The January Car Update

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The January Car Update

  • According to a recent radio ad by one of the better known railways, freight trains use only 1 gallon of fuel to haul 1 ton (2,000 pounds) 443 miles... we already have the technology... we just need to apply it to a different environment.

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Steve,

    Can you really compare a van to a Prius? Would you compare RAM or your Branson to your Prius? I realize you might have replaced a van with a Prius but that may be a little beside the point. You need to compare your Prius with a similar non-hybrid vehicle that you would have replaced your van with. Something like a Nisson Altima or Honda Accord.

    By the way, where does Toyota get off listing the Prius as a mid-size car? I find that just bizarre. I've test driven a Prius and no way does it qualify as a mid-size car for carrying capacity. Sure it has that nice boxy headroom that makes it feel large but it is NOT a mid-size car. Nonetheless, the cars I listed above are midsize.

    I appreciate the fact that you bought a midsize Prius and are concerned about saving gas but I think that for true analysis you need to compare apples to apples. Your comparison is like comparing the energy usage of a desktop to a server. Sure you use less energy with the desktop. But the server is much more powerful and can handle a greater load. Then again, if you can do without a server/van and live with a desktop/Prius for your purposes, you would be spendthrift to waste the energy and maintenance costs on a server/van.

    Just my 2 cents and keep up the good work.


  • Oh, and I live in the same area where we have the advertisements to haul 1 ton 443 miles. My thought has always been, "How would I park a freight train in my driveway?":hehe:

  • Unfortunately the hybrid car is one of those things where you can find plenty of information for and against their use - just to confuse the consumer. I think there's some very smart engineering going into the cars and we should introduce more enticements for people to purchase such cars. We drive a very low emissions turbo diesel Peugeot 307, which, for highway driving, ends up being more efficient than the prius with a much nicer ride and bigger car.

    In Australia at the moment there's really no incentive to buy a hybrid unless you have a lot of spare cash (around $10k more). But I think if there were incentives to get one (or disincentives to not have one) then perhaps the uptake would be greater. Larger market -> more investment -> etc -> etc. Eventually we'll get there 😀 I am too young to properly remember but our govt mandated back in (I think) '86 that all new cars were to use unleaded fuel. That changeover wasn't so bad in hindsight - perhaps such a cutoff point for a switch to all hybrids, or something else like hybrid hydrogen or efficient diesel, with enough lead time, could help?


  • My two biggest complaint about the hybrids.

    1) not many people are talking about the replacement costs, recycling, etc for the battery packs.

    2) the cars are tiny. I'm 6'5" and over 300 pounds (think offensive lineman, state trooper). I can barely fit into most cars. The only vehicles I comfortably fit in are: the Crown Victoria, the Mercedes E-Class, my S-Class, my Dodge 2500, and the larger Cadillacs. I've tried Audi, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, All GM, Volvo. SAAB is a close runner up, but not quite. The problem isn't headroom. The problem is the auto industry thinks I'm 14 inches wide. Perhaps some narrow shouldered people can fit in them, but I cant.

    Lastly, Corbin Motors (RIP) had introduced the Sparrow, an all electric car. Range of 30 miles was enough to get most people back and forth to work. It wasn't meant to replace your car, it was meant to augment. Corbin had some internal fighting and the company folded. The corpse was purchased by Meyers Motors and they are producing the same vehicle, but for more than twice the price.

    Honor Super Omnia-
    Jason Miller

  • I think you're right on by looking at the airline industry for huge reductions in oil dependency. Interestingly, the US Air Force has been exploring alternate fuels such as bio-fuel and coal-to-liquid fuel. They have B-52s flying on alternate fuels and are looking to get cargo planes certified too. They are also looking to build a coal-to-fuel plant at Malmstrom AFB in Montana.

  • My tractor gets better mileage that many cars. I'm considering driving it to work every day. Parking at home would be problematic but in parking lots I'd win hands down - no one would park their frou-frou car anywhere near me, wouldn't worry about dings (most car doors couldn't reach the tractor body, anyway), and chances of it being stolen are pretty small. The biggest plus? Not many people are going to p!ss off some lunatic driving a tractor in the city.

  • After having the car for 10 months, I think it compares well with a midsize car. It's certainly not small. We can haul 5 people + a decent amount of cargo in the back. Perhaps not as much as an Accord, but it probably depends on shape since the Accord has a trunk and we have a hatch.

    The width is less, so it's tighter than the Camry or Accord, but it's a similar size for people/cargo.

    I understand your point on the comparisons, but I have two reasons. First is that a minivan would have been wasteful, but that was the alternative for us. Mostly because without the hybrid savings, I'm not a big fan of sedans. So that's my savings.

    The second is that I don't have experience, nor have I access to those other cars to guess on mileage. Having had 4 minivans over 12 years, I have a pretty good idea of the gas mileage and how it will go with those vehicles.

    Jason, I think you're stuck. O-lineman need to stuck with the trucks 🙂

    As far as the downsides of hybrids, I have no idea what will come when we do the batteries. I don't know how long they'll last (appears to be well over 100,000 from reports) and no idea of the impact. There was an article a couple years ago that said overall the Hummer H2 was more eco-friendly because of the way the two vehicles are manufactured. I think the problem is defining what's eco-friendly. Is disposal more or less important than emissions? Hard to say.

    I like the Prius, it's not perfect, not for everyone and it's a nice supplement for our lifestyle. I think a hybrid or even electric are good second cars, especially if you need to commute and it's often 1-2 people. However I like my 911 and definitely prefer driving it 🙂

  • I have used ZipCar in Boston and have to say it is great. I would never think it would succeed at $9 an hour for new model cars (Even BMWs but a little more than $9 an hour) but the cars seem to be booke over 50% of the time. Great idea and great execution.

  • I'm very excited at the prospect of a hybrid truck. I've been driving Tacomas for years and have been wishing for a hybrid truck. My current Tacoma won't need replacing for a while, but I'll be looking for one of these when I do need to replace it. As long as I can put a camper shell on it, I'll be happy:P

    BTW, my brother has been driving one of the first Priuses for years. It still runs like a champ, and he hasn't had to replace the battery yet.

  • I've been following the new car technology for a few years now. Even considered buying an old diesel and converting it to vegetable oil. Over the last year I have come to some conclusions. The internal combustion engine is way obsolete. That's not news, but the point I make is that "alternative fuels" such as ethanol and such are impractical and don't change the fact that the engine itself is grossly outdated. Current technology is already bypassing the need for such alternatives. I've always suspected that ultimately pure electric is the logical endpoint, but until recently economics and technology were not quite there yet. Over the past couple years gasoline has tripled in price and crude itself is rising at roughly the same rate. Supply and Demand did it's job and Hybrids have taken off in the market. The current hybrids though are really just a band aid. I'm really excited about the plugin hybrids coming out in the next year or two such as the Chevy Volt. It is supposed to run entirely on batteries for the first 40 miles, powered entirely by batteries that are charged when you plug in your car at night. To maintain a charge after the first 40 miles a small gas powered generator serves only to charge the battery. It plays no role in actually moving the car. For a lot of people this means going months without filling up. Even on the longest a trips, they estimate around 50 miles to the gallon to keep the batteries charged. We are only a few more years away from batteries that will take you 300+ miles. Then we can truly end our dependence on oil for a large portion of our transportation needs, and all done by the free market acting on supply and demand.

  • If your goal is people-miles per gallon instead of miles/gallon, think ride-sharing. See

    And when you're on the road, count the empty seats rolling by.

  • Ahem, doesn't this count as a Hybrid truck?

    GM is supposedly coming out with a complete line of hybrid trucks in the near future.

  • William,

    Thanks for the link and that is definitely cool. I knew they were working on something, including the Volt, but hadn't seen this one.

    I would love to see all the companies sharing some technology here. I know there's a competitive advantage to being first, but the goal needs to be better emissions/renewable energy for everyone.

    I think electric is where we'll all get. It's been powering railroads for years and it's a matter of time before it drives everything else. Plus if you go electric, then you have a choice of energy generation, solar assist, charge with the windmill at night, gas, ethanol (corn, sugar or whatever), diesel, pick your choice.

    I bet we'll still be using electric motors to drive the wheels when we get the Back to the Future fusion reactor!

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