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  1. #41
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    Hybrid technology is a good option, but it is probably more important to change the general public's attitudes about driving cooperatively rather than competitively. Most auto and truck commercials stress power, speed, and aggressive driving behavior, and actually belittle those who choose better fuel economy. I have a 1998 Saturn SL1, which I bought for $3400 in July 2004, and have averaged 35 MPG. Recently, after changing spark plugs, fully inflating the tires, and going on a long trip, I got over 45 MPG. It has over 100,000 miles and runs fine, with enough power to accelerate safely and exceed any posted legal speed limit. Hybrids are presently too expensive for me to consider. I like the technology, but overall energy conservation must come from a change in driving attitudes and simple, common-sense vehicles.

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  3. #42
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    Paul,
    You make very good sense on all points and applaud you on both your purchase and your achievement.

    Before I bought my HCH I was completely ignorant in the facts regarding fuel efficiency, as is 99.99% of all drivers.
    I thought a car only got what it got for MPG, almost no matter how you drive it. With that thought I only did 17-18MPG in our '94 Dodge Spirit 4cyl driving like a maniac. I drove all my cars that way because 90 is the same as 55MPH because you get there sooner right?
    Nuts how I was mistaken, and it cost me big dollars.

    You're right about drivers attitude in general but I fear that it will take more than what is available to change the mindset.

    Personally all I can do is encourage people to do better in whatever they drive, and let them know of my own achievements. (60-65MPG) I myself know of other drivers who are doing much better than me and find it inspiring. A goal.

    My HCH trained me how to drive for true efficiency. If I would have bought another car it would have been "just another car" and no doubt I'd still be driving 90.
    No incentive to change my wasteful ways.

    We used to get 15-18MPG in our other vehicle, an '01 Grand Caravan. But applying what we've learned in our HCH that figure is now mid 20's.

    Most of the time it's wise to buy a used car but in my case I try to keep them on the road for 10 years and +320K miles.
    I wanted the most fuel efficient 5 passenger car available, still at a reasonable cost ($18.5K) and the nicest one available in the small car line.

    Anyway you are a smart shopper and keep up the good efficiency. My only suggestion would be to fine tune and increase your MPG as it can be done, then visit www boards that feature Saturn cars and let them know of what you are doing.

    Some will jeer, others will take the challenge and take your advice and apply them to their own cars.
    A thank you note is most satisfying from someone you've helped.

  4. #43
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    you bring up again a reason why EVERY car in usa should be provided with a mileage gage. that feedback alone will likely lift most cars 2 to 5 MPG.

    no hybrid required to get these easy gains.

    see ya

    steve

  5. #44
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    Just completed my first long distance tank.

    883 miles driven, 13.31 gallons to full.
    66.34 calculated MPG.
    Dash said 62.4.

    Not bad.
    2004 HCH CVT

  6. #45
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    We would drive a lot less .. and use a lot less fuel... if we all lived closer to work and to each otehr. I bet the per-person fuel consumption of somebody living in downtown Boston or New York is very low, compared with somebody driving 2 hours to and from work. Americans have decided not to live in cities anymore; they want rural areas with bigger yards and safer neighborhoods, and they will pay to the nose to get them. I will make an uneducated guess that most Europeans have very short commutes. If somebody has a short commute, they would walk or bike to work or to the store more often, and the fuel efficiency of their vehicle would matter less. And if you live in a rural area, it isnt unreasonable to use a pickup for commuting, since you will need it. Just consider that most people must pay 500-1000 a year to insure each vehicle, so having an additional car with additional costs to save 500 or 800 a year on gas doesnt make financial sense. How many 4-door pickups do we see owned by residents of a downtown metro areas? Parking, costs, and ease of use of public transit discourage it.

    Now, if the cost to purchase and maintain and insure and fuel an additional hybrid or electric car was notably LESS than the cost of just paying for extra fuel for the family utility truck, then things might chage. I have a hunch that even at $100 a barrel we still wont be there.

    Solve the root problems of urban sprawl and out of control insurance costs in the United States, and you will be playing a part in "Saving the planet".

  7. #46
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    I visited the States a couple of months ago and drove a friends Prius. As an electric car proponent, I had been looking forward to this for months

    It was a lot of fun watching the light show on the power-train use screen. Not a bad drive at all and seemed powerful enough.

    I was disappointed overall though, for the following reasons: It did not really run on pure electric drive much, in fact, hardly at all. The car average just 38 MPG during my 20 mile drive. You cannot plug it in but must use a small gas engine (perhaps the most fuel inefficent way possible) to charge the batteries.

    Anyone in the USA heard of an Audi A2? With a 1.2 litre diesel it is actually rated at near 100 MPG. I drove one of these the other day and average 71 MPG during a similar drive to my Prius test drive.

    Comfortable travel for four adults in a quality German car with the real possibility of 70 MPG. Why on earth isn't someone building a hybrid Diesel! One that you can plug in would be ideal

  8. #47
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    "Americans have decided not to live in cities anymore; they want rural areas with bigger yards and safer neighborhoods, and they will pay to the nose to get them"

    I'm not sure about it being more expensive but you do site some other reasons for our rural home. A few years ago our family bought a 2,800sq ft 5 bedroom/3 fl bath new home on a 1 acre lot in rural N. Georgea. We paid about $142K for it. The same property "in town" would easily go upward of 450K. City and county taxes are much lower and less general restrictions outside the larger cities. Among other things, our family enjoys clean air, picturesque skies, wild grassy fields, forest, peace and quiet.
    The cost of fueling our old car was terrible so we bought our hybrid car, and I learned how to drive it.
    Most everyone I know in our area commutes with smaller cars.

    The pickup thing...
    While it is true that many people like the pickup trucks many more people are driving other kinds of vehicles- the vast majority are smaller Corolla-Civic-Malibu size cars and a number of SUV's.
    (At least here around Atlanta)

    Myself in case we also have a Grand Caravan both for hauling things and general family comfort.
    But it would soak us dry if it was our daily commuter vehicle.

    I haven't seen any real number of inner city pickup trucks....a few large vehicles but the vast majority is smaller cars- probably for the parking issue as you've mentioned.

  9. #48
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    no one has mentioned $2000 tax break. also, in florida you can drive on the hov lane with a hybrid. I'd rather give my money to japanese r&d than to two faced middle east countries.

  10. #49
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    I heard years ago that Toyota plans to offer a hybrid of every model by the year 2010. The magazine Auto Age reports that Toyota will introduce 12 new hybrid models over the next 24 months. And the newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports:

    Toyota to double hybrid car output
    07/06/2005
    The Asahi Shimbun
    Toyota Motor Corp. plans to double its production of gas-electric hybrid vehicles to 500,000 units in 2006 from the 2005 level to meet rising global demand, especially in North America, company sources said.
    Toyota, the leader in the field of hybrid technology, expects demand for such vehicles to increase amid rising oil prices and improved performance of the autos.
    The increase in production will focus on the Prius, Toyota's main hybrid passenger car, as well as on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) Harrier and Kluger. By the end of 2006, Toyota plans to add hybrid versions of its luxury sedans sold under the Lexus brand.
    Toyota affiliates making hybrid-vehicle parts, such as batteries, have reinforced their manufacturing facilities, making it much easier for Toyota to obtain key components.
    Toyota plans to increase monthly production of hybrid Harriers and hybrid Klugers by 50 percent to 12,000 units each from September at Toyota Motor Kyushu Inc.'s factory in Fukuoka Prefecture.
    The Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, will increase production of the Prius by 20 percent to 30 percent.
    The hybrid SUVs have become popular in North America since their introduction there in March. But consumers still have to wait three to four months to receive a hybrid Harrier.
    Global demand for hybrid vehicles has grown so much that Toyota will start overseas production of the cars next year for the first time.
    In 2006, the company intends to start production of several thousand Prius cars a year at its factory jointly established with China FAW Group Corp. in Changchun, China. Toyota will also build 50,000 hybrid versions of the Camry annually at its factory in Kentucky starting in 2006.(IHT/Asahi: July 6,2005)
    Any of the Georga members know Dr. Walter in Sautee?

  11. #50
    Guest

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    To use less gas: Drive less.

    Or, drive a little shoe-box car with a whimpy little engine.
    I drive a Nissan Xterra with the V6 and manual transmission. I often haul things in it, or pull a trailer. I work from home, do I don't do a normal commute. For those of you with long, daily commutes, my sympathy. Seems like a big waste of time, particularly if you're driving slower than anything with a Hemi in it. For the record, I do often get around on bicycle too. Go figure.
    After all the rhetoric, if there really was a national imperitive to reduce fuel consumption, slapping a fat tax on gas would 'natually' acheive it.
    And for what it's worth, don't forget about the huge gasoline taxes that are common in Europe. Since it is taxed per gallon, cars there all use high octane. High octane yeilds more power per gallon when run in a suitable higher compression engine.
    Just another thing to consider in the comparing apples to oranges discussion.






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