“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The end of an era

In September of 2005, gas prices rose abruptly enough that I stopped driving as I had as a teenager in my Plymouth Roadrunner Detroit muscle car and started to do my best to squeeze every possible foot out of each gallon of gas. That was in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which I followed up with a Land Rover and finally my current Lexus CT200h which I acquired in the summer of 2011. I've driven that vehicle in such a way that I've exceeded the EPA combined estimate of 42 m.p.g. by 8.5 m.p.g. I've done so using light touch on the pedals, attempting to maximize the vehicle's use of regenerative braking, maximizing time in traffic jams that the engine is off and motive power provided by the battery and electric motor, and a cruise controlled 55 m.p.h. maximum speed (except when converting potential energy to kinetic on long, steep downhill grades).

This blog started out as documentation of my efforts in that direction and has since grown to cover a variety of other energy related topics and even ventured into politics, economics, and philosophy at times.

But, notably, I've failed to save the world and I'm finished with this decade plus long experiment. I'll be going out this weekend to test drive and possibly drive away in a vehicle such as the Jeep SRT Grand Cherokee  or the Audi SQ5. And I have no intention of driving such a purchase so as to maximize fuel economy.

Now, was this change motivated by the steep decline in fuel prices? It was not. It's simply the case that I have had enough, the experiment has gone on long enough. I'm tired of having people run up on my rear bumper, honk, flash their high beams, etc. I'm tired of explaining to passengers why it takes me 27% longer to get anywhere. I'm tired of a car that, though it has a Lexus badge, is a Prius at heart (the passenger side seat has a pull bar to adjust position).


There you have it.

Now, does this mean that I'm also finished with blogging on energy and related topics? It most assuredly does not and I intend (though it has been said, in particular by my mother, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions) to post more regularly.


Gabriel Grosskopf said...

One way to get rid of "having people run up on my rear bumper, honk, flash their high beams, etc." could be to drive a Tesla.

slipperstein said...

A noble attempt, an impossible place.

Greg said...

Why not keep the Lexus but just relax your stringent fuel-saving techniques to the point where they don't annoy passengers and other drivers? Presumably your fuel economy would drop a good fraction of the way from your amazing 50 towards the Lexus' still very good published 42. But that would still be much, much better than the cars you're considering.

Honestly, given the coming revolution in self-driving cars, anyone who thinks they can get another 10 years out of their existing car should keep it.