Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Runaway Blog!

One thing is certain. This "runaway" blog is getting way more mileage than my hybrid car, evident in the recent CBS News Coverage about the hybrid mileage issue. Which prompts me to once again issue a strong disclaimer. I'm a passionate believer in hybrid technology -- always have, and always will be. I simply have strong issues with how the misleading, innacurate EPA estimates are being positioned with consumers. Nothing will kill the hybrid movement faster, or impede the ability of forward-looking hybrid manufacturers to recoup their investment in this important technology, than consumer cynicism born of mismanaged expectations. Reforming EPA mileage estimates is paramount, but sellers need to take critical steps as well. (More on that part in my next blog entry.)


At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,
I wonder what would happen if you were to trade cars for a couple of weeks with another local Civic Hybrid car owner who gets somewhere near the expected mileage. Is the problem with your car, or where and how you drive it? If the former, you and the person you trade with should swap relative mileage figures. If the latter, there should be minimal change for both of you.
I rented one for 3 days at Dulles last June. Friday and Saturday were a bunch of short 5-10 minute trips around the area. Except for the first couple of miles where I was getting used to the car, I drove as I normally do rather than trying to maximize mileage. I did not want people thinking Hybrids couldn't get out of their own way. Sunday I drove the highway to Alexandria (near DC), picked up my sister-in-law and went to the National Zoo then dropped her back home. Lots of stop and go city there. Then back to Dulles for the flight home. All of this is relatively flat country. Total miles: 115: roughly 60 highway and 55 city miles. Avg MPG 49+
This is neither an exhaustive nor scientific test but it shows that higher mileage than you are getting is possible without any extreme measures.

For comparsion, I then rented a 2003 Prius at LAX for 10 days. I was only getting about 35 mpg from there in July 4th weekend gridlock on the interstate and around Burbank, but it was hot and the A/C was on most of the time so the engine never shut off. From Burbank, I went to San Diego. A/C on again but almost all highway miles. Avg started rising. Some more short trips around SD, then back up to Huntington Beach. Some short trips there then back down to San Diego. Steep interstate hills at 70+ (still had power to accelerate uphill, quite surprised). About 500 miles, probably about 350 were highway. Avg mpg was about 47.

Bruce Alvarez
South Burlington, VT

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