Time to gloat

What better way to follow up on my last post about the war monger than to gloat over my recent victory at the gas pump? I filled up the Prius for the first time last night since buying it. I have driven 520 miles and achieved 52 MPGs combined city and highway! Not bad for the break-in period and having to familiarize myself with new driving techniques particular to the hybrid.

This photograph is of the screen that tracks energy consumption over the first 30 minutes of a drive. As you travel you have the ability to regenerate power either by coasting or lightly using the brakes. The regenerative energy is stored in the large NiMh batteries and is used as supplemental power with the internal combustion engine (ICE). The small green cars in the graph are equivalent to 50Wh of regenerated power. Depending on the topography of the roads I am driving on I can coast and earn more cars, or not. There are one or two places on my route to the stables for example where I can completely recharge the NiMh battery by coasting and braking.

The third screen indicates which power sources the car is using. I use this screen to gain a feel for the transition between the ICE turning on and the other electric power sources working. The Prius has a continuous variable transmission, which means it shifts upwards and down without any perceptable jerk or sound. The only time one can feel a slight shudder is when the ICE turns on, otherwise the ride is very smooth
At speeds of 35 Mph and lower the car can be driven in all electric mode, which is what this last picture illustrates. The quiet Prius has fantastic resistance free rolling capabilities, and part of the fun of earning the best MPG is coasting whenever possible. I time my approach to stoplights so that I can glide up to them or lightly use my brakes. If I have traffic all around me I go with the flow, but as soon as I am alone on the road I'm doing my best to use my momentum and maintain the speed in all electric mode.

---See you next time for the following installment of "Prius Love."

Why worry?

An excerpt from the Sunday, June 26 Washington Post article written by Pete Baker, Washington Post staff writer. Page A01

On a personal level, Bush has spent much of his presidency fighting the advance of age with discipline. He wakes at 5:30 a.m., arrives at the Oval Office around 7 and calls it a day around 5:30 or 6 p.m. when he's in Washington. He exercises ferociously with a mountain bike, treadmill and free-weight resistance training. Yesterday, he biked for 2 1/2 hours at a Secret Service training facility in Beltsville. With a resting pulse rate of 47 beats per minute, a cholesterol count of 178 and a body fat percentage of 15.79, he remains in "superior" shape, according to his latest medical checkup.

To be in "superior" shape as one approaches the age of 60 is great. Imagine where this country could be if the same kind of discipline and dedication was applied to its welfare?

The November 13, 2000 cover of The Nation. www.thenation.com Art: Brian Stauffer/www.brianstauffer.com