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Hybrid Cars to Get New Mileage Ratings 781

Skidge writes "Wired is running a piece showing the drastically reduced mileage ratings for hybrids after the upcoming changes in gas mileage calculations by the EPA. While the cars themselves aren't changing, plugging these new numbers in to the equation makes a hybrid much less cost effective: "The two top-selling hybrid vehicles, the Prius and Honda's Civic Hybrid, will lose 12 and 11 miles per gallon respectively from their city driving estimates." The new values come from more realistic testing; the old, over-inflated ratings were higher in part because the cars idled a lot, allowing the hybrids to completely turn off their engines. The new ratings should be more in line with what hybrid drivers are actually seeing."
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Hybrid Cars to Get New Mileage Ratings

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  • Re:Sampling? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:28PM (#19115685)
    Catch-22. They like to have a "real" number before the car starts selling, but via your method they'd need to sell enough to get an accurate sample.
  • Re:Sampling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:32PM (#19115769)
    While technically a valid approach, this opens the door for red flags from privacy advocates. I'm not as paranoid as the most ardent advocates, but I can see where the slope starts getting slippery.

    Remember that the more avenues you open up for the government to have information about you, the more you open up the possibility of them doing things with it that you will not be happy about. History has shown that once you put more power and information in the government's hands, the likelihood of removing it is very slim.
  • by Stoertebeker ( 1005619 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:33PM (#19115785)
    It's sad how every article about hybrids always focuses on how many years it takes to save enough gas to pay fro the added cost of the car. That's not what it is about! Especially not if you use the gas prices in a country where said price is held artificially low!
    It's about how much more we could do by using technology in a sensible way rather than spending it on finding ways to allow every Joe to accelerate a 7 ton monster truck 0-60 in under 4 seconds!
  • Re:Sampling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:34PM (#19115813)
    Well that will tell them the mileage, but it wont tell them how many gallons of gas were used to achieve that mileage - unless you have to input your VIN every time you buy gas to track that as well.
  • by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:37PM (#19115859) Journal
    And exactly how is this fair?

    To test everything evenly you need a constant situation that will not change without you manually changing it, a "real city" is the complete opposite of this. So if Tuesday you get stuck behind a bus and on Wednesday you've got the rad to yourself, the results are clearly quite different.

  • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:40PM (#19115893)
    What is with all the Hummer Hatred?

    There are three factors which determine how ecconomical (and environmental) your transportation is:

    1) What you drive
    2) How much you drive
    3) How you drive

    Personally, I don't drive a Hummer nor do I drive a prius (I don't want to own either car because they do not suit my needs or wants) but I'm positive I have better "Fuel Ecconomy" than either car. My feet get me far greater mileage than any car and I use them far more than my car; I end up using transit a lot too.

    I used to get a lot of negative comments about the truck I used to drive (15 year old F150) even though I filled it up every 6 weeks whereas most of the "environmental" civic drivers were filling up their cars 1 or 2 times a week.

    The car matters far less than the driver
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:45PM (#19116015)
    What is with all the Hummer Hatred?

    They are shit 'cars' for a sick society. If you 'drive' a Hummer, you are - almost by definition - a total asshole with no aesthetic taste, no interest in cars, no basic grasp of physics and no financial sense. You are, for all intets and purposes, an American idiot.
  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:46PM (#19116035) Homepage Journal
    A very solid point! A gutless IC engine can be pushed really far for efficiency. You can lean out the mixture and drop the power output (you'll get more NOx I believe though). A hybrid does a few things for ya, it will recoup power from braking, it will allow a better fuel:air mixture (less NOx emissions), and it will augment your power on acceleration to make up for the gutlessness of the IC engine. If performance isn't an issue, then yes, a mid 80's civic can probably be pushed to 60mpg it you're willing to drive it.

    As for the VW TDI, I have one, I love it. I get 600-700 miles per tank, I average around 43mpg. It's not a rocket, but it's peppy, enough for quick highway merges and passing. The only downside is that in 2k8 there's going to be like 10 new Diesels on the market in the US (Honda, Toyota, the new VWs, and I'm sure some more), and Diesel demand is going to jump. Increasing Diesel prices means higher shipping costs, which will lead directly to inflation. On the bright side though, there are more and more biodiesel plants coming online. There's a soy->BD plant being built just a few miles from my house, and I keep hearing little news bits about algae farms making progress. Provided those farms become a reality, BD100 > E85.

  • by robogun ( 466062 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:52PM (#19116165)
    AC remarked: They are shit 'cars' for a sick society. If you 'drive' a Hummer, you are - almost by definition - a total asshole with no aesthetic taste, no interest in cars, no basic grasp of physics and no financial sense. You are, for all intets and purposes, an American idiot.

    I doubt it has anything to do with Americans being the way they are. Hummer driving, like driving V12 Benzes and BWMs 200kph on the autobahn, is conspicuous consumption. This is a species-wide phenomenon which proves they have the resources to burn & some like Freud would say, proves their fitness for reproduction in attracting the female of the species.
  • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:52PM (#19116169) Journal
    What is with all the Hummer Hatred?

    It's too damn big. You youngsters probably don't remember this, but there was a time when you could actually see what's going on ahead of you in traffic.

  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <instascreed&gmail,com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:55PM (#19116229) Homepage
    I'm afraid it actually *is* about how many years it takes to save enough gas to pay fro the added cost of the car.

    When the green movement can give me technology that at least maintains my current lifestyle, while showing savings on the bottom line within a year or two, I'll go for it. Until then, well, it can keep selling to the true believers.
  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <instascreed&gmail,com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:00PM (#19116327) Homepage
    Oh, and BTW, is it at all possible that gas prices in other countries are *artificially* *high*?

    I mean, how much tax is there on a gallon of gas in, say, the UK? I lived in the UK for a couple of years in the 80's, have loads of relatives there, and visit regularly. I know for a fact that government policy is to keep gas prices as high as possible (just right below where the peasants start to rebel) in order to encourage people to use public transport.
  • Re:Sampling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rrkap ( 634128 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:00PM (#19116343) Homepage

    It's important to have accurate mileage ratings on cars, and it's hard to understand how the EPA could be so bad at it. Why do they try to estimate instead of just sampling?

    Here's a simple approach: When a car comes in for an oil change, read the mileage rating stored inthe on-board computer and upload it to an EPA database. Problem solved.

    I think the main reason for a test is so it can be applied to new or modified designs; it's hard to sample the fuel economy of a car that isn't in use yet. Additionally I think that having a standardized test is useful because different cars attract different types of drivers and having a standardized methodology allows people to estimate for themselves how good their gas millage will be. For example, I consistently get BETTER fuel economy than is projected on the EPA sticker and would assume that to be the case in general. Also, people who hire someone to change their oil are a different sort than those who do it themselves so that may also bias the sample.

  • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:01PM (#19116347) Homepage
    Hummer driving, like driving V12 Benzes and BWMs 200kph on the autobahn, is conspicuous consumption.

    At least the latter do so in style.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:01PM (#19116353) Homepage Journal
    EPA MPG stats on regular gasonline engine cars are often inflated. I don't see them making those "more realistic", even though their inaccuracy has been known for years []. Funny how prompt they are to reduce hybrid ratings.

    And how is it more accurate to reduce ratings for hybrids because they shut off while "idling"? Gas engines burn gas while idling but getting nowhere. Which is part of the real efficiency of hybrids, especially in city driving.

    Why must the inaccurate ratings that favor gas combustion force more economical (short term fuel prices, and longterm environmental/warfare costs) to look worse?
  • Re: Hybrids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:02PM (#19116379)

    #1 The best milage comes from the most conservative driving.

    True. Buy you also see significant gains in mileage vs. gas-only vehicles when not driving conservatively all the time.

    #2 The batteries are more toxic than those in a normal car- and with each hybrid carrying between 5 and 7 of those batteries, they are not better for the environment.

    False. The batteries in a Prius are no more toxic than any other battery. Also, they can be **completely** recycled at end of life.

    #3 The total energy used to manufacter a hybrid vehicle is higher than what it is for a regular vehilce of same size.
    Perhaps slightly. But luckily that energy is most likely electricty which is being generated at a plant with strict emissions control in Japan. That extra energy used offsets the petroleum energy that would be used by a gas-only vehicle, as well as the pollution said gas-only vehicle would cause (you have to take into account that the Prius is a SULEV vehicle).

    #4 The depreciation rate is held up by popular opinion. This is true in all vehicles, but the steep cliff at year 6 is going to make most people unhappy, and the battery replacement at year 8 will be a very large cost to shoulder and may drive many people out of this market all togeather.

    Can you prove this steep drop off in value at year 6? If not, than why state it? Let's assume for a moment that this year 6 valuation drop-off occurs. How much is that going to matter to someone who has held the car for 6 years? Probably little at that point.

    #5 There is currently no plan for the recycling of these batteries.

    Now you're simply sputtering off nonsense. Don't spout bullshit unless you know someone isn't going to catch you: /2004/hybrid.html []

    Is there a recycling plan in place for nickel-metal hydride batteries?

    Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery.

  • by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:04PM (#19116443)
    plugging these new numbers in to the equation makes a hybrid much less cost effective

    No, plugging these new numbers in makes the cars *appear* much less cost effective. The fact of the matter is that plenty of hybrid owners were actually reaching their posted fuel efficiency ratings, unlike gas-only cars which do not. And whether the car is stopped in traffic or not, a non-hybrid car is still consuming fuel while a hybrid is not. In fact, hybrids do much better in heavy traffic because under a certain speed (35 Km/h for the Prius for instance) it's just running on batteries.

    I think the EPA just changed the way these cars are rated because other carmakers complained that the numbers were "unfair".
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:05PM (#19116475) Homepage Journal
    Alright, time for a reality check here. The Prius is doing such a damn good job on mileage not because it's a hybrid, but because it's an exceptionally well-designed car. Your own experiences with highway driving demonstrate that. Hybrid vehicles should actually get worse highway mileage because of their design. But the Prius doesn't. Why?

    The answer lies in more than just its batteries. There are plenty of auto manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon by battery-backing their existing engine designs. That won't do much. Toyota took a different approach. For one, the engine of the Prius was replaced with a more efficient Atkinson Cycle [] engine. This engine would normally not be viable in a car, as its peak output is quite poor. However, the Prius uses stored battery power to provide maximum torque when accelerating. This makes up for the engine's poor peak power output. Furthermore, the torque delivered by electrical power is more fuel efficient than driving an Otto-cycle engine to sudden, peak power-output conditions.

    But the engineers didn't stop there. They used the research behind Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) [] to develop a transmission that can evenly split the power between the electrical and gasoline powered components of the car. This transmission can smoothly transfer power between different sources and outputs, avoiding the limitations and excess power consumption of the traditional geared transmission. This transmission (which Toyota calls a "Power Split Transmission") is only workable in a small car like the Prius, due to the torque limitations of most CVT designs.

    Finally, Toyota further hedged the car's bets with computer control and tuning over the entire power system, a low air-resistance body design, lightweight aluminum construction, and vacuum flask coolant storage for fast warm-up times.

    What you're looking at is the modern equivalent of a Chevy Sprint []. Those three bangers got great mileage at the expense of power and comfort. (My mother had one and managed to get 58 MPG on the highway!) The Prius uses modern technology to provide similar returns, but without the drawbacks that made the Sprint so unpopular in the first place.
  • Re:Realistically (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:08PM (#19116521)
    I hate these people who run the numbers and leave out other numbers.

    And I can't stand it when people talk as if getting tax credits reduces costs. It transfers costs to someone else. Ironically, even the guy who takes his bicycle or public transportation to work is going to have to shoulder some of the federal income tax burden that you - as a driver of your own personal vehicle - are able to shrug off because of the flavor of engine you bought. Unless you can demonstrate how your purchase of that vehicle is going to reduce the federal government's cost of doing business by the amount of your tax credit, you're just asking everyone else in the country to write you a rebate check out of their own income.
  • Re:Odd. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gilatrout ( 694977 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:08PM (#19116525)
    The interesting thing though is that the tests are both right and wrong. The assertion that the old tests do not reflect how people drive is true, and that applies to all vehicles regardless of whether or not it is a hybrid. What they got wrong is that after driving a hybrid, I found that I changed the way I drive. Because of the feedback I get from the car, it becomes a game to see just how good mileage I can get. So what the new tests will get wrong is that the test might better reflect the way people drive in general, it still won't get the hybrid numbers right.

    This is my real world experience. I drive an '02 Prius on the highway to work about 15 miles each way. I have a Thule roof top box and a kayak rack on top. In the summer months my milage is ~38 to 40 mpg, In the winter it drops to ~34-36 mpg depending upon how I drive. Speed seriously matters. If I drive over 65mph I would cut my milage to ~34-35 mpg in the summer. If I drive the speed limit (55mph in my commute) I get the better numbers. If I drive 70mph then I drop to around 28-30mpg. When I drive just around town and stay off the highway, I easily get above 50mpg in the summer.

  • by Agilus ( 471376 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:08PM (#19116529) Homepage

    I just bought a new Prius with most of the luxury features for $21,470 straight from the Toyota dealer. The package I got included:

    Smart Key system
    Auto climate control
    7-speaker system with CD player and aux in jack

    (package 2 I believe) - basically all of the good stuff and none of the waste (in my opinion)

    When I fold down the seats I have tons of room - transported a new crib this last week.

    And this doesn't even take into account that I got an extra $400 paid for by Toyota (college student financing) to finance the $5000 I didn't pay in cash (but will pay off next month), as well as the ~ $750 tax credit I'm going to be able to claim at the end of the year.

    I have averaged 50 mpg since I got it, so I feel like I got a darn good deal.
  • Re:Diesel! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gaspar ilom ( 859751 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:11PM (#19116599)
    "Diesel" and "Hybrid" are not mutually exclusive.

    ...regardless of the fact that the market has not created *consumer* "diesel hybrids" for sale in North America, yet. (There are diesel-electric trains and busses, however.)

    So, imagine you Jetta as a *diesel*-electric hybrid.
  • Although not perfectly accurate, computing your mileage using the reading from the gas pump and the odometer doesn't rely on running the gas tank "bone dry." All that it relies on, is that you fill the gas tank back up to the same level as you did the previous fillup. Since gas nozzles are basically standardized and tend to click off at the same point, this isn't a terrible assumption. It's probably accurate at least to a few tenths of a gallon, in my experience of doing it in a small car.

    Basically you fill the tank until the pump shuts it off, and reset the odo. This is your start point. You drive for a while, generally until you need gas again, and then you refill the gas tank until it again shuts off automatically, and note the amount of fuel added. You look at the odometer, and simply take the mileage there, and divide by the reading on the pump.

    As long as you never fill your tank halfway, and you don't top off or otherwise force the gas pump to keep going after it shuts off automatically, and you reset the odo every time you fill up, you can get pretty good mileage estimates this way.

    It's a different method than what I assume the car's computer is using (I'd think it's using some sort of reading from the engine's sensors) but it's not an inherently terrible methodology. If you use the same gas pump/nozzle to fill up each time, I'd imagine it could probably be quite accurate. At no time does it require you to run your car out of gas.
  • Re:Diesel! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:19PM (#19116767)

    The reason that diesels haven't kicked in is because they don't pass the emissions standards in any state that follow "California Emissions." Has nothing to do with the EPA at all. The fact that this includes California, NY, and all of New England reduces the number of potential buys so much that it's simply not worth pushing to market in the US.

    Hopefully within a few years the auto manufacturers will produce vehicles that do pass and they'll become available. Juat about every automaker has new engines coming to market that do meet the requirements, so things should change soon

  • Re:Sampling? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fozzyuw ( 950608 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:27PM (#19116919)

    My car (an '07 Caliber) was rated at "28 to 32 MPG". I consistently get 26 or less. :(

    Manual or Stick? Driving habits effect the ratings. Do you drive 65mph on a 65mph freeway or do you drive 75mph-80mph? Do you accelerate fast? Do you find yourself braking often? Think about it the next time you approach a stop-sign. Does your foot move from the accelerator directly to the brake when you want to stop? Or are you 'coasting' and letting your momentum slow you down before you start to brake? Do you speed quickly the the next red light just to stop, or do you slowly coast to it, even if all the other cars are 'rushing' to the red? Do you drive with your windows down or the air-conditioner on a lot (it creates more drag or needs more energy to use)?

    I bought a 2006 Pontiac Vibe (new) and just recently a 2007 Toyota Corolla (both awesome cars, though, I do wish the Vibe had a little more 'pep'). The Vibe was rated at 28-36 MPG if I remember right. I'm currently getting ~35MPG (mostly) highway (though it was closer to 31 MPG in the winter). The Corolla (while only having it for about a month now) is getting about 38 MPG (mostly) highway.

    Both of these are manual "stick" transitions. The fiancee drives the Corolla, I drive the Vibe. While I don't usually drive aggressively, I don't pussy-foot the cars when accelerating to highway speeds (winding out the RPMs pretty high). However, I do kick in the cruise control at speed limit speeds, occasionally 5-over. What I do try to do, and what I'm getting better at recognizing, is that I try not to 'waist' energy by having the car do more than it needs to do, particularly in braking. Lets put it this way, the more you use your brakes, the more energy you're waisting. (which is the theory behind Hybrids, to turn the brake heat/energy back into car energy). Better braking habits will not only help save some gas but also extend the life of your breaks.

    If your car is significantly getting much lower MPG than the rated amount, I would 1st) get it checked out by the dealership. 2nd) look at your own driving habits. If you're getting 26 MPG and you do pretty much all city driving, then I would say you're right on schedule (You can usually take off 1-2 MPG from the rating for 'real' estimates). If you want to raise your MPG, take a longer route in the city that makes you stop much less frequently. Stop/Go is the hardest on an engine and your millage efficiency.


  • by bataras ( 169548 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:31PM (#19116989)
    I think there are 2 factors which determine how economical (and environmental) your transportation is:

    1) What you drive
    2) How you drive

    "How much you drive" is not relevant to how economical and environmental you are while you're driving.

    "How much you drive" is related to how environmental you are overall.
  • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:33PM (#19117033) Journal
    That's why the call it an average. You take readings for a month of driving from lots of different people and combine the statistics together. Then you have an average MPG. Otherwise you just have a benchmarked MPG that may or may not reflect reality.
  • by ehud42 ( 314607 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:36PM (#19117107) Homepage
    My needs in a car are:

    a) wheels, roof, motor
    b) highway speed capable
    c) 4 seats and small storage
    d) low TCO

    So, I drive a 1996 Geo Metro which based on the new tests is listed at 40MPG [] (which based on my records, I'm actually getting year round - over 45 in summer, about 35 in winter).

    Compare this to the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid which is rated at an astounding 42MPG [] and I'm really hoping to get many many more miles out of my Metro before I'm force to down grade to a newer car....

  • Re:Diesel! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:38PM (#19117185) Homepage
    New diesel technology has been available for years that clean up the old problems. Europe is replete with diesel cars. Detroit just doesn't like diesel. The executives are gasoline fans, always will be.
  • by toleraen ( 831634 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:43PM (#19117291)
    Since gas nozzles are basically standardized and tend to click off at the same point, this isn't a terrible assumption.

    That's not necessarily a good way to do it either. Half the time the pump clicks off after ~8-10 gallons pumped, which I then have to top off the remaining 4-6 gallons. Sometimes is makes it closer to the 13 gallon mark before clicking off. I pretty much use the same gas station every time I fill up too.

    It'd probably be more accurate to 'top off' as much as possible. Your tank can only hold so much, so ensuring it's completely full every time should provide more consistent results.
  • by madsheep ( 984404 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:51PM (#19117433) Homepage
    I know I am bit late here as there's already like 200 replies but here we go anyway. First, if the system has been flawed this whole time, it will also reduce the estimate mileage for a non-hybrid vehicle. So if a Hybrid rated at 60 mpg loses 10 mpg.. that's at 16.6% drop. If a car rated at 20 mpg loses 3 mpg tha's a 15% drop. You're looking at about the same cost-efficiency at this point.

    In any event, why do people always complaina bout the EPA rating. You've known how it's been done for a while. You basically have a comparison of cars at their same "unrealistic" measurement. So you know your car Y is X-times better/worse than car Z in this test. Who relies on a single set of tests for their data anyway. EPA updating it to be more realistic is great, as it will probably more accurately report the mileage. But it still won't be perfect, so what? Guess how long it takes to test your gas mileage yourself? I don't know.. a week on average? How long does it takes you to fill up all the way, reset the meter, and wait for the gas light to be on for a while? Not rocket science and there's plenty of websites of car owners that report what they're actually getting.
  • Diesel and Detroit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JimBobJoe ( 2758 ) <> on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:04PM (#19117685)
    Detroit just doesn't like diesel. The executives are gasoline fans, always will be.

    You will find that Detroit had a massive experiment with Diesels in the 1970s [] and it was a total disaster (badly designed engines.) Because of that, the American consumer was quite scarred and wouldn't touch Diesel for decades.

    Chances are those scars are gone now and Diesels can be re-entertained. Low-sulphur diesel is finally here stateside, and GM has plenty of experience with diesels in its European divisions (Opel, Saab, etc.)
  • Re:Realistically (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:21PM (#19117951)

    And I can't stand it when people talk as if getting tax credits reduces costs.

    It reduces the cost to the purchaser.

    It transfers costs to someone else.

    Yes, so does burning gasoline, since it imposes substantial costs on people outside of the transaction. If you don't include the externalized costs of the gasoline when analyzing what saves money (and you shouldn't, if you are considering what saves the purchaser money), why would you include the costs of the tax credits to others?

  • Since gas nozzles are basically standardized and tend to click off at the same point, this isn't a terrible assumption. It's probably accurate at least to a few tenths of a gallon, in my experience of doing it in a small car.

    Yes, but a few tenths of a gallon is a big difference in a small car, where you probably have a small tank.

    In order to get any kind of accuracy this way, you must do multiple tests on the same pump, because they are very much NOT standardized from pump to pump let alone station to station, and average the results.

    The pressure cutoff is adjusted directly on the nozzle. Most of the time there's an easily-visible screw and you can adjust it with a standard screwdriver. I've done it myself when the nozzle was clicking off too readily.

  • Re:Realistically (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:34PM (#19118187)
    Ironically, even the guy who takes his bicycle or public transportation to work is going to have to shoulder some of the federal income tax burden that you - as a driver of your own personal vehicle - are able to shrug off because of the flavor of engine you bought.

    Ironically, the public transportation systems are run at a loss and I am fleeced for other people's ability to take the bus/train. And the bicycle riders use roads paid for from gasoline taxes, but yet don't pay the gasoline taxes, making me pay for them as well.

    There is no universally equitable way to pay for shared resources, as the use of anything shared will never be divided perfectly evenly. As such, you must learn to accept such minor inequities, as they exist in all current, past, and conceived possible future governing systems.
  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <instascreed&gmail,com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:36PM (#19118253) Homepage
    Indeed. However, back in 1900, or thereabouts, there was a report that, by the end of the century, everyone in the world would have to be a telephone operator...

    I really can't accept your picture of scarcity and want. I have enough faith in human ingenuity to believe that not only will my lifestyle continue, it will get better and better.
  • Re:Sampling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:52PM (#19118615) Homepage
    The big problem with public transport, in my opinion, is delays. Here in Iowa City (which has one of the best bus systems in the area) most busses show up every half hour during the daytime (some busy routes are 15-20 minutes at peak times only), and every hour in the evening. So, in short, we're to compare getting in a car and driving across town in 5-10 minutes or waiting half an hour or so for the bus, then riding it across town which, due to its stops, will take ~20 minutes.

    The same goes for people whose solution is "bike" or "jog" more. The length of time is just unacceptable. I have things to do, and I don't want to have to deal with perhaps an hour and a half cut out of every day of my life for an self-imposed transportation delay. That's more than the length of time I spend gardening and playing with my parrot combined (although somewhat less time than I spend writing FOSS)
  • Re:Sampling? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by schon ( 31600 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @04:24PM (#19120463)
    Of COURSE a hybrid would SHOW a huge MPG rating by that government standard. A total electric would show ~ (infinity) as it produces NO carbon itself. Sorry, are you implying that the test is flawed for hybrids because they have an electric component?

    If so, here's your cluebat: Unless the electric component is bringing in power from outside the system, the test is completely valid, because all the power comes from the gasoline in the tank. Turning the engine into a generator which powers and electric drive-train doesn't change this simple fact.
  • by dr_davel ( 594449 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @07:05PM (#19123021) Homepage
    Um, no. While it's true that hybrids do offer good low-end torque, great for snappy starts, the existence for a feature is not the same the feature providing a more fuel efficient way to drive. An easy start allows a hybrid to do a mostly-electric motor acceleration, while a faster acceleration requires more gas engine power at higher RPMs, which are less efficient. The whole idea of a hybrid is to avoid inefficient high power operation of the gas engine.

    For braking, you're also wrong. While it's true that hybrids do recover some energy through regenerative braking, it's more fuel efficient to not spend the gas to create the energy that needs to be recovered in the first place. You make it sound like the car is a perpetual motion machine, that recovers more energy that was put in with the gas engine.

    Unless you were trolling, you have completely confused hybrid features with measures to improve mileage.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson