Prius Personal Log  #266

May 5, 2006  -  May 10, 2006

Last Updated: Sun. 5/21/2006

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5-10-2006

13 Percent Approval.  Wow!  It's hard to do much worse.  But it appears as though President Bush is trying.  That percentage is how well a poll rated him for the attempts so far to fix the gas price & supply problem.  Most people think he is doing a terrible job of managing the situation, so much so that this very amusing quote accompanied the article with that poll result: "Not long ago people said hybrids were for hippies. Those same people are driving them now."  I think consumers are well aware of how proposals like relieving taxes & tariffs don't actually fix the problem.  All that nonsense achieves is temporary relief.  A vehicle is a long-term investment.  Simply lowering the cost of gas during a brief period in its lifetime doesn't really help.  The cost will reveal itself elsewhere later anyway.  Much of the gas tax is suppose to be spent on road repair and preventative maintenance.  Not doing that is delaying the inevitable.  Of course, if you delay it long enough, you can just dump the problem on your successor.  So, how long do you think it will be that he continues to dismiss hybrids as a realistic solution that consumers will gladly accept?  The reporter writing the article certainly tried to point out an attitude change from those paying for gas.  It should be a warning that serious change is required.  Denying such a low approval rating is not good.  It certainly looks like the market is about to be flooded with tiny vehicles rather than endorsing hybrids on the grand scale quickly. 

5-10-2006

Not Enough.  This recent quote from a Ford executive helps to reveal the true problem: "Ford takes the issue of global warming very seriously, and our actions show were are investing heavily in innovative technologies and in improving existing technologies in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  That may be true, but research & develop alone isn't enough.  They actually have to deliver a product too.  Their problem is that so far we haven't actually got much.  In fact, it is significantly less than what they promised over 5 years ago when they previously dealt with the very same issues now being raised again.  Remember how they said fuel consumption of their fleet would be reduced by 25 percent?  Obviously, they haven't even remotely come close.  Lots of talk.  Very little action.  That most definitely is not enough.  People what to buy that technology now.

5-07-2006

Press Kits, part 4.  The purpose of the document became crystal clear while figuring out what was appropriate for the introduction.  So it has been renamed to reflect that, to "Understanding Hybrids".  Allowing the content that emerged (from the now rather obvious need) to formulate on its own really paid off.  I still have a few ideas remaining and the more-info links haven't been added yet, but it's pretty darn close.  That's at least enough to give those helping me out to get a really good idea of the purpose.  Of course, it will still take another week or two before it will be good enough for the first edition.  I know... patience.

5-07-2006

Intentional Smug.  It was fantastic!  I was trapped at a busy intersection, patiently waiting for the long stoplight to turn green.  I fired up the CD player, switching it over to play "Mr. Roboto" ...which is a rather intense song, requiring loud volume to set the proper mood.  When I finally saw green, I was fired up too.  So I briskly accelerated, taking full advantage of the fact that the hybrid system doesn't cause the engine to rev high.  That makes for a surprisingly quick launch without an efficiency penalty.  So I left everyone else in the dust.  Looking over at the Multi-Display, the smugness set in.  It showed 50.0 MPG at 354 miles.  That was pretty sweet!  It was confirmation that some of the anti-hybrid are being dishonest.  I was getting great MPG without driving super slow, which they claim is required.  Obviously, it isn't.  Then I looked up.  Around the curve I could see a horrifying sight.  But being so far ahead of everyone, I decided to take action by intentionally acting smug.  I began a painfully slow lane change... so slow I would raise concern for the traffic approaching from behind.  Sure enough, by the time they had caught up I was blocking both lanes and caused everyone to almost come to a rolling stop.  Then, they did stop completely.  Seconds later, they understood why.  In fact, seeing a parking lot suddenly form in the middle of the road like that caused the 2 lanes going the other direction to question what was going on too.  So they stopped as well.  Then we all sat there... watching the cute, little, fuzzy, yellow goslings finish their very dangerous attempt to cross the street.  No one was upset with me after seeing how close we came to squishing those new-born geese.  Smug, eh?

5-07-2006

Says Who?  An article published in an Australian newspaper today really annoyed me.  Since hybrids are much newer there than here, I can be somewhat understanding.  But the fact that they are ignored the global market makes it just as bad as the nonsense I have to read about locally.  It was a very short article.  They compared Prius to the GS540h.  How are those two hybrids even remotely comparable?  One is priced at market average.  The other is a luxury vehicle to the extreme.  Yet, they attempted to claim the same audience was supposed to be appeased.  Since when have cars from two classes so different ever be appropriate to compare?  It's the same old pitiful excuse for reporting I had to endure 6 years ago.  Because two vehicles are both hybrids, supposedly that makes them the same.  Back then, it was the 2-seat manual transmission hatchback Insight being compared to the 5-seat automatic transmission sedan Prius.  They have nothing in common, just like the two highlighted today.  Arrgh!  Anywho, the closing sentence was: "That approach annoys green groups."  Supposedly, those that support hybrids are supposed to be upset.  I'm certainly not.  Even a powerful rear-wheel drive hybrid luxury vehicle like that gets dramatically better MPG in stop & slow traffic... and it still delivers SULEV.  So despite being so different in class & features, major benefits of being a hybrid are delivered.  In other words, the GS450h is indeed cleaner and more efficient than its traditional counterpart.  Ha!

5-07-2006

What's Your Point?  This opening paragraph, in yet another gripe article about gas prices, left me wondering what the heck the point was:  "Three-dollar-a-gallon gas triggers a lot of finger-pointing.  Democrats say Republicans have coddled the oil companies and ignored conservation and alternative fuels.  Republicans say Democrats have blocked drilling and refinery construction."  True, the republicans have coddled & ignored.  And true, the democrats have blocked.  More oil is not the answer.  At best, it is only a temporary fix.  We will run out before our children retire.  Heck, some of us adults will still be around to see that end come.  Remember all the hybrid mocking that took place a few years ago, back when gas was cheap?  Those that were concerned then were looked down upon for being proactive.  Now everyone that wasn't already prepared is still scrambling in a mode that is reactive.  So much for planning ahead!  Let's not make an effort to provide our children with a world that doesn't have to be concerned about where there energy comes from.  It's pretty bad when you have to be sarcastic to get people to consider the long-term.  Shouldn't the point be to establish an infrastructure that relies on renewable sources now, when there is still a decent amount of new-renewable energy available?  Once that easy to retrieve & refine oil is gone, gas is going to get quite a bit more expensive.  Perhaps that is what we are starting to witness already.  Hmm?

5-07-2006

Press Kits, part 3.  Once those helping me out get to read the third page I just finished composing and the fourth I'm working on now, they'll understand the target audience (which I'm definitely struggling to describe currently).  I'm tired of some of the press not taking journalism seriously.  They are not going to get spoon fed from this.  Instead, they get an educational document.  Perhaps we'll end up renaming it once everyone gets an opportunity to read the whole thing.  And no, this is absolutely not about Prius only.  Neither is the website, yet some are still under the impression that it is.  In reality, my purpose has always been to promote "full" hybrids.  Prius just happens to be king of that mountain.  But sadly, in time Prius will likely be outnumbered by Camry & Sienna type hybrids.  Oh well.  They will still all use a "full" hybrid system, which is the point anyway.  The feedback so far has been fantastic.  I hope they keep it up.  I'll let the document content formulate into a clearer purpose on it's own.  It's the reality that we don't have a resource of this nature that's driving the effort.  Finding a unique collection of information like this is pretty sweet.  Of course, I wish the need would have revealed itself sooner.  Oh well.

5-06-2006

Road Challenge.  It's rather amazing to observe how some people are now interested in certain things, like a road rally.  A television news crew recently traveled over 1,700 miles, chronicling their experiences along that way.  They drove a Ford Expedition, a traditional Honda Accord, and a Prius from Florida to Massachusetts.  The gas costs (respectively) were: $348, $175, and $141.  Not only did Prius beat the others by an undisputable margin, it also emitted the least amount of smog-related emissions.  That 5-day adventure really got watchers excited.  They thought it was so cool that someone would make an effort to perform a long-distance test of that nature.  I even read this comment: "Maybe this will finally show people that the Prius can do well in the real world."  So while the Prius chatters were discussing this, I pointed out how it had already been done almost 4 years ago.  Even that group, which is far better informed than the general public, had no idea... or even a response.  Hearing that efforts to inform had already taken place long before they ever got really made them reevaluate their perception of the situation.  They hadn't thought to look for that type of information.  They just assumed no one had done that yet.  So naturally, some had no idea the senior members been fighting a resistance for so long.  Did you?  If not, here's the link to that info again...  hybrid road rally

5-05-2006

Percent of Improvement.  Not this again.  Some people have no idea they are being manipulated by statistics.  Others take advantage of that.  Measuring the percent of improvement with respect to efficiency doesn't take into account how much fuel is actually consumed.  It's a major problem I wish far more people were aware of.  Because if they don't understand, it is very easy to be misled.  Imagine if you only were allowed to use 500 gallons of fuel per year.  That percent value would be completely worthless for calculating your actual need.  You would be totally screwed if you had a strict quota to abide by.  Knowing actual quantity is absolutely vital.  Percentage is only a relative measurement, which is not helpful unless all vehicles are identical in every respect.  Obviously, they are not.  So percentage is pointless, vague at best.  How many gallons you consume is what really counts.  After all, that is what you pay.

5-05-2006

Waste Of Time?  I wonder how many times I've asked myself that question.  Today, I got the "final" answer.  Yes, it is.  For years I had pushed the anti-hybrid forums to get them to reveal their weaknesses.  That worked surprisingly well for quite awhile.  But since late last year, it had basically turned into just a waste of time.  I got virtually nothing helpful from them anymore.  It was just the same old nonsense, reiterated over and over again... disproved ages ago.  Then just recently, it turned to nothing but entertainment for my own amusement.  That lost its appeal rather quickly though.  You get bored seeing the same few people just repeating the same stories again and again.  Of course, that's part of their ability to fight change.  Just sticking to the routine prevents newbies from uncovering the deception... you know, being vague.  But since I pushed so hard and got them so riled up, they'd accidentally reveal a fact that normally wouldn't have been exposed.  That was pretty sweet!  I enjoyed those intellectual sparring sessions, knowing I could use the education gain from those experiences later on to help spread the technology that did actually reduce emissions & consumption... which is precisely what I am doing now.  That is what I'll be spending my time on instead.  I'm more than happy to share as many facts as I can, as well as the on-going real-world data.

5-05-2006

183 Estimated, 457 Actual.  Put simply, the two hurricanes last year did far more damage than the worst estimates even came close to approximating.  Those numbers are that of our underwater oil pipelines maintained in the Gulf of Mexico.  It's a contributor to the climbing oil & gas prices.  Being incorrect by such a large magnitude is frightening.  I have no idea just how many pipelines there actually are or how many miles the damage includes, but I do know that the damage is wider spread than just the hidden stuff they discovered underwater.  Many of the receiving terminals those pipelines connect to on shore are also damaged.  To add to the disappointment, repairs are taking much longer than previously hoped.  Of course, some of us have been realistic from the start.  Having witnessed several major bridge projects in my time, I know for a fact that construction of a carefully planned project takes years.  So when announcements late last fall were made that they would have most repairs done before the start of the hurricane season, I knew they were not being even the slightest bit realistic.  Operations on that magnitude that produce such a massive quantity of product cannot move fast.  For example, the automotive industry.  They are now learning the same lessons of dealing with change that the computer industry had to face a few years ago.  It's a painful, expensive, and high-risk process... which simply cannot be rushed.  Strangely, certain people in power are now actually beginning to admit that.  Too bad others are still in denial.

 

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