Prius Personal Log  #278

July 7, 2006  -  July 11, 2006

Last Updated: Sun. 7/23/2006

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7-11-2006

Info-Sheet Update.  It has been 8 months.  I was long overdue to deliver a newer version.  So today, I did.  There's some wording updates here & there, along with 3 new photos... Info-Sheet  (HSD)

7-11-2006

Promotions.  Both my bank and grocery store have them now.  Both have grand prizes that focus on gas price concerns.  The bank is offering a Ford Mustang with a free year supply of gas.  I'm so glad to see that trucks are no longer being promoted as objects of desire anymore.  People were so insincere about their SUV, denying that the "U" meant it was designed for utility use... not the commute to work.  They are trucks after all.  Why the heck do you need that powerful of a vehicle if you are just going to use it the very same way the other cars on the same road are?  Needless to say, that question has finally been acknowledged.  People are well aware that the safety belief was false.  So wasting all that gas for nothing simply doesn't make any sense... which leads me to the grocery store promotion.  The grand prize is a Prius.  Hooray!  The other prizes are groceries for a year or gas for a year.  It's good to see this type of change.

7-11-2006

Riding the Clutch.  Some owners of manual transmission vehicles didn't learn this was a bad thing until after prematurely wearing out a clutch.  No one informed them that using it instead of a brake to keep the car in place at a stop was bad.  Afterward, the replacement makes it a hard lesson learned.  Fortunately, there is no real Prius equivalent.  Yes, you can keep the car in place by using the electric motor instead of the brake.  But the Multi-Display informs you of this.  You can clearly see the electricity flowing from the motor to the wheels.  It doesn't harm anything either.  The motor is brushless.  So nothing will wear out.  It's still not a good idea to do though.  Using the mechanical brake instead puts that electricity to better use, in the form of a teeny tiny MPG improvement.  Hey, every little bit helps.

7-10-2006

No Deliverables.  A spokesperson for the current administration had the attention of the media today.  I was frustrated from the very first question related to oil.  Listening to the same old nonsense again made me crazy.  All he did, repeatedly, was quote the amount of money being spent on research.  Not a single deliverable is actually expected.  They are still researching!  Arrgh!!  Back when Prius was first rolled out here, they cancelled the PNGV program (which had already produced a few new efficiency vehicle prototypes) in favor of the FreedomCar program.  Now all these years later, they still haven't produced anything beyond just some studies of the hybrids already available.  Fooling the people into thinking their efforts are sincere is infuriating.  All talk.  No action.  They say battery research is progressing, yet no plan whatsoever is in place for actually getting something new to market.  What kind of idiots do they take us for?  Back when gas was cheap, I tolerated that gibberish.  But now when people need the help, this "deliver nothing" attitude must be addressed.  The media should be demanding detail... and results!  Just throwing money at research won't fix the problem.  They actually have to get something into the hands of consumers.

7-10-2006

Two-Mode Purpose.  I just finished reading a propaganda article for the upcoming two-mode hybrid system.  They looked down upon the "full" systems from Toyota & Ford, calling them "conventional" hybrid designs.  That figures.  But just implying they were outdated was not enough.  They said the competition cannot tow heavy loads.  And that's true, but disingenuous since the "full" system is being upgraded to later support that very ability.  But let's be realistic for a moment.  How many monster-size family vehicles do you actually see towing a heavy load anyway... for that matter, towing anything?  Of course, if you looked for subtle details in the article like I did, you'd discover that this system depends on cylinder shutoff for part of the efficiency gain.  In other words, it is more proof that the design won't be as beneficial in normal-size vehicles, like a Camry.  And naturally, there was no mention of reduced smog-related emissions whatsoever.  It was very troubling reading about their attempts to revive the plummeting sales of their guzzlers.

7-10-2006

Very Predictable.  It's getting quite obvious.  Some people just plain do not care about reducing emissions.  They are the few that have grown frustrated of the ever more stringent regulations, the ones preventing diesel from being exploited.  So they attempt to ignore.  If that fails, they dismiss.  Predicting their behavior that follows is just a matter of checking the anti-hybrid handbook.  They discredit.  It's the same old routine.  When you cannot defeat the issue at hand, attack the source advocating it.  I despised when they made it personal, because newbies tended to not even be aware of what was actually happening.  This particular instance today was different though.  The problem was not hybrids, it was ethanol... which is the exact opposite of biodiesel.  Rather than being dirtier than the oil-based fuel, it is actually cleaner.  They don't like that at all.  It makes their already bad situation even worse.  But I simply don't care.  Any competitive technology capable of delivering both the emission & efficiency goals is welcome.  If they want to cheat by only focusing on the efficiency, I'll protest... just like I did today.

7-10-2006

Undermining Example.  Undermining is when a person intentionally prevents progress, where they attempt to draw a discussion back to a previous point rather than allowing it to move on to the next level.  This example from today is absolutely fantastic!  For a diesel supporter to be so absolutely desperate like this is amazing.  But it happened.  He asked this question: "What other goal besides using less fossil fuel?" in response to a message where I once again brought up the topic of emission reduction also being a goal.  I couldn't believe it.  So I responded with this, knowing he was actually just undermining...  Wow!  I never expected you to attempt something that blatantly non-constructive.  But you did!!  Just 3 days ago, that's only 58 messages back, I pointed out what both goals were.  And you responded to that very message 3 times!  So there is quite simply no purpose for the question you just asked.

7-10-2006

So Obvious.  The little car supporters are trying to revitalize their efforts to compete with hybrids again.  This quote today said it all: "It's just so obvious to me that the answer to our energy/economy problems is smaller cars like the Echo."  Naturally, I had to respond to that.  With this...  Heck, all people have to do to use less gas is to simply obey the speed limit.  Many simply don't care.  So expecting them to switch to a tiny vehicle with far less power is totally unrealistic.  Of course, Echo MPG is poor in stop & slow traffic (the daily commute for many) compared to a "full" hybrid anyway.  Echo is significantly dirtier too.  So the "small car" suggestion isn't actually a solution... especially when you consider how the automakers complain about the low profit they provide.  That sure sounds like it will end up hurting the economy, not helping.  Lastly, why do you think an Echo debate will finally win now?  For the last 6 years, no compelling facts have revealed it as the better choice.

7-09-2006

Second Kayak.  There are 4 new photos featuring my second kayak, mounted to the roof-rack, sitting on top of the Prius.  The first is shown in 3 of them too.  It's quite a sight for people that had no idea the hybrid was capable of such a feat... photo album 110

7-09-2006

Cheapest.  It never ceases to amaze me how many times people use the "just buy the cheapest" argument.  But having no clue what they are missing does make life interesting.  Prius is simply part of a new class of vehicle, snuck into a void people weren't even aware of.  The lack of sound and extreme smooth were pretty much absent in non-luxury vehicles, until the "full" hybrid.  Now reviewers are at a loss about how to identify those very characteristics, not wanting to relate a Prius to luxury vehicle designed to the deliver that same quiet & smooth.  It's quite amusing.

7-08-2006

Cellulosic Ethanol.  Yesterday, the US Department of Energy released a report for this developing technology.  One of the first comments online to be posted was: "This is beginning to sound like hydrogen."  That's because the solution will not be immediately available.  Plants themselves have evolved to resist the very sugar breakdown we seek.  The fruits & vegetables they produce are entirely different, they easily release the sugars within.  So that's what we currently use for ethanol production.  That other part of the plant keeps them locked up tight.  Figuring out to to extract that stored energy remains a challenge still.  As a result of learning this, that same person responded with this: "perhaps we should be making other arrangements in the mean time".  That's why I have been saying all along that ethanol alone is not a solution.  Hybrids reduce the amount of ethanol that's needed, since they are far more efficient than just a flex-fuel vehicle.  Too bad some automakers are not sending that message.  They give you the impression that ethanol all by itself is enough.  It isn't.  The report today help expose that.

7-08-2006

New Anti-Hybrid Trend.  Surprisingly often now, I'm noticing that the typical response from someone intentionally trying to undermine the success of hybrids is simply nothing.  Rather than attempt to argue their way out of a fact that they got caught on, they don't even bother anymore.  They know too much contrary evidence has been uncovered at this point.  They also know that a mistake will reveal what their true purpose really is.  It's not like the past where they can claim to have been playing devil's advocate.  That defense simply doesn't work... because it required objectivity.  Their fear of change is becoming easier to notice.  Resistance is indeed futile.  I actually thought they'd continue arguing longer, with the hope that some miracle would come to their rescue.  But the price of gas and the natural desire for change is compelling a bulk of the population to consider a closer look at hybrids.  Fighting that is rather pointless.  So even the most stubborn are now avoiding conflict when certain facts are presented.  Sweet!

7-08-2006

Looking back at Looks.  I liked reading this comment today from someone considering the purchase of a HSD Prius: "My only concern is how the car will look in 5-10 years' time, that is, will it look weird and outdated?"  People wondered that same thing about the Classic Prius 6 years ago, since it appeared odd.  But now you can look at one with a completely different feeling, since it blends into the crowd of newer vehicles so well.  Being ahead of the curve is a strange situation.  It's inevitable that increased aerodynamics catch on for practicality reasons.  That's true for hatchbacks as well, especially from former guzzling SUV drivers use to a large cargo area.  Prius already has both in its favor.  They'll become what the 21st Century considers "normal".  Of course, that won't last too long.  Someday I'll spot my very first Prius on the road with rust!  That will certainly be a humbling sight.  Then they'll have a difficult time blending.  Oh well.

7-07-2006

Remembering the Goals.  I've been actively participating with automotive technology issues online for the past 6 years now.  It always boils down to remembering the goals.  People often don't.  The real purpose gets hopelessly lost.  Well, here's a reminder:  TO REDUCE BOTH EMISSIONS & CONSUMPTION.  So naturally, I've been attacked by those that support technologies that don't actually deliver both.  Ethanol is the hot topic right now.  It alone is obviously not a complete solution.  But combined with hybrid technology, you do actually have a genuine way of fulfilling both goals.  All the number-crunching I've been seeing lately doesn't address this.  That's clearly not objective.  Diesel has the same problem, both goals are not achieved.  Soon, that will be a different story.  But supporters have been disingenuous.  All along I've been saying the hardware required to clean up the emissions will increase cost and reduce efficiency.  And finally, I have proof of that.  An article published yesterday clearly states a $600 to $800 cost along with an economy drop.  Filters & Absorbers are not free.  And the engine power required to push the exhaust through them requires a sacrifice.  So in the end, the ultimate decision-maker is real-world data.  They can argue "what if" scenarios all they want.  But that doesn't accomplish much.  It's those that share their actual experiences that make a difference.

7-07-2006

E85 is a new product.  That's an unfortunate point of view, but quite real.  People that believe that have been greenwashed.  E85 is actually far from new.  Heck, back in the late 90's absolutely all models of Ford Ranger were FFV, designed to use E85.  It was the standard, hoped to be spread to all the other vehicles.  Instead, the idea was dropped.  It once again became a limited option.  When I first got my Prius, people were complaining about owning a E85 capable vehicle for years already but still not having E85 available outside of the metro area to fill the tank with.  That hardware & fuel technology has been around for quite some time now.  So there really is no excuse why production capacity is only a pitiful 250,000 per year from Ford.  Geez!  Even "full" hybrid production is higher than that.

7-07-2006

Still under $3.  I wonder how long that will last.  Back when it was still just $1.99, gas stations kept it there as long as possible... despite oil futures rising.  It's that price which is the true gauge.  And this morning, it hit the highest ever: $75.50 per barrel.  This is an interesting time.  Attitudes are permanently changing.  The influence can no longer be denied.  The location where I live adds to the historical significance.  Here in Minnesota, we get our crude from Canada unlike most of the rest of the nation.  Our gas here is blended with 10 percent ethanol too.  The net result is the least expensive fuel prices.  So exceeded the $3 threshold is a big deal for everyone.  It indicates the end of the guzzling age... thank goodness.  Not taking responsibility for our actions was rather embarrassing.  Now that long journey to energy neutrality can finally begin.

 

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