The May Car Update (2007)

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It's that time of month, and I'll limit to once a month, but most of you reading this on a daily basis realize that I love cars, so you have to put up with the occasional update. If you don't want to hear about cars, skip this editorial.

It's been awhile since I mentioned the whole car thing, but there's been a change out here in Denver. My wife and I had been debating what to do when the lease runs out on our minivan. We don't want to keep it and we have been thinking about a car with better gas mileage. So we were debating it when I noticed this page on Mar 30, 2007.

It shows that the Prius tax credit, $1575, ended the next day. My wife was in Dallas, coming home the next day, and that credit provides a good offset to the extra you pay for a hybrid. I'd tried for the full rebate last year, but there weren't enough hybrids available to buy. So we talked, ran some numbers, and decided to get one.

So I've entered the "environmental movement" with the purchase of a Prius. And I have to say it's interested. The kids talk about global warming in school and so they think it's cool we are doing something. The computer in the car shows the mileage you're getting in real time as well as the last 30 minutes of driving (shown above). It's a pretty cool display and it encourages me to drive more carefully.

The amount of data you get is pretty cool in the car. Navigation, phone book synch with the cell phone, multiple users, gas consumption, and more. The only thing that might work better is if I could easily download this to a USB key or even as a file to my phone.

One very interesting thing was brought up by my neighbor. With the talk about revising the EPA estimates to lower the numbers on mileage, he thought that maybe the computer was "rigged" to show better fuel consumption than it's really getting. He didn't believe that I was getting 50mpg as the computer showed. The overall mileage can be reset, which my daughter loves to do, so I decided to use one of the odometers to track mileage and calculate mpg based on full fill ups.

On the 3rd fill up, I calculated 48.6mpg and the 4th showed 50.7mpg. And both of those tanks were well over 450 miles on a $12-15 fill up!

I'm not sure how much of an environmental impact I'm making, but I know this car definitely seems to be performing as expected.

Steve Jones

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