Prius Personal Log  #256

March 12, 2006  -  March 14, 2006

Last Updated: Sun. 5/21/2006

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3-14-2006

$2.35 to $2.55 per gallon.  Something really weird is happening now with gas prices.  We've grown to accept the rapid & unexplainable 20 cent swings.  But that had always been uniform, consistent from brand to brand within hours of each other.  But now for over a day sometimes, the price change doesn't always occur everywhere.  You can literally go across the street to save a decent amount of money.  Why?  This is definitely new.  I never observed anything this odd before in the past.  So what is different now?  Clearly, we aren't being told the whole story.  This may actually be a sign that allows for some cautious speculation about the global oil situation.  Combined with the permanent price we've endured, it is evidence the market is being influenced in a way it hadn't in the past.

3-14-2006

50,000 Mile - Oil Change.  It was time to crawl under the Prius again.  Cool!

3-14-2006

Oil Spill.  So... what happened?  I briefly heard a comment on the news today and an equally brief photo of what was apparently the worse oil spill on land in Alaska ever.  You'd think something like that would be given far more attention.  But these aren't normal times.  There is quite a bit of hidden-agenda at word now.  Downplaying certainly "ugly" events is a common practice.  Claims like "it will hurt the economy" are used as excuses when questioned as to why.  The motive is simple: greed.  And sometimes that is accompanied by a good dose of "fear of change".

3-14-2006

Large Cargo.  Today I bought a 3-wheel recumbent bike.  It's big, so big you cannot just lay it down inside the back of the Prius like a regular bike.  So the mystery of whether or not it would fit had me on edge.  But taking off the front wheel accommodated the length requirement and folding down the handle-bars and the back-rest took care of the height.  It fit!  I didn't even have to give up the front passenger seat either.  That was quite a relief.  I know Prius is large, but such an awkward object like that could make things difficult.  Now I guess I'm going to be putting that strap-on bike-rack to good use.  Squishing both bikes back in there is totally out of the question.  Fortunately, the 3-wheel is narrow enough to allow quite a bit of cargo inside still.  So trips up north with the bikes will be no big deal.  Sweet!

3-14-2006

I'd say it's ignorance, not resistance.  That was an interesting comment posted online today.  I'm almost ready to agree with that too.  Only having the ignorance remaining to deal with would be great.  My guess is once 2007 starts, that will actually be the case.  Camry-Hybrid really needs to take a good foothold first, before people will accept the fact that the hybrid revolution will continue due to HSD success... not just Prius.  Patience.  That's always required.  But reading countless messages filled with resistance for no reason is frustrating.  But that's how you can tell.  If they don't even bother to explain why, they are fighting change itself... rather than the technology.  When they describe hybrid operation incorrectly, especially if it is due to a basic misunderstanding, then you have a sign that the situation is improving.  It shows that they are at least attempting to grasp the concept.  Right now, some still don't even bother.

3-13-2006

Based on Advertising.  Here's a brand new anti-hybrid argument that emerged today.  The claim was that since so much was being spent on advertising Toyota's large guzzling vehicles that they were the popular ones, as if that's how market demand is measured.  Such a backward idea hadn't crossed my mind.  Prius sells so well that advertising isn't even necessary.  So all we get is a rarely seen television commercial a few times per year.  And they have emphasis placed on HSD, only using Prius as a "it uses it" type reference.  Could you imagine if Toyota actually did have an advertisement blitz for Prius like they routinely do for their other vehicles.  Whoa!  That would cause an awful waiting-list, far worse than the deliver delay owners currently have to endure.

3-13-2006

Counting Errors.  I hadn't realized that practice has spread.  For me, it's been routine for years... a method of tolerating just how poorly informed a majority of the article writers are.  Reading the same misconceptions continuing to be spread is very frustrating.  Of course, there's the assumptions too.  You wonder just how many reporters actually have driven a Prius.  But it's the blatant errors that really stir the emotion.  Consequently, I count to restrain it.  The higher the number, the less credibility I give that person.  And after awhile, you begin to recognize names.  So that does carry some weight.  Anywho, I have recently noticed just how much other enthusiasts are now doing the same thing!

3-13-2006

Extremism, part 3.  The point of that original post and the reply that followed was to determine what their strategy has now become.  I had detected a change.  The growing fear of Camry-Hybrid is making the antagonist sloppy, causing them to no longer conceal their intent as well as they did in the past.  The theme of labeling those who support hybrids as extremists was emerging.  So when that outdated article was posted, I sprang.  After all, when they are so desperate for material that they'll dig up stuff from 5 years ago, who could resist?  They make it way too easy!  And sure enough, they responded by calling me an extremist, even though my actions are nothing special.  All I do is drive my Prius to & from work, around the suburbs, and on occasional trips.  But they make it seem as though I'm making a huge sacrifice of money, performance, comfort, and safety for the sake of protecting the environment and our national security... as if I'm trying to save the planet all by myself.  It's so absurd that the whole situation is ridiculous.  I see Prius everywhere, several per day.  They're simply the new technology, replacing the old just like cycle we've seen many times over the decades.  There's nothing extreme about that.  Automatic Transmissions, Radial Tires, Halogen Lights, Fuel Injection, Anti-Lock Brakes, Air Bags, Side Curtains... they were all faced with resistance in the past too, yet are standard now.  How is this any different?  After all, Prius is 8 years old.  There is nothing else to test at this point.  The technology is already well proven.  But those fearing change choose to call those that embrace it extremists, attempting to make it appear as though it is a huge risk... even though it is actually rather trivial.  On what basis is the "extreme" label the slightest bit appropriate?  Using a Prius is no different than a traditional vehicle.  The pedals & steering-wheel are the same.  The way you refuel is the same.  Heck, the fuel itself is the same too.  For that matter, routine maintenance (oil, filters, tires, wipers, etc.) are also the same.  What's the immense difference they claim?

3-13-2006

Extremism, part 2.  Thanks!  That sudden surge of panic replies in response to my message was exactly what I had predicted.  They were loaded with implications, misleading information, and denial of long-term goals.  Go ahead if you want to keep feeding the anti-hybrid research.  It will make for great data later to reflect upon... as the numbers and variety of hybrids continue to grow.

3-13-2006

Extremism, part 1.  Ha!  I haven't had that good of a laugh in a long time.  Raising the CAFE standards is exactly what's needed.  Instead, they didn't.  As a result, the quote the author wrote has proven totally incorrect: "The more fuel-efficient automobiles become, the more people want to drive."  Look closer.  Those comments were written over 5 years ago.  Since then, overall MPG has actually dropped.  It is now lower than it was back then.  And guess what, people are driving more despite that.  Both commute congestion and smog-related emissions have become worse too.  So the purpose of that commentary has completely backfired.  Since then, the "full" hybrid has proven its worth by demonstrating that it not only outperforms automatic diesel efficiency under every driving condition but it is still considerably cleaner than even the cleanest system available using low-sulfur diesel.  On top of that, the new advanced lithium-ion batteries are looking to improve the efficiency even more.  Of course, no matter how much people want to tie up CAFE standards with political debate, it is not stopping Prius sales & production from continuing to increase.  And the availability of Camry-Hybrid will crush any last remaining doubt.  So the consumer mindset is changing regardless of whether there is a law to support it or not.

3-13-2006

$1,000 Incentive.  The dealer discounts have become a common practice now.  Sales of Escape-Hybrid have slowed.  You didn't think I was talking about Prius.  Did you!?!  That would be frightening.  The problem isn't their hybrid technology.  That actually works surprisingly well.  It's the vehicle itself.  Escape was never a popular SUV in the first place.  The market simply wasn't interested in one so small before.  In fact, the struggle Ford had to find a location to build the hybrid is still a vivid memory.  Predicting demand for their traditional version was difficult enough.  The hybrid was likely to add to that mess.  And it has.  Too bad Ford isn't even talking about delivering a hybrid version of Fusion anymore.  I thought for sure this year's auto show circuit would have hyped it.  But instead, there's been nothing but a Super Bowl commercial and a magazine advertisement for the SUV.  That's it!  Why aren't they working toward diversifying their hybrid selection, like Toyota and Honda is doing?

3-13-2006

We'll do it if we have to.  That horrible attitude prevails.  Is our culture really that greedy & lazy?  Having to be forced to do the absolute minimum is nothing to be proud of.  But that attitude is plentiful.  Arrgh!  Why don't these domestic automakers take emissions & efficiency seriously.  Don't they realize that the market wants choices?  Of course, the emphasis on quarterly profits (or in this case, losses) explains a lot.  But that is a very disturbing reality.  Investing in the future should have been part of their philosophy.  It wasn't though.  And because of that lack of planning (or care), they are now desperate to just survive.  That's encouraging.

3-13-2006

Obsessed with Estimates.  Someone actually sent a request to the EPA to get their data from the Prius estimate testing.  Why?  Basing an assessment of the technology on just a single test under a set of specific circumstances will prove absolutely nothing.  Real-World Long-Term Data is the only proper method to place judgment upon.  Owners overwhelming report 47.5 MPG as the median for HSD Prius, a genuine overall average taking every possible condition imaginable into account.  Isn't that what should matter.  What's the obsession with the estimates?  Don't bother wasting effort on the futile endeavor of trying to figure out the results of a particular test... since that is clearly not representative of what to actually expect anyway.

3-12-2006

Intriguing.  Buried within an online financial article about Toyota I was reading today, this particular seemingly unimportant sentence really got my attention: "Fuji Heavy has developed a manganese lithium-ion hybrid battery which lasts at least 50 percent longer than current batteries."  Could that be that next step forward in hybrid technology that Toyota has been hinting about?  And what would that mean with respect to the supply relationship Toyota has with Panasonic?  Of course, without any technical specifications (and rather importantly price) it's just speculation.  All kinds of things could actually happen.  Perhaps there could be a battery type choice someday, where your hybrid purchase includes your own particular performance and price requirements... allowing that vehicle to have the characteristics you desire.  After all, that exists now for many traditional vehicles.  Why not for hybrids too?  Whatever the case, thinking about the possibilities does aim focus in the right direction.  Working to evolve the technology first starts with an idea.

3-12-2006

Redeemed.  It sure feels good to have an epiphany.  I had one recently.  I feel redeemed from it.  Rather than just accept my situation, I'm entitled to fight for it.  So that's exactly what I'm doing now.  For the longest time, I was given grief by those close to me about how much time I spend typing up these personal logs.  Then it hit me.  Many of them really enjoy reading.  Someone has to write what they read.  Many people enjoy reading my stuff.  Why can't I say writing them is what I do for enjoyment?  After all, that's true.  I do.  But by not knowing any that, the sense of pleasure was pushed aside.  Thinking about it, music is the same way though.  Few actually create it.  But many enjoy it.  So isn't this similar?  After all, what I do is historical archiving of events as seen through the eyes of a participant.  That is actually a benefit.  But even it if wasn't, I still enjoy doing it anyway.  The act of prompt documentation forces me to consider each situation much more meticulously than just recalling them later, long after they occurred.  It's like I'm providing my own exposition to confirm what actually happened.  Cool!

 

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