Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Ride in a Prius

On our mini-vacation last weekend, I got to take my first ride in a Prius. It's a nice enough car, comfortable and well-appointed, but I'm not sure I understand what all the fuss is about. According to the readout on the dash, the thing was averaging about 38 MPG. That's great and all, but my 2001 Nissan Altima FredMobile gets 22-25 MPG. There's a difference, but I just don't see that big of one.

More to the point, I bought my FredMobile used. A Prius is most likely bought new because there are so few used ones available. No ore was strip-mined in order for me to obtain transportation, no streams polluted with the leavings of polyvinyl extrusions. The Prius, I'm afraid, leaves a great deal of refuse in its wake. The FredMobile was the ultimate in recycling as is buying anything used. Extending that, the furniture in our house all came from consignment stores. That's recycling, right?

Doesn't that make my FredMobile and my Dave Ramsey lifestyle more eco-friendly than that of the Prius drivers? Of course, I don't get to parade my ecological sanctimony around town and drive with my nose in the air, but shouldn't I? Hmmm. That leads me to an interesting idea for a bumpersticker.

You can buy one here.


Jeff Burton said...

And the smug bugs don't compare very well to my dad's '81 diesel VW Rabbit, which got an incredible 60 mpg on the highway.

Tim Eisele said...

Heck, even my 1994 Ford Ranger *pickup* [1] gets almost 30 mpg when driving unloaded. And my old 1982 Ford EXP got almost 40[2]. Neither of those is really *intended* to be an "economy" vehicle (the EXP had delusions of being a sports car. I got it cheap because the delusion was not very convincing).

My understanding is that hybrids like the Prius mainly save gas while you are sitting in traffic jams not moving (because it just shuts off the engine instead of idling, letting you do all the slow inching-forward stuff on batteries). When you are actually *going* somewhere, the extra batteries and motor/generator set are just a lot of extra weight to carry. Traffic jams are not an issue around here, so a Prius makes about as much sense as stabbing myself with a fork.

[1] Of course, it's a *small* pickup, 2-wheel drive and kind of underpowered for towing heavy objects, but it does all the normal pick-uppy things adequately. I bought it new, and with any luck it will hold out another 12 years or so and my daughters will be able to learn to drive in it.

[2] That is, until I lost coolant and cracked the head on the engine. Then the mileage rather understandably went all to pot during the drive to the scrapyard.

K T Cat said...

Great comment, Tim. I have no idea what my 1984 Datsun pickup gets for mileage, but it's got to be pretty good.

In any case, I don't want people to think I was bashing the Prius. It's a neat technology and it does enhance your gas mileage considerably. I just didn't see the need to jump up and down about it.

It's kind of like Macs. Yep, they're nice computers. Hooray for Macs! Can we move on now?

Kelly the little black dog said...

Love the sticker. Ya Prius smugness is almost as bad as Subaru smugness. Where vehicles like the Prius really shine is in stop and go commute traffic. My uncle recently got a Smart car. It gets better highway mileage than what you got with the Prius.

As for the mileage of your 84 Datsun, I'd guess low 20's. Barry had a 4WD one of these an only got 19. The difference between the ones with and without 4WD was less than 4 mpg. I wonder what they'd get these days with fuel injection, and modern transmissions and engines? Maybe almost 30?

K T Cat said...

Kelly, I don't know if you'll be back to read these comments again, but I think you and I agree on being green in quite a few ways. Probably on water as well. We're not planting a lawn at our new house for that reason alone.

Maybe there is a good dose of sanctimoniousness here.


Captchadef: bubch (n): the noise a drum machine makes in the background. "bubch-bubch-bubch-bubch..."

Kelly the little black dog said...

I'm back.

Ya, its that tight wad puritanism we grew up with. ;)

Congrats to Wolf. When is your turn?

K T Cat said...

Kelly, we're awaiting word from Rome. Well, not Rome per se, but San Bernardino. That's close to Rome, isn't it?


Annulments work by getting the local diocese to sign off on it (check!) and then getting a neighboring diocese to sign off on it to prevent political influence from being used in the decision process. It's all a slam dunk, but even slam dunks take time.

We've joked that when it comes in, we'll run over to our parish priest so fast that he'll wonder why the ink from the document is coming off on his hands.


Dean said...

ummm... I think I'd might like to buy a bumper sticker from KT's store. For reals, dude? I suppose I'll find out.

K T Cat said...


Yep, I set up a store for myself. Yay?