Prius Personal Log  #267

May 11, 2006  -  May 13, 2006

Last Updated: Weds. 11/26/2008

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5-13-2006

No More H1.  What the heck?  People are celebrating because GM just announced that they will no longer be building & selling that original version of Hummer anymore.  Do those people actually understand what that actually means?  I doubt it.  Consumers had to pay $140,000 for that first model.  The non-military version is extremely rare, so much so that not having any more wouldn't make any difference anyway.  I've only spotted 3 on the road ever.  That's trivial compared to all the H2 & H3 models.  There are many more of them, since they are quite a bit less expensive.  Unfortunately, they are pretty much just as wasteful and dirty with respect to any hybrid.  What a joke.  This is basically a sad press-related stunt.  GM could just take advantage of existing inventory, selling those remaining for the next few years... but marking up the price since that model is no longer being built.

5-13-2006

Scaled-Back.  True, I didn't find anything on that forum about hybrids.  But since I was there, I looked up the Honda Fit.  It's a new vehicle to the United States, similar in body type to a Toyota Matrix but apparently a little smaller.  I wanted to know what kind of real-world efficiency it was delivering, since it is later supposed to be available as a hybrid too.  The MPG reported (all from non-broken-in models still, obviously) averaged just under 35.  That's it!  I expected a little more, because some people have been wondering if later the hybrid will harm sales of Prius.  Clearly, it won't based on MPG alone.  The technology that Honda is planning to use is a scaled-back design of what is currently available in Insight... which is less powerful and less efficient than Civic-Hybrid.  And since Fit won't have an aluminum body, that extra weight will impair the system even more.  So it is rather absurd to even make the comparison.  This isn't magic.  The engineering is fairly easy to understand.  You get what you pay for... and there is a belief that a less expensive hybrid option will be a popular seller.  We'll see.  I bet most consumers will be disappointed though, wishing they had spent more to get more MPG.

5-13-2006

Found Nothing.  It was time to satisfy my curiosity.  That forum with activity dominated by very stubborn anti-hybrid posters needed to be checked out after having been gone for awhile.  I wondered if there was anything beneficial, something new to make my time checking worthwhile.  Nope.  I found absolutely nothing.  It was the same old nonsense repeated again.  What a waste.

5-13-2006

Going Nuts.  Ahhh!  I just fast-forwarded through a stack of DVD+RW discs, recorded over the last few days with the hope of capturing the new hybrid television commercial from Toyota.  No such luck.  Bummer!  I got quite a number of the other ones for their traditional vehicles, several times.  But that one I actually wanted has eluded me.  I realize it was a fluke getting to see it in the first place, since commercials focusing entirely on just hybrids are extremely rare.  But owners really appreciate when I share them and will cherish having a copy for years.  That requires a capture though, of which I haven't been able to achieved.  Dang.

5-13-2006

Too Much Information.  Some owners do suffer from knowing too much, but unfortunately not enough to completely understand what they are seeing.  Today, I joined in on a discussion topic where several other veterans had already attempted to reassure the owner what he was seeing was totally normal...  The charge-level will indeed drop down to pink (2 bars) then only do the minimum to maintain rather than recharge to recover.  Not seeing that behavior would actually be rather odd.  JUST DRIVE IT!  It's amazing how that tried & true advice for so many years ago still works today.  Don't get hung up on what the hybrid system decides to do.  Some owners unknowingly penalize themselves by trying to outsmart the system, ending up with lower MPG than if they had just ignored what the Multi-Display.  It's far to easy to get hung up in the moment, causing you to forget the big picture.  Focus on overall efficiency.  Don't be concerned when the charge-level or the consumption-bar dips below a threshold you assume is bad, because most of the time that perception is incorrect.  You need to base performance on a range of time, not just immediate feedback.

5-12-2006

All Over The Place.  It was a cold & rainy day, perfect for running errands... rather than letting the start of the weekend go to waste.  The fact that it was now 41 F degrees rather than the 75 several weeks ago must have provoked all the Prius owners to get out and do something, since enjoying a Spring evening wasn't possible.  I must have seen around 20.  There were Classic & HSD models all over the place.  Seeing so many (mostly definitely a daily-sighting record for me, despite not having vigilantly counted) felt absolutely fantastic.  That is so redeeming.  Imagine what the situation will be like a year from now, after high gas prices would have become intolerable.  That most popular hybrid will become a very recognizable icon for change.  Cool!

5-12-2006

$72.04 per barrel.  That price for oil has been above $70 for weeks now.  Who else is really concerned besides me?  The sky is falling even sooner than I had anticipated.  Interesting.

5-12-2006

Yaris.  I got to see that little Toyota car today.  No wonder it is so popular in Europe.  A vehicle that small (making Prius enormous in comparison) will undoubtedly deliver 40 MPG highway.  Americans always believed they wouldn't have to deal with that type of vehicle, hoping it would never be more than just a novelty.  Now they have to choose their destiny.  They are forced with the reality of having to decide, just like the rest of the world already has.  Only for us, we also get the choice of hybrids since our gas prices are only now starting to rise.  In Europe (as well as other places), they've been paying dramatically higher fuel costs for a long time already.  Back then when they first faced their decision, a mass-production technological solution that used electricity wasn't available.  All of that has changed very recently.  We have the choice.  What do you think we'll do?

5-12-2006

Stealing Oil.  This is a topic now getting more attention.  In the past, some desperate people have attempted to tap into pipelines to steal the oil flowing within.  The act of drilling can cause a horrifying explosion, since a spark coming in contact a flammable liquid under quite a bit of pressure is a worst case scenario... which played out yet again today.  This time, it was around 200 people in Nigeria that instantly lost their lives in a blazing inferno.  Makes you wonder how much money is spent on protecting pipelines?  That's an expense rarely talked about.  And what about the mess caused?  Repairing damage like that isn't cheap.

5-12-2006

Help?  I was quite amused.  There was a southwest coast owner today really troubled by how "unflattering" his Prius looked after not being washed for awhile.  This was my reply:  You have an interesting perspective... which would change after spending just 10 minutes in the north country during the Winter.  Pretty much all the vehicles here look like they've been having way too much fun.  No showroom shine for us then.  In fact, looking like they've engaged in battle is something to be proud of.  Might as well make the best of an unbeatable situation, eh?  Check out at my photo album.  There are many shots like this.  So, many of us don't even try.  We just learn to live with the fact that clean is only associated with the warm season.

5-12-2006

Sudden Jumps.  Having witnessed a 41 cent price jump for a gallon of gas happen just within the last few days has even me really confused.  I've heard several reports of the uncontrollable supposedly now under control... which simply does not make any sense.  But watching the gas price slowly drop earlier this week did actually carry some weight; however, it had no correlation to oil prices at all.  That's what ultimately drives the market.  And sure enough, gas prices now reflect what those futures indicate they should be.  So what's causing the sudden jumps?

5-12-2006

Change.  It has been very interesting lately.  The biggest news is that a former enemy has stepped down.  This foe, who claimed to be a friend, was combatant every step of the way.  For years she fought.  It was an interesting experience, despite the hassle.  She claimed to be helping, but in reality was doing some rather impressive undermining.  Extensive help was provided to newbies.  They were greeted by her with open arms (figuratively online), offered any assistance she could provide to make their introduction a pleasant and seemingly informative one.  It was a rather ingenious scheme to gain allies... because whenever I pointed out something contrary to her teaching, they stood up to defend her.  They didn't understand what was actually going on, but recognized that the person who had been so helpful was now being criticized.  Her strategy was simple: prevent progress.  Keep the newbies from wanting to learn more.  Ensure they are satisfied with only the basics.  You know, just dismiss anything that pointed out how the various hybrid designs were different.  Yes, you guessed it.  This was the leader of the "the same" campaign.  She was a die-hard supporter of "assist" hybrids, furious that some of us were educating about the benefits only "full" hybrids offered.  But her war ended recently.  The surrender was in the form of a goodbye message posted on a private forum that I silently monitor with a secret alias.  The reason to me was obvious... and quite redeeming.  The concept of a hybrid newbie has almost completely vanished... in part due to my retaliation.  I launched an offensive years ago to end those insincere efforts, like that which she heavily sanctioned.  It was simple.  I just provided a large selection of educational materials on the website.  And since that's what those researching hybrids typically encounter first, they are already fairly well informed by the time they finally join a forum.  In other words, they don't need her help anymore.   Many new to forums have their introduction "Hello!" messages now include statements of praise for "full" hybrids.  Interest in hybrids has grown to the point where consumers are to doing their own homework, studying information available online to draw conclusions themselves.  As a result, they easily dismiss her efforts to make "assist" hybrids appear the same.  Sweet!

5-11-2006

$2.93 Per Gallon.  That was what I saw on the drive home today.  It's the highest ever here.  I remember just 11 months ago being amazed by seeing $2.25 per gallon.  I even took a photo that day, titling it "Whoa!".  Now, the national average is dangerously close to $3.  That price scares the heck out of the average consumer.  Heck, even those that guzzle gas are starting to worry.  This no longer appears to be a rare spike.  A pattern is emerging.  The trend toward conservation is catching on.  Those funny looking small traditional vehicles are getting quite a bit of attention on television commercials lately.  And of course, that is putting hybrids is an extremely favorable position.  Those concerned about gas prices are faced with the choice between a vehicle with compromises to achieve high MPG or one that delivers efficiency with the only penalty being a price for the privilege.  Of course, if they consider smog-related emissions, there is no choice.  But most consumers still don't.  Their focus is on MPG, due to the out of control gas prices.

5-11-2006

20 Percent Glycerin.  I stopped a vegi-diesel supporter dead in his tracks today.  He was so excited by the thought of someday being able to replace his gas-guzzler with a diesel vehicle and using leftover frying oil to fill its tank.  I responded by asking him how he'd dispose of the glycerin?  He looked at me totally confused.  I then proceed to point out how the distillation process worked.  When you add the separator chemical, you get two resulting fluids.  One is biodiesel.  The other is glycerin, an industrial by-product that can be used for the creation of other household goods.  So it is easy for a refiner to get rid of it.  Good thing too, since it's 20 percent of the frying oil volume.  But what the heck is a consumer supposed to do with that glycerin, especially so much of it?  Just think, after a few months you'd have so much it would require a pickup to haul it away.  That's a serious problem... one which he obviously hadn't been aware of.

5-11-2006

Terminology.  I quickly responded to an open-ended comment a friend made today about how "Prius is a great stop-gap".  That was an invitation for the anti-hybrid, something just waiting to be exploited by an out-of-context reference.  I knew what he meant, but was also very acutely aware of how that could easily be misunderstood.  GM used that specific terminology to imply a dead-end filler product, rather than a natural step to a final solution.  That's clearly inappropriate for Prius when looking at the big picture.  But coming from an automaker that ignores the long-term, don't expect an vague reference to be sincere.  As time goes on, Prius will utilize electricity more and more while at the same time continue to become more efficient.  The fuels used (both electricity & ethanol) will increasingly come from clean & renewable sources.  Isn't that the goal?  Far too often, people get hung up on details and forget what the actual objective is.  That's a popular anti-hybrid technique.  They absolutely love to manipulate terminology to distract from the intended purpose.  So don't provide them with an opportunity.

 

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