Prius Personal Log  #274

June 11, 2006  -  June 14, 2006

Last Updated: Weds. 5/02/2007

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6-14-2006

Rewriting History.  It turns out that the anti-hybrid have indeed come up with a new technique to antagonize.  They are attempting to rewrite history by claiming the demand for the Classic model Prius was really low, that dealers had a hard time selling them.  In reality, that couldn't be further from the truth.  But since most people weren't paying attention to the market back then (due in large part to the fact that gas was only $1 per gallon), it's really easy for the anti-hybrid to just make stuff up.  Thankfully, there is solid evidence proving they are being dishonest.  There are countless old newspaper articles mentioning the agonizingly long delivery wait, commonly 3 to 4 months.  At one point, it actually took over 6 months to get a Classic Prius.  That's the very reason I founded the website.  Owners in the waiting were losing patience, needing something to fill the void in the meantime.  So I started providing photos & blogs, allowing them to live vicariously through my experiences.  Many found it fascinating to see what life was like in Minnesota, and I enjoyed hearing from people in other states across the country.  The attempt to rewrite history won't work... having so thoroughly documented what actually happened as it was happening.

6-14-2006

21st Century.  That was the name of the auto insurance being advertised.  The television commercial featured a Prius, go figure.  There were so many different shots of the Prius that the theme was hopefully blatantly obvious... in the most subtle way.  It was just a normal car, exactly as you'd expect in the 21st Century.  Why in the world would they show a non-hybrid?

6-13-2006

Anti-Hybrid Gibberish.  It's hard to believe a few are still trying.  Even though most of us have moved on to discussing the merits of various hybrid designs, they continue to appeal for non-hybrid attention.  Supposedly, if you really care about efficiency, you'll just give up your vehicle of choice and switch to a sub-compact instead.  Rather than just choosing the hybrid option like you would a transmission, a forced size-reduction is required.  Since when are people going to accept that?  As for emissions, there are plenty of vehicles just as clean as Prius.  So rather than needing to buy a hybrid, you can just sacrifice efficiency for the sake of clean?  Apparently, you can't have both improved emissions & efficiency.  Hybrids don't actually exist.  Geez!  It's the last, final, desperate tactic the anti-hybrid are using.  They cannot figure out how to make their antagonistic methods work anymore, so they are quite literally trying every trick in the book again... hoping to somehow keep your attention.  Drawing focus away with gibberish won't work.  People are getting their information from sources other than online discussion forums now... like the neighbor's driveway.  So it won't work like it did in the past.  But they certainly are giving it a good attempt... resisting change as long as they possibly can.

6-13-2006

A New Hope.  Think of our children graduating from high school this year.  They've known nothing but war.  Their first exposure to politics would have been the 9/11 attacks.  They were too young to understand the "good old days" from the Clinton administration.  History is very different from their perspective.  Right when they get to feel their first opportunity for independence, the reality of ever-climbing gas prices becomes all too real.  Having witnessed the indulgence of the monster-size gas-guzzling SUV, looking forward to getting one of their own, but then not being able to must be making one heck of an impression.  Fortunately, at the very same time they are getting to see the birth of Camry-Hybrid and the overwhelming success of Prius.  They have no memory of the 80's, when the small & weak cars began to dominate due to pure necessity.  This current oil/gas supply problem offers a new hope... which they'll readily embrace.  Remember, this is the generation that grew up always having the internet available.  Life without the expectation of new technology to help improve is something they simply cannot relate too.  They have no apprehensions.  The desire to upgrade is in their nature.  And with the threat of danger just around the corner, being proactive should be no big deal.  Making excuses for not taking action is something they cannot relate to, having grown up in a world that requires it.

6-13-2006

TDI Clatter.  Just two driveways down the road from me is a diesel car, a new 2006 Jetta.  I can hear it coming around the corner.  That clatter is simply too difficult to ignore.  Supporters claim diesel engines are much quieter than in the past.  Perhaps that's true, but they are still much noisier than a traditional gas engine... and absolutely no comparison to the silent stealth that a hybrid like Prius provides.

6-13-2006

Toyota Reinforces Efforts.  There was the title of a press release today.  It mentioned the efforts to meet or exceed the upcoming Japanese emission & efficiency standards for 2010.  It also not only pointed out the goal to double the number of hybrid models by 2010, but also mentioned the next generation hybrid system (the Prius upgrade coming in 2 years) as well as continued research & development efforts for plug-in hybrids.  What I found most interesting was their statement about a vehicle capable of using E100.  That will upset the competition even more, since their desperation to deliver something new (since they don't have hybrids) has led them to ethanol.  Though, they have only delivered E85 abilities.  Supposedly, it because there's some rather difficult barrier to overcome.  But the challenge to achieve that final 15 percent appears to have been a success on Toyota's part.  Being a leader on so many fronts really is going to shake up the automotive market.  Cool!  I was sick & tired of the same old-school nonsense.

6-12-2006

Estima Upgrade.  Toyota has had another type of hybrid available for 5 years now, but only in Japan.  It was a lesser degree of hybridization (called "THS-C") than what we are familiar with here, but enough to give me justification to push "full" hybrids so much... since my comments were based on design characteristics actually in use rather than only theoretical.  It was an interesting setup, since not only was it the first ever minivan hybrid it was also the first to offer 4-wheel drive.  Anywho, Estima is now being upgraded to use HSD instead.  This news will definitely help feed the rumor that the next hybrid from Toyota for the United States will be a minivan.  Hearing about their most popular vehicles getting the HSD option will freak out the competition.  Sweet!  The configuration will use the engine from Camry-Hybrid and the rear motor will be the same as the Highlander-Hybrid.  So you can imagine how successful the very first implementation will be.  Reuse is a benefit to pretty much every aspect of automotive production, marketing, and service.  Cool!

6-12-2006

Slippery Braking.  Out of nowhere, the SUV verses car safety argument re-emerged.  I bet someone desperate to protect GM or Ford from further guzzler image-tarnishing started it.  Type of vehicle debates make no sense when it comes to hybrids, since a hybrid can be any type of vehicle.  But I was curious what people would post as responses.  And sure enough, not a single one of them mentioned braking on slippery roads.  That extra weight and the really wide tires found on SUVs are most definitely a disadvantage... which almost never gets pointed out.  Why?  Of course, here in Minnesota during the Winter no one needs to.  Just watching them in action is all it takes to realize you're more likely to have an accident when it's slippery in the SUV.  I guess most people get fixated on deep snow driving, forgetting that just a thin layer (which is far more common) can actually be more of a danger.

6-12-2006

Any Gas?  They make it way too easy.  When I stop at a gas station for the newspaper, milk, or a quick snack, the "any gas" question always comes up.  Replying that I still don't need any because I have a hybrid is awfully tempting.  Instead, I just say no.  Bummer.  The promotion opportunity is right there, but I resist.  Waiting for those encounters when I actually am getting gas or when I get approached in a parking lot is better.  That way, it won't be interpreted as smug because they initiated the hybrid discussion.

6-12-2006

Engine Air-Filter Replacement.  Speaking of optimizing efficiency and finding something else to do for the Prius, I replaced the engine air-filter today.  It was just on the edge of getting nasty.  25,000 miles even in a clean driving environment is all you should ever push it, especially when the replacement is cheap & easy.  The price after tax was $17.88, which included the rubber gasket too.  The time it took to replace was about 20 seconds.  Phew!  Don't want to work too hard.

6-12-2006

55,000 Mile - Service.  This time, only a quick tire rotation was required.  But since I've moved to a cycle of every 10,000 miles, I've somehow managed to find more than my share of road-hazards, and I'd like to keep using this set for a very long time still, the choice to balance them was an easy one.  After all, the last time was 30,000 miles ago.  And since perfectly balanced does contribute to optimum efficiency, why not?  So for $52.71, I got it all done at the local Toyota service.

6-12-2006

Great Advice.  Listening to President Clinton's book about his life, I learned an amazing amount of eye-opening facts.  It was really disturbing to hear how the very same techniques, that I'm all too familiar with from the anti-hybrid, are used in politics.  They take the art of undermining to an extreme.  It's pretty nasty.  A great piece of advice I got from that was how to deal with the global warming problem.  He frequently got asked the "Are you a Christian?" question.  Just about any response he gave to answer yes ended up causing a flurry of follow-up questions.  Getting additional detail was how they attempted to undermine.  It prevented him from making any progress.  They just kept beating that topic to death, so he couldn't move on to the actual purpose of the gathering.  Eventually, he learned to respond with this: "I sure hope so.  And I always try to be.  But I really think that's a question only God can judge."  In other words, when a question is asked for the sake of undermining, make sure your response is rhetorical in nature (something they cannot answer).  I actually attempted that in the past with global warming, but didn't realize just how effective it could be... until now.  So going forward, my response to whether or not I believe will be: "We already have the technology available to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  I really think our children would be disappointed if they found out we decided not to use it."  Intriguing, eh?

6-11-2006

My Role.  It has been a time of reflection lately... lots happening in the personal life.  The hybrid stuff I contribute is obviously high on the list of choices I continue to invest time into.  It's been 6 years now.  The success is amazing.  A great example that caused me to pause came this morning.  Someone innocently researching Prius on that hostile forum was absolutely determined to stick with it, not giving up the hope despite all the apparent problems reported (anti-hybrid misrepresentation hard at work).  His attitude will suddenly boosted with confidence, after having found & downloaded a 45-page "pseudo owner's guide".  Obviously, you know who was responsible for that.  Me!  I no longer need to participate at all in discussions.  Just continuing to maintain & update the website content fulfills a helpful role.  Sweet!  My role models would be proud.  I tried my best to pay close attention to the advice they shared.

6-11-2006

Defending GM.  A reporter sounded off in defense of GM today.  He wasn't the slightest bit happy about the reaction resulting from an article published last week which stated the subsidizing of gas was just like what drug dealers do.  Shielding people from the ever-increasing prices by paying the difference for a year and a half is indeed a way to give a consumer a false impression.  So you could imagine the outcry some people delivered.  Anywho, his retaliatory comment was: "GM currently has 14 cars that get 30 miles per gallon or better on the highway.  That's more than any other car company -- including Toyota."  Interesting, eh?  Apparently, the number of models is better.  And too bad he was so horribly vague.  If the range of choices is only a few MPG within each class of vehicle, what's the point?  Look at Toyota.  For midsize choices, you only have Camry, Avalon, and Prius.  But talking about variety.  You've got the most popular car in America (Camry), available as both traditional and hybrid.  You've got the more plush and slightly large car (Avalon), available as a traditional in sedan style or a sporty convertible.  Then you've got Prius, available as a hybrid (obviously) with quite a range of package options to choose from.  Toyota's current offering is decent variety and efficiency within a single class.  Will consumers really be happy with those 14 cars?  I suspect not.  GM sales will continue to be lost in favor of Toyota.  Marketing spin won't change the reality of what people actually want anymore.  The gas-guzzler collapse is creating a more savvy consumer.  Just imagine how popular the hybrid minivan will be.  The effortless MPG increase is what they'll want to pay for, not more choices.

6-11-2006

55,000 Mile - Oil Change.  It's summer now.  That made this time more of a play activity rather than a chore.  Of course, I have memories from ages past about that good feeling you got from being able to fix a vehicle yourself.  Now with a Prius, there isn't anything to fix since reliability is so much higher.  That means I have to look for pleasure from the simple routine maintenance... like changing the oil.  The cost was the same as it has been for awhile, $20.22 for everything.

 

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