Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Moment Of Zen?

As a proud and a happy owner of the
Toyota Prius, I had one of those moments yesterday. We bought this car about 2 years ago when they were hard to find. I got ours when they were hard to find and we drove down to Delaware from Connecticut to pick it up. I guess it is our little way of saying this is a technology that needs to be embraced so as it matures and evolves and as more and more people will go for it, there will be an incentive to make it better. Not to mention that the great gas mileage and reduced carbon emissions are and added bonus to help save our troubled planet.

Coming back to my moment, while leaving from work on the highway yesterday, I was in the middle lane and to my left and right were both Toyota Priuses. I had to smile, I am glad more and more people are buying these. I thought mine was a anecdotal observation and not scientific at all, but I see a lot of Priuses these days on the roads. On our little block we have two neighbors who drive them and our neighborhood has about 4 more. But the latest sales figures from Toyota bear that out too. As per
this NYTimes article..

The Toyota Prius, a hybrid car once viewed as a niche product, was one of the
top-selling models over all last month as its sales more than doubled.

I have read about better hybrids being in development including a plug in hybrid and with better technology this mpg number will only improve. I have been approached by several strangers at parking lots and gas stations asking me about the car and it’s mileage. Currently am getting about 50 miles to a gallon, with more warm weather this will probably go up. So there is interest out there for this technology and I am glad to see it do well.

This is more important because our
CAFE standards have not changed in ages (Current CAFE standards require new cars in model year 2005 to average 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks to average 21 mpg -- targets that have hardly changed in the last two decades, though they are supposed to go up but not enough), and with oil men in this administration in charge this ain’t gonna change for a while.

As individuals I guess we can all make smart choices like consuming more responsibly. But the power that the government has and the responsibility that it has cannot be understated. The much more sensible Europeans have a standard of about 45 mpg and we are stuck in the 20s (link). The amount of reductions in oil imports and greenhouse gases that could have been achieved if we had changed CAFE standards post 9/11, with government help and support would have a done a lot more to generate goodwill around the world rather than the stupid war in Iraq that is based on lies and is costing is much in dollars and more importantly in lives.

No bigger point to this post I guess, just a sort of a rant with that
moment of Zen. Don't see many of those together do you?


Something to Say said...

more power to you !! and to your ilk!!

ML said...

Yeah, you're doing your part for the environment!

Mona Buonanotte said...

And the Big Three Automakers are wondering why sales are down and folks are buying more Toyotas.


Good on ya for owning that car!

Aditi said...

go you!!
dont some of the bigger cars like SUV not avg even 27 mpg?

Asha said...

I like my SUV!!:(

Sanjay said...

@something/ml/Mona thanks, doing my 2 cents worth.

@Aditi.. Yes the biggest hummer gets you like 1- 12 miles to a gallon.

@Asha. Nothing wrong with liking your SUV. All our choices come with their attendant consequences. I guess we do what we can.

meno said...

It's nice to be at the beginning of the revolution.

I really wanted to buy a Prius when i got my last car but i just didn't fit.

Duffy said...

How do you reason that your mpg will increase with warmer weather coming?

The Prius consumes more energy end to end than a Hummer.

Sanjay said...

@meno.. Hope that is what it is.

@Duffy. I have been driving a Prius for 2 years, been charting the mileage.

I love your defense of the hummer, though :-)

I am talking about mpg and reduced carbon emissions.

And I have heard that argument about the Prius taking more energy to produce.

And even if I run with your thought for a moment, the fuel and reduced emissions are surely worth the benefit. And the nickel battery technology is slowly going away to be replaced by better tech.

Also that comparison between the Hummer and Prius. Priuses do last beyond that 100K miles that ppl love to quote, and hummers last for 300k? yep thats a new one ;)

People are free to drive what they want you know, just pointing out all our actions have consequences big and small and intended as well as otherwise.

Also that energy to produce argument can be extended to all the crap that we buy from China and other parts of the world.

Sort of similar logic goes in to saying alcohol from corn is great instead of hybrids. There is really not a lot of energy benefit to that entire process of getting alcohol from corn. Not to mention the impact on the food chain that a huge conversion to corn cultivation will cost.

I guess I am arguing for a multitude of approaches to wean us off fossil fuels,frankly we could have done a better job you know?

Regardless it's great to hear a counter argument, thanks for stopping by. :)

Beach Bum said...

The next car my wife and I buy will at least be a good mileage car and maybe even a Prius or hybrid Civic. Like mona wrote about the big three here in this country wondering about why their sales are down you make a great car at a reasonable price and the people will come. Ford made me want to puke when they rolled out that crappy SUV hybrid with milagae not much beter than the regular model, at least that is what I'm told. It will take about another 18 months to get a few issues out the way but we will be joining you on the hybrid side soon.

Carrie said...

I would love one but when we looked last they were $28000. Kinda out of my price range.

I'm proud of you!

Lotus Reads said...

I think you're onto something, Sanjay, I have been seeing a lot more hybrid cars in my neck of the woods too!

It's probably because the Canadian government's new proposed budget includes both a $2,000 incentive for buying fuel efficient vehicles and a $4,000 tax for purchasing SUV's. We got rid of our SUV last year and believe me, I feel so much lighter!

Congrats on driving a Prius...way to go!

Sanjay said...

@Carrie. They may be lower now and hopefully, they keep falling in prices in the future.

Sanjay said...

@Lotus. Thanks. Not sure if I am on to something, but like you said just seeing more of these cars now.

Yay for the Canadian government tax breaks for hybrids and the tax for buying SUVs. Congratulations on getting rid of your SUV!

Hope you had fine Wednesday?

patches said...

Way to go getting a Prius! The Missus's next vehicle will be more efficient than the current one. I doesn't qualify as a gas guzzler, but it is not as efficient as other vehicles in its size. She contributes to the environment by driving less that 4,000 miles a year, so a trade is still a few years away. You are right. The responsibility of making the world a better place rests on all our shoulders : )

Beenzzz said...

I have been seriously considering a Pruis or some other hybrid car when I buy my next vehicle. We need to do everything we can to save the environment. When I was abroad (not to beat that experience to death)the pollution was awful. Everyone was coughing and we were beginning to hack like the locals. I swear I could feel the pollution sitting on my hair. That is a scary thought and I hope that all of us take this issue a lot more seriously than we have been. Great post!

Lucia said...

Yes! We can all make choices about consuming more responsibly.

I so want a Prius...

Sai said...

It is indeed a moment of Zen! you are doing your part for the environment. I drove this morning with two SUV's on the either side of me and it made me MAD!!!!:)

deepsat said...

indeed a moment of zen!! hope very soon ppl become more conscious abt the environment rather than their personal space!!

Sanjay said...

@Patches.. thanks. I am glad you folks are thinking about that.

@Beenzzz.. thanks. I agree regarding the pollution in India. I invariable end up with some respiratory ailment or another.

@Lucia. You are doing a lot in your own way to make this world a better place. :)

@Sai.. you should get a hummer! just kidding!

@deepsat.. one can only hope.

Mike Mahaffie said...


I too have noticed more Prii. and, while I'm glad to see more and more low-emissions vehicles out there, I do feel a bit less special behind the wheel of my Prius now. When I bought my first, the old model, they were really rare.