Saturday, August 16, 2014

Speeding in a Prius

If you own a Prius and speed, tailgate, and floor it to red lights, you are missing the entire point of the car.

I was tailgated by a Prius today.  Funny thing, we were in a small residential community, you know the kind where people put those plastic signs that look like the outline of a child, with the words "SLOW DOWN!" on them.   Of course, when they say "slow down!" they mean other people should slow down, not them, because they, of course, never speed in their own neighborhood.


So the Prius was speeding in his own neighborhood, that is until he nearly ran into my bumper, as I was doing the speed limit.  And he pulls into a driveway flanked with not one, but two "Slow down! Children at Play!" signs.

Externalizing, yet again.  "Other people" are driving too fast and causing all the problems.  But us?  Oh, dear me, no, I never drive too fast!   

I recounted in another posting how "concerned Moms" (there are no other kind, other than the choosey ones who choose Jiff) called the police and complained about "Speeders" cutting through our neighborhood.   So the police set up a speed trap, and after ticketing about 15 "concerned Moms" the issue was dropped.

But once again, I digress.

The point of this posting is I very, very rarely see a Prius or other hybrid car being driven properly.   The entire point of a hybrid car is not speed or performance, but fuel economy, reduced emissions, and saving the environment.  Driving a Prius like a Jackass just proclaims to the world that your commitments to environmental causes are phony and mere posturing.

Of course, this comes as no surprise to many of us.  We all posture and play and try to achieve status, in various forms, and one way that many liberals try to achieve status is through "political correctness" which they view as merely selecting different brands of products to consume - such as free-trade coffee, Subarus and the aforementioned Prius.

But you can't consume your way to a better environment.  Consuming less is one way to help the environment, if that is your concern.  It also helps you on a personal level.  I am not sure why buying a Subaru will save the planet, as they were horrific gas hogs (only recently getting somewhat better mileage, but still not great).  I suspect it has to do with all the ad space they buy on NPR and the lip service they pay to environmentalism in their magazine ads (touting zero landfill nonsense and such).

But a Prius, well, that could get twice the mileage of a Subaru.  Or less, if you drive like a jackass.   The entire theory behind the hybrid is that energy normally wasted in braking (turned into heat and brake dust) is recaptured and used to recharge the onboard battery.  When you accelerate again, well, that energy is used to bring the car back up to speed.   That is why Hybrids manage the neat trick of getting better mileage in the city than on the highway - if driven properly.

However, if you accelerate toward red lights and slam on the brakes at the last minute, well, the service brakes are going to kick in and convert all that kinetic energy into heat and brake dust.   You have to anticipate stops and slow down ahead of time.

Tailgating in particular wastes fuel, as you have to accelerate and slow down constantly.  It is also just annoying and rude - not to mention dangerous.

If saving fuel is your goal (or saving the planet) then it makes no sense at all to speed.   Speeding just wastes fuel and doesn't get you to your destination very much faster - if at all.

Yet, I have to say that most Prius drivers that I see on the road do all of these bad things - speed, tailgate, and fail to anticipate stops.   As a result, they are not getting the mileage they could be getting.  One even admitted to me that while her Prius could get 45 mpg, "with the way I drive, it rarely breaks 35".   Tee-Hee, she thought that was funny. 
But it isn't.  It is just sad, as it shows that she is a poser and a phoney of the first order.  Playing at saving the environment by sorting her recyclables, but not really making much of a real difference, so much as making a political statement.
And that statement is, "I'm better than you, because I care about the planet!"  Status rears its ugly head, yet again.

 The sad thing is, there are plenty of non-hybrid cars that could get 35 mpg for a lot less money.  But they don't declare your love of the planet, do they?
There are, of course, a few Prius drivers and other hybrid owners who do "get it" - and drive carefully and get the vaunted high mileage these types of vehicles can provide.   But sadly, it seems these folks are few and far between.