23. May 2013 · Comments Off on Coast-to-Coast in my Gen1 Prius · Categories: Environment, Hybrid

Alice and I just completed a coast-to-coast (almost) trip in my gen1, 2001 Prius.

This trip totalled over 5500 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina to Redlands, California, where our daughter and her family live. Much of the trip was through mountains and desert and the air-conditioner was on over 80% of the time. As you can see by the picture below, our mileage for 5526 miles was 41.7 MPG. Pretty darn great for a 12-year old hybrid.

Mileage data for our trip to California from Raleigh, NC

Mileage data for our trip to California from Raleigh, NC


Once again we have gone to the beach for a week and returned to Raleigh on a single tank of gas. And then some. This is in our 10 year old, Gen 1 Prius with 143,000 miles on it.

I filled up Thursday, September 1 in Raleigh. We drove to Pine Knoll Shores on Friday. We spent the week being lazy and doing touristy things and drove home again on Friday the 9th.

To the beach and back for a week we got 50.1 MPG.

We got 50.1 MPG going to the beach and back for a week.


I ran some errands on Friday and the picture above shows the Consumption display at the end of the day on Friday. Overall we got 50.1 MPG for this trip of 483 miles.

Then I added about 10 more miles on Saturday running some additional errands before filling up with 10.1 gallons of gas. And I had to try hard to get that much in it.

I sure do love my Prius.

I have had my Toyota Prius for 10 years this past April. I am very happy with it. This news makes me even happier because future Toyotas of all models will use embedded Linux for the onboard control and entertainment systems.

See http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/72867.html for the details and an interesting Top Ten List.

My wife and I drove to Ohio 2 weeks ago. On the way home we stopped for gas about a mile from my mother’s house in Columbus. My intent was to hit a gas station on the WV turnpike or in central NC when we took a break. Well, when we took a break we ate but did not need gas. Still intending to take another break we never did. Got home on 11.1 gallons of gas in my 2001 Toyota Prius.

I filled up last Friday. Friday afternoon we went from NE Raleigh to eat at Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill. Sunday church. Monday Costco and errands. Tuesday we went to Carolina Beach near Wilmington, NC. Ate lunch on the river downtown. Back to the beach. Then home, intending to get gas on the way out of town or on a break. The gas there was too expensive and we did not need a break. Got home with the last bar of the fuel indicator flashing. Went to get gas the next day and put 11.007 gallons in a 11.9 gallon tank. Not the first time we did this.

I love my 2001 Toyota Prius which I bought new and now has over 141,000 miles.

I once had a steering problem in the middle of winter in Cherry Hill, NJ. The dealer treated me like royalty. Said it would take couple days, but we were there for a week anyway. Gave us a car to drive and asked us if we needed a place to stay. Called the second day to say that Toyota engineers requested that they replace all of the mechanical steering components due to the vibration caused by the problem whether there was any visible damage or not. I paid not one single penny for that. And the car was already 4 years old.

I have had similar treatment from any dealer I used, especially the one I purchased the car from here in N Raleigh, Leith Toyota. They replaced the main battery at 86,000 miles, again at no cost to me.

My next car will be a Toyota Prius. No question in my mind at all.

I have not commented on the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico since it started, but I feel it is now time to do so. What a freakin’ mess!! BP — What were you thinking? What are you thinking?

One cannot call this a spill because an overturned glass is a spill; a wrecked railroad car with its contents leaking on the ground or into a stream is a spill, a tanker run aground is a spill. Each of these is inherently limited and thus contains within itself the limits of its potential damage.

The hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is an unchecked tap into a (according to BP) huge reservoir of oil and natural gas with the potential to poison a huge portion of the planet. This is the largest human-caused disaster in all of history.

As oil keeps gushing into the Gulf and the scope of this human and environmental disaster increases exponentially, I watch the people of the Gulf Coast attempting to cope with it and realize that there is no way that this is going to be stopped any time soon. Nor will a complete cleanup even be possible. The oil is not only present on the surface of the water, in fact the vast majority of it is hidden, unseen beneath the surface, like the iceberg that sank the Titanic.

We have run the ship of our oil dependency upon the iceberg of huge multinational corporations whose greed has run amok and caused them to “drill, baby, drill” without regard for safety, the ecology or the welfare of the inhabitants world’s coasts. Neither land-dwelling nor marine nor human nor plant nor animal is safe. All is at risk.

So-called “Experts” are saying that the effects of this disaster could spread as far as the Arctic. How can anyone believe that this is the limit? Is there any reason not to believe that there is no limit; that all of the world’s oceans and coastlines are at risk? If the oceans are poisoned and the food chain collapses, where will that leave us?

Please see my Facebook group, Boycott BP and join for updates and to participate in planning or taking non-violent, non-destructive, peaceful action.


Unfortunately we will always require petroleum products, if not for fuel then for plastics, shampoo, lubricants, pharmaceuticals and many other products we use each day. Our civilization is built upon the foundation of fossil fuels. While we move our home to another foundation we must take drastic steps to ensure that events like the Gulf Disaster or the Exxon Valdeze can never, ever happen again.

Regulate the Oil Companies

We need to ensure that oil is located, drilled for and produced in a manner that is safe for the workers and the environment. In order to achieve this we need greater regulation of the oil industry and more inspectors who must be given the unalterable authority to shut down any operation on the spot and without any requirement to obtain permission from anyone. This person must be the ultimate authority on site or otherwise.

We also need to ensure that the pipelines and ships that carry oil from well to refinery to distribution centers and on to the gas stations and other outlets are also regulated and made safe.

No oil or chemical-related company or industry should be exempt.

Reducing Our Dependency on Oil

Clearly we must reduce our dependency on oil as we transition to renewable energy. There is no other way. There are many things each of us can do. Here are just a few with which we can start.

  • Use CFLs.
  • Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle. A REALLY efficient vehicle. To me that number starts at 35MPG and goes up. My Gen1 Prius gets 48MPG on average.
  • Walk or ride a bike to the store when possible.
  • Turn off lights that are not in use.
  • Don’t waste water.
  • Don’t leave vehicles running just to keep the air-conditioner of heater running.
  • Keep tires properly inflated.
  • Keep vehicles properly maintained.
  • Replace old hot water heater with on-demand heaters.
  • Replace old appliances with new, energy efficient ones.
  • Get an energy audit from your energy company (electric or gas) and perform the actions they tell you can save energy.

There are many more but you can start with a few of these.

But remember, I am not laying all of the blame for this at the feet of the consumers. We must regulate the energy companies in order to make whatever energy source we use safe, dependable and clean.

Call your elected representatives and let them know we want clean dependable, and safe energy now and that regulation is the only way to get there. Don’t wait. Do it now! Would the BP Disaster have occurred if we had taken action after the Exxon Valdeze? We can prevent the next one.

My 2001 Prius, one of the original ones, hit 100,000 miles yesterday and is still going strong. I am very happy with it and my overall experiences have been excellent. Toyota has done much to keep me a satisfied customer, such as replace the main battery at no charge (pun intended) when it went out well after all warranties had expired.

I am trying to decide whether to try to get 250,000 or more miles on it. I really think I could do that and more. Plus it will eventually be a historical vehicle as the first viable production hybrid.

Here is a link that has thirteen very scary numbers about global warming. Read this and contact your Senators and Representatives to get them to pass appropriate legislation to help reduce the numbers.

Global Warming by the Numbers

Contact your congressional representatives

21. January 2009 · Comments Off on Running the Numbers – American Excess in Art · Categories: Art, Commentary, Environment

A friend of mine sent me a URL for an amazing photographic artist, Chris Jordan. His web site has four collections of his art. All of them have incredible visual and visceral impact, but the one that affected me the most is Running the Numbers; An American Self-Portrait.

The artist’s objective is to help us visualize many of the statistics we encounter each day. The photographs are huge, often-times multi-paneled images of everyday objects such as oil drums, Barbie dolls, toothpicks, even cigarette cartons — but with a statistical twist. For example, one huge panel of 60″x120″ is of two million (2,000,000) plastic beverage bottles — the number of which are used in only five minutes in the United States.

These statistical images range from the number of barrels of oil consumed in the U.S. every two minutes (28,000) to the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed in the US each month (32,000), each of which is represented by a Barbie doll. Individually each of these images has a tremendous capacity to change how we perceive many of the huge numbers we are presented with each day in the news. Taken together, and with his other collections, they form a visual indictment of American conspicuous consumption and its ecological and social impact.

The URL for the home page of Mr. Jordan’s site is below. All of the collections are amazing, but Running the Numbers; An American Self-Portrait is stunning. You will never view common items like your cell phone, Barbie dolls, plastic cups, or a light bulb in the same way again. Which is, of course the artists intent.


I would be interested in your reactions to this art. Please leave comments below.

Alice and I, along with Vickie, our Barack Obama Change Crew Seven Leader, and her three girls worked on cleaning up the greenway near our house today as a service project for Martin Luther King day. We collected four large bags of trash in about ninety minutes, and due to the fact that there were only a few of us and so much trash we barely scratched the surface.

If you walk the greenway it will look a bit better because we managed to get much, but not all, of the trash close to the pedestrian walkway. Further away from the walkway we did not have enough people to do so, and we were unable to wade in the water to get much of the trash that was in the stream beds.

The Worst

Most of the trash we collected was near Durant Road Middle School. That area was a mess. Clearly the students are dumping trash and “other stuff” there between classes and during sporting events on the fields behind the school. The greenway runs behind the school on the far side of the athletic fields.

We found clothing, plastic bottles and aluminum cans, glass beer bottles, beer cans, cans and bottles which had been used as spittoons for chewing tobacco, used condoms, a bright red snow sled (which we commandeered to haul the trash away), plastic and foil bags, complete home packed lunches — lunch boxes included, newspapers, magazines, and much other assorted trash.

Perhaps a discussion with school authorities is in order and some sort of regular cleanup day would help the students understand that they need to be ecologically responsible. My brother and I suggested this when we were going to elementary school and it became a yearly event.

More Disgusting Stuff

Many dog walkers try to clean up after their animals and, as we walk the greenway most days, many of the people we see are carrying plastic bags with the dog poop that they have cleaned up. However some owners don’t clean up or even worse, collect the poop in bags and then throw the bags into the brush and the streams. The latter is the worst possible thing you can do!

If you are one of the morons that does this, please stop now!!! The plastic bags hurt the environment all by themselves, and they prevent the poop from being broken down and reused by nature. At least if your dog poops and you leave it, the poop will degrade and return to nature in a short period of time.

Here is a link to an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the carbon footprints of six common products we all use. There are some very surprising results in here.


At least this item is not totally political for a change. ;-)