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« To The Blacksburg Rotary Club - Thank You | Main | Public Speaking Leads To More Opportunities For All of Us To Connect »

September 04, 2008

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Mike

I was just there and didn't see all that. Thanks for posting the pics!

I also have noticed all the bikes, motorcycles, mopeds and other alternative forms of transportation. Before that though I use to see a lot of Prius here in Blacksburg. I'd always see at least one or two a day.

I'm so glad people here and across the country are finally getting smart. I guarantee we'll start seeing articles in the coming years of the weight loss the high gas prices have caused. I've always said gas prices were too low (I know that's not a popular thing to say), but now that they're high, look how much better things are around here!

Jeremy

Mike, I was just talking with someone a minute ago about this - they took the structure down in a matter of hours, couldn't believe how quickly it came down. They'll have a new building up by the end of the day today, as fast as they're moving.

I've always thought that Prius' were kind of a gimmicky thing, particularly in driving environments such as ours. My understanding is that the electric engine is good up to 25mph, and then gas kicks in and overrides it. In environments like ours, where traffic is always moving, the only benefit to the electric engine is the burning of fuel when the car starts, right? That's how I understood it anyway.

Anyway, as you well know, European nations understood urban planning - or, at least practiced urban planning - better than we do here in the States, and have fostered walking and biking not only within small communities but also major metropolitan centers as well. It's nice to see that trend gaining some momentum here in the States, I'd certainly like to see it continue. Maybe higher gas prices have had an unintended benefit in terms of people using pedal power more ...

Ryan

First of all, let me throw in support for East Coasters. I've bought three bikes from them and take all my bikes there for service and they're wonderful. It's a little pricey (but fair), and you definitely get what you pay for.

Now, about the Prius, I'm not an expert, but here's what I understand. First of all, you're correct about not getting the *full* potential in our constant driving environment. The electric motors handle everything when the care is moving below 30 MPH (or stopped), in addition, they kick in on the highway for climbing hills and passing. This keeps the gasoline engine from having to do the extra work, and the electric motors can actually respond better to those situation. Thus, the gasoline engine is specifically engineered and tuned for a very specific operation which allows it to be way more efficient than a standard gasoline engine. It uses the Atkinson-cycle engine (as opposed to the standard four-cycle engine of most cars) which is considerably more efficient, but less powerful.

Furthermore, the shape of the Prius gives is much less drag from wind than most cars on the road today. Also, there is some seriously advanced computing going on under the hood to make sure the car is responding in the most efficient way possible at all times. The computer constantly adjusts the mix between the gasoline and electric motors.

The EPA says you get 45MPG in a constant driving environment, but that number goes up to nearly 50MPG in a city-driving conditions. This is with the EPAs newly revised testing procedures. Based on these numbers, the 2008 Prius is the most fuel efficient car on the road today.

Jeremy

Thanks Ryan for the explanation. I *briefly* looked at the Prius when I bought my car in 2006, it just didn't seem like it was worth the difference in price.

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