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“Confessions of an eco-snob”

“But none of that compared to the real horror — encountering actual Prius owners…” Bwahahaha! 😀

Loved this article when I first read it in 2007, and went looking for it this weekend when I finally broke down and ditched my empty Colgate tube in favor of using my cruelty-free Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and was reminded of it. Wasn’t too hard to find, I started out googling “Prius” and “Tom’s of Maine”, and when that didn’t pull it up, added “trumpet” (yes, trumpet) to the search, and BOOYAH! Found it. I love google. 😀 Three seemingly unrelated terms pulled up exactly what I wanted.

Read on! :)

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Confessions of an eco-snob

One day, just a regular motorist with a regular car.
Then along came a Prius.

February 02, 2007|Liane Bonin |

IT’S NOT LIKE I’ve been tooling around with Ed Begley Jr., recycling my gently used toilet paper and making dress shirts out of reclaimed hair and bottle caps. I don’t hug trees or pose nude for PETA (not that they’ve asked me or anything). I’m not that person. I’m not an eco-snob.

Or at least I wasn’t. Until the Prius.

When the transmission in my loyal ’92 Accord started gurgling on the 405, I had to shop for a new car. I had vowed to hold out for a flying car (weren’t those supposed to be in dealerships by now?) but, with sadness in my heart, I began looking for my next landlocked, fossil-fuel guzzling companion.

I heard rumors about the Prius. Nasty rumors. That its mileage claims couldn’t be trusted, that it might die on me just when I thought we could go the distance together.

A car with commitment issues and a reputation for stalling? Sounded like an ex-boyfriend.

But none of that compared to the real horror — encountering actual Prius owners.

If I so much as mentioned that I was considering purchasing a hybrid car, these eco-bullies would clutch onto my arm with surprising strength (probably developed signing petitions to save the whales/wolves/flesh-eating sea rats). “You never have to fill up your tank! You can drive in the carpool lanes!” they’d burble, clearly high on the idea of low emissions. Then they’d drop into a low, conspiratorial tone. “And really, isn’t it our responsibility? Isn’t it the least you can do for the environment?” A sad smile would be followed by a heavy sigh redolent of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. Oh, the burden of being one of the few unselfish humanitarians to tiptoe on the Earth.

Even as I signed the car loan papers, I denied the inevitable. Just as I would never become exactly like my parents, I would never become a self-important jackass who believed getting 49 miles to the gallon would save the Arctic Circle.

The transformation was gradual. Bewitched by my nifty LCD multi-informational display panel with its gauge, I soon discovered that I could get really great gas mileage by coasting along at a jaunty 20 mph in the fast lane of the 405. The resulting cacophony of horns was simply a trumpets fanfare telling me that, yes, I was at that very second getting 99.9 mpg !

At a gas station one afternoon, I felt perfectly comfortable leveling a death-ray glare at the soccer mom behind me. I hated her simply for her passenger-free, fuel-sucking Land Rover — which was certainly canceling out all my hybrid’s hard eco-work. As she nervously studied the interior of her designer purse to avoid eye contract with the clearly psychotic woman facing her (me), I felt no guilt in wishing an eco-karma death for her. (Choking on her own fumes would be ironic, but swallowed whole by polar bears worked too.)

With one foot constantly poised on the brake, the better to charge my batteries, I found myself shooting nasty looks at SUV drivers even before they’d cut me off. I would nod at other Prius owners in traffic, the secret eco-handshake of the open road.

Then came the day when a friend mentioned that her junker was gasping its last breath. I tried to resist, but the words spilled out, the faintest taste of organic mint lingering on my tongue. “You know, I haven’t filled my tank in two whole weeks…. “

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See? LOL. Loved the whole “The resulting cacophony of horns was simply a trumpets fanfare telling me that, yes, I was at that very second getting 99.9 mpg!” bit. Not that I DO that of course. Have been known to grumble at SUVs once in a while though, and well, grumble at Hummers ALL the time. The nerve of them cancelling out my Prius’s “hard eco-work”. 😀

(attempting another crosspost to Facebook, didn’t like yesterday’s attempt at all, so trying something different. Please be patient.)

Prius: "guess" gauge vs gas gauge!

Got to 413* miles on the Prius yesterday before the “low fuel” light started to flash at me on the dashboard letting me know that I was apparently driving around on fumes. Had planned on filling up a couple of days before, but the Beltline traffic flow was, well, NOT flowing, and I got off to go home a different way that night. And ended up nowhere near the CostCo gas station. But I was at two pips on the gauge still, so figured I’d have time to get it after work yesterday.

It dropped down to one pip on the way to work in the morning, and as I was pulling up to the intersection right by the CostCo on the way home, the Prius beeped at me and my one remaining pip started to flash. Had a wee bit of a wait at the gas station when I pulled in, but since the Prius burns NO gas while it’s just sitting there idling, no worries about running out of gas while I waited. It gave me a chance to pull out the Toyota manual to see exactly WHAT that flashing light meant, if it said exactly how many gallons were left when it started to flash.

Nope. But DID find out that the tank held 11.9 gallons. So figured I’d just wait until I filled up, subtract how much it took, and find out how much gas was left that way. Yes, I’m a whole lotta years out of school, and I’m actually doing a WORD problem! :-O

It took 9.17 gallons. *does some quick math* Which left me with 2.73 gallons supposedly left in the tank. Now, based on the Prius getting, say, 50mpg, that should mean that I could still go another 136.5 miles before running out of gas. Seems a little early to be getting that “low fuel” warning.

HOW-EVAH! Every Prius forum I’ve ever looked at says thinking that way will, at some point, leave you stranded and out of gas someplace. Because while the tank officially holds 11.9 gallons, the amount that it can actually hold varies, depending on whether the car is warm or cold, if the gas is warm or cold, etc. Case in point: drove up to Virginia for a concert one summer. Filled the tank in the afternoon before I left when both the car and the gas were warm, still had half a tank when I got to Charlottesville. Topped it off before leaving the next morning, while the car and gas were still cold, by the time I got back home, I was nearly on fumes. So temperature makes a HUGE difference in how much the tank holds.

So, when is 11.9 gallons of gas not necessarily 11.9 gallons of gas? When you drive a Prius. Hence why a lot of Prius owners call the gas gauge the “guess” gauge instead. Which is why I usually like to fill up somewhere between 2 and 3 pips on the gauge, to make sure I don’t run out of gas. Although supposedly that even if you run out of gas, I read that a Prius will run on battery alone for about three miles if need be.

Not something I ever want to try, thank you very much. :)

*and for the record, I checked to see if 413 miles on one tank of gas was a record for the car for me, and actually either last summer or the summer before, according to the log, I apparently made it 415 miles, with one pip left, before I chickened out and filled up.

And also for the record, since filling up yesterday, current mileage? 51.1 mpg. 😀 Woot! Good thing too, since gas is up to $2.69 at CostCo.