell.  In fact, they are struggling to unload their current inventory of gas-guzzlers.  Having to provide "employee pricing" is a clear sign of significant change on the way, whether they like or not.  Someday something better will be available, but not anytime soon.

8-08-2005

The New Diesel.  I realize it was a total fluke, that I just happened to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, but I couldn't help but to completely lose it.  I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time!  Only a handful of the 2006 Jetta have caught my eye so far.  Not a single one of them was the new diesel (cleaner, but still not even ULEV).  This one did have a "TDI" badge on it.  That wasn't necessary identify it though.  The pristine white paint in the back corner of the car was coated with a thick layer of black soot, and there was a black cloud puffing out of the tailpipe.  It was a diesel-supporter's worse nightmare, the stereotype of the past seen on a 2006 model.  Something was obviously wrong with the car.  My guess is the owner mistakenly filled the tank with gas rather than diesel.  But it was so funny to see!  I wonder what kind of damage that does to the system.  Hmm?

8-08-2005

$63.94 per barrel.  That equates to $2.45 per gallon.  The economy in general is at risk now.  Oil & Gas prices have an influence that simply cannot be avoided.

8-07-2005

Victory.  Being on the hybrid frontlines for over 5 years now has proven very worthwhile.  I've endured so many online battles that I can lead offensives without needing to research extensively anymore, since I've got plenty of real-world data available now.  That can crush even the most disingenuous of anti-hybrid attacks.  It makes the responses rather fun too.  And that's without even taking into account the recent surge in oil prices.  My approach has always been to focus on the technology, not any particular vehicle.  So Prius bashing doesn't work; however, its overwhelming success does present an aspect of spite.  That technology will continue to be enhanced too, making the inevitable very difficult to deny.  With Toyota stating the goal of 25% of its United States sales to be hybrids by early next decade, how can anyone argue against the viability?  Things are not going well for those that don't believe in the technology... so bad that it won't be long before I can stand with the other soldiers and finally declare victory.

8-07-2005

Recharge.  It recharges every time you hit the brake.  Yeah!  I finally have a copy of that new Prius television commercial to share with others... video files

8-07-2005

Green Line.  It's hard to believe that GM actually announced their "Green Line" for Saturn today.  But they did.  It will be a very mild design, supposedly with just barely enough assist to actually qualify it as a hybrid.  I can't imagine how much a 42-volt system could provide though.  They claim the MPG improvement will be 10 percent.  Will anyone care?  The extra cost will be rather hard to justify when those first Saturn "hybrids" become available in 2007.  By then, they'll be competing with Camry-Hybrid.  Perhaps, a Highlander-Hybrid with an emphasis on efficiency will be available then as well.  Prius will be all over the place, and it will be celebrating its 10th anniversary too.  It just doesn't make any sense that they'd be touting such a minor efficiency gain.  And of course, there is no smog-related emission reduction expected at all.  That certainly doesn't give GM supporters a whole lot to look forward to.

8-07-2005

Summer Photos.  They're always a welcome sight.  There's nothing like the arrival of the warm season.  It's a good thing too.  I'm over a year behind in publishing photos now!  Oh well.  Better late than never... photo album 98

8-07-2005

Shadow Effect.  I added that effect to all 1,248 thumbnails of the photos in my album.  Phew!  That took forever.  Each file had to be individually opened, applied, and saved-as.  Then each webpage had to be updated to reflect the new image size.  It was well worth it.  Now that most people has higher resolution screens and higher speed connections, it's nice to be able to provide more for them.  I added a border to each thumbnail too.  Now each indicates whether or not the full-size version has been downloaded.  Having so many photos now, I thought that would be rather helpful.  Both should improve the "user experience" when viewing the album pages.

8-06-2005

25% Goal.  That's what Toyota recently announced as their sales target in the United States for hybrids early in the next decade.  I like the way they stated that.  Most people don't have any idea how much a number like 500,000 actually represents.  But in proportion to total sales, that's an entirely different matter.  The percentage will be much better understood than an amount.  It makes the commitment to the technology very clear.

8-05-2005

Non-Constructive Posts.  It's like the last battle online.  A handful of Honda supporters are giving their all, one big finale.  Things are different now, and they know it.  In the past, all they didn't to do was attack leaders like me.  That doesn't work anymore.  Attempts to personally discredit draw little attention.  Efforts to derail a discussion by posting off-topic don't have that much effect.  Overwhelming with irrelevant facts tends to flop too.  Everything they do to try to label Prius fails.  Getting the technology to fit into the same category as the competition is hopeless.  Far too many people realize that they are not the same.  But despite all that arguing from them, the reality that it was self-inflicted really hurts.  Honda should have rolled out the new Civic-Hybrid first, complete with a SULEV emission rating.  Instead, it was Accord-Hybrid ...which has become the icon for what hybrids should not be.  In other words, they are digging themselves into a hole.  All those non-constructive posts is helping to establish unity for the "full" hybrid design, focusing on technical abilities rather than brand loyalty.  Sweet!

8-05-2005

$62.31 per barrel.  Remember when $50 was feared and how gas stations would rather lose a few cents per gallon of gas than have a price starting with a $2 displayed?  Those days of it starting with a $1 are over.  We are well past that point, in fact.  Returning back to the oil barrel prices in the mid 40's is becoming just a dream.  That means gas prices will stay high too.

 

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