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The September 2008 Car Update


The September 2008 Car Update

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The September 2008 Car Update

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Someguy
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Steve,

Thanks for the update. It's extremely helpful to hear a perspective from someone who is using the technology on a regular basis and who makes such a balanced presentation.

A note on hydrogen - it's showing a lot of promise for some scenarios. For example, in New York city not too far from where I live some of the city buses are powered by hydrogen. That makes a lot of sense since they don't travel far from their refueling stations. You don't need to create massive infrastructure (just add a few tanks at the current depots), and it's a big help in cleaning up dirty city air. I'm not sure about cost-effectiveness for now, but that will certainly change at some point in the future.

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Steve,
Great to see it working out for you. Your numbers at the bottom don't look right, however. It looks like the "conservative" and "realistic" numbers might be swapped.
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JimFive
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Yeah, I was going to ask about your conservative and realistic savings. Generally speaking I'd expect conservative estimates to be lower than realistic since, by definition, you're being cautious.
richard.rabe
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Thanks for posting your update on the Prius. I own a 2002 prius we were fortunate to pick up used in January. My wife and I car pool (110 miles a day) and we were replacing a 22mpg Mazda van. The savings we realize are incredible.

On the batteries, our Prius has 114,000 miles on it, we put on the last 22k ourselves including trips to D.C. for delivering and picking up college kids, etc. Our only service to-date has been routine. We don't get as good a mileage as you do (ours is the ealier generation model) but still average 48mpg 9 months out of the year and 44mpg the rest (deep winter New england).

Would I recommend a hybrid? Yes. It really changes the way you drive (although you don't have to change the way you drive). I also have a friend who has a Honda Fit, she routinely gets 38 - 40 mpg on that non-hybrid car. Rummors have it Honda is planning on a hybrid version getting 60mpg...

All this is good news.

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The real time feedback is an amazing training tool. While I don't own a hybrid, I purchased a ScanGuage II that connects to the OBDII port on my 2004 Ford Freestar. With the real time feedback, I have made changes that increased my MPG by nearly 3 miles per gallon. At the current prices for gas, I paid off the ScanGuage in less than a month and now just keep realizing the savings.

Go to www.cleanmpg.com for tips to improve your mileage as well as a group purchase discount for your very own ScanGuage.
Steve Jones
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Yep, had the numbers switched. With my tax credit, I think I've paid off the hybrid extra cost (about $4k) and am doing better now every month.

With the new tires we're looking to take it skiing a few times this winter, so the next update or two should have some notes about hybrid slaloming in the mountains.

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My wife's car (the one we use 90% of the time, since she likes to drive and I don't) is an old Mazda Protege. Standard transmission, non-hybrid, etc. We get a little over 30 mpg with it city, and between 45 and 50 highway (which we don't drive very often). Our commute is just about 1 mile each way. We've owned the car since '99, and it just hit the 60k miles mark, which includes moves from Montana to Washington DC, and from DC to Texas. It's had routine maintenance and been very inexpensive to own.

I keep thinking about upgrading that to a hybrid, but the numbers don't add up quite yet. Probably will in another year or two.

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Steve Jones - Editor (9/29/2008)
... With the new tires we're looking to take it skiing a few times this winter, so the next update or two should have some notes about hybrid slaloming in the mountains.

That's what I'm interested in knowing. We get a fair amount of snow at my wife's house and I'd like to know how a front-wheel drive hybrid does in mountain snow. A Toyota salesman told me that the main battery is effectively in a thermos, so as long as you drive it at least every other day, the battery stays warm in cold weather.

We drive to Phoenix seemingly every other month, and that's probably around 1200 miles round trip, so a hybrid has a definite appeal to us. And we'll be replacing my wife's car in the near future, so definite interest for us.

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John Kandrovy
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kinda off the topic/ relevant question is: would fuel/gas mileage be higher if we neglected safety features that put more weight in a car and if we ditch all the electronic gadgets(dvds/cd players, ipods,rechargers,tom toms etc) that require more power?
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