Tag Archives: Prius

Perturbed but not yet pessimistic

Perturbed: greatly disturbed, made uneasy or anxious, confused.

Pessimistic: a tendency to take the gloomiest possible view of a situation.

Times are getting tough. People are perturbed. The usually optimistic are beginning to rethink their positions.

  • An old friend stopped by today. She is visiting from the Bay Area for a long weekend with her husband. Just before leaving town yesterday her boss at Oracle called her in to say she was being laid off.  Part of a purge.
  • My ex has a real estate investment that just went belly up.
  • My gig contributing feng shui articles to the local newspaper was terminated because that section of the paper is being eliminated (along with 20 more staff members).
  • My investment portfolio is down 22% since Jan.1.
  • Food prices have increased 5.3% in the past year.
  • Gas prices are $1.32 a gallon higher in Washington state than a year ago – more than 25%.

It’s not all bad:

  • My laid-off friend found a job in a different division of Oracle and will be able to work when she returns from vacation.
  • Many of us are driving much less and much less aggressively, which is good for the environment and our stress levels.  Some of us even have enough spare cash to buy a Prius
  • Many of us have returned to growing our own veggies… I’ve got lettuce, spinach, herbs, and blueberries right now. Beans, squash, tomatoes, beets, grapes on the way. How locavore can you get?
  • I still have a roof over my head, with enough rooms in my house to sleep extra folks if necessary. I don’t know if I can extend that offer to my ex though… (he still has his own roof).
  • The less I have, the more appreciative I am of what I do have: friends, family, health, music, dance, books, children, beauty, laughter. On and on. So much.

Prius Envy

I love Toyotas. I had a 1988 Camry station wagon for ten years till I bought my current Toyota, a 1998 Sienna MINIvan. Except it’s not so mini. In terms of gazzling (my new word for gas-guzzling), it’s MAXI – 19 mpg. A tankful will probably cost me $80 this week. Last tank was $70. (I’m trying to use it as little as possible…).

My friends who have Priuses love them. They got theirs when they weren’t quite so scarce and when trading in their SUVs for them was a viable option. One of these years I hope to be able to afford one. Meanwhile, I need to learn to drive differently.

For starters, I need to leave for my destination BEFORE I’m due there… Well before. Novel idea.

An article in today’s NY Times describes other options: how to “Be a Prius:

In Europe, where gas prices are often more than twice what they are here, eco-driving has become mandatory in the driving curriculums in Germany, Sweden and, most recently, Britain. Beginning drivers are taught to avoid idling, unnecessary braking and jackrabbit starts at traffic lights, among other lessons that can bring fuel savings to as high as 25 percent.

Other fuel-saving tips include carefully timing one’s approach to slowing traffic or red signals and not accelerating toward a “stale green,” that is, a signal that’s about to change…..

Consider also driving less aggressively. An Australian study found that an “aggressively” driven vehicle saved a mere five minutes over a 94-minute course compared with a “smoothly” driven vehicle — but the smooth car used 30 percent less fuel.

He also suggests policy changes, like replacing stops with roundabouts, requiring drivers take a driving efficiency course, and encouraging less driving thru tax credits for miles not driven or miles on public transit.