Friday, April 08, 2005

Getting Your Prius Gas Mileage

I hate to admit this, but yesterday was the first time I ever rode in a Prius. Please don’t misunderstand, I do have a few (distant) friends that have Priuses. I’m not that socially isolated from the cool set. But I hadn’t ridden in one myself until finally, yesterday, my friend Susan gave me a ride in her new Prius. My son and I, sitting in the back seat, were hypnotized by the large glowing screen, showing our location on a map at an accuracy of two meters, moving slowly up the street.

But Susan quickly flipped the screen to her standard mode. A bar chart showing gas mileage. And showed us her new driving mode. Instead of trying to make it to the next light before it turns green, she concentrates on getting the instantaneous gas mileage as low as possible. It’s like a computer game. How far do you let go of the gas (low, but not too low…) to get the best gas mileage. She even has conversations with her friends about it.

Sample car phone conversation:

Susan: “What’s your gas mileage now?”
Laurie: “49 mpg”
Susan: “Mine is 52”… feeling very proud of herself…

This all does wonders for her gas mileage. But imagine what it does for the number of cars on the road, and for the blood pressure of those driving behind her. Instead of taking 15 minutes to drive from my house to hers, it takes her 30 minutes. That means she’s on the road for double the time, doubling the amount of traffic congestion she produces. Add to that the aggravation of those drivers driving behind her who were sure they were going to get through that red light, before they realized that the little larvae in front of them was slowing down to a crawl…

I’m all for the Prius, but maybe that on-screen mpg display should be abolished…

2 Comments:

At 4:34 PM, Blogger WHTC said...

we're having a problem with our 2008 Prius...it's not getting good mileage. around 28-30...it's winter and it's cold, but that shouldn't be the problem. Anyone else experiencing this?

 
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