The Future is Insight

The title of this blog works on many levels- it plays off of my belief in hybrids being a critical step towards our future, the fact that introspection and mindful planning are critical to our future, and that the future is literally in sight for those that are willing to see it. Here I chronicle my attempt to Be the Change I wish to see in the world-and to help make that Future a Reality.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hypermiling Returns!

Had the Insight in the shop this weekend while we visited family and my alma mater in South Dakota.  It had developed a periodic hesitation at light throttle (the sweet spot for mileage) that was getting worse.  My hunch was the EGR valve, and I pleased to find I was right.  I was wrong, though in thinking it was under my certified warranty-and the part is $220.  Ouch.  While it was in I had the tranny fluid changed as well as the engine fluid (it is cold and I am getting lazy).  I had them swap the tranny fluid for full synthetic and plumbed the engine full of Mobil 1 (as usual-it is good for 5% in mpg).  I have been looking forward to getting the more slippery tranny juice in for 20k miles.  And yes, I should get out more.

The results are fantastic, if based on very circumstantial evidence.  The 30 mile trip out (we live in the boonies-30 miles from a Honda dealer) was 62 mpg, trip back with the hesitation fixed and slippery new oils everywhere was almost 74 mpg. The mileage was impressive enough, but the feel is what has me jazzed.  It is almost as if the car has no static friction anymore.  I drafted semi's (as usual) to boost mileage, but this trip I was racking up 100+mpg on the inclines.  I held 110+ for over a mile on a very slight downhill.  I'm terribly excited about this!

On the less hyper mileage front I was able to beat the EPA again in our beloved Forester.  This Holiday's trip to South Dakota netted 31.5 mpg sustained for the 1000 miles.  The EPA says it should only be good for 28.  I love Foresters: AWD, enough power(170hp, but gobs of torque where you need it) to tow 8 whiskey barrels, 5 star safety rating for the kids, they can haul 160lbs of greyhounds in the hatch, standard roof rack for lumber, and we got our 2006 very nicely equipped for under $19500 with 1.9%.  Compare that to the hybrid 'utes which get similar mileage, but without the AWD for $6-10k more.  The Auto Industry needs to wake up and give us a 40mpg vehicle capable of moving 7 adults and/or towing 4000lbs.

The significant exception is the Toyota Highlander which gets slightly better mileage but can tow twice as much and can seat 7 in theory.  If I wasn't drooling over a used Passat Wagon TDI (38mpg and 250 ft/lbs of torque, but dang are they holding value!) which I will convert to veggie I would be looking for one of those used for my preferred Mulch Towing Vehicle.  However as we get closer to Someday and our farm I will most likely hold out for either a diesel truck to convert or an old carburetter truck that I will convert (along with my BCS) to run on "E100" that I hope to distill in my backyard from Sunchokes.  And no I am not kidding.

Good to have my Honda Insight back to full health again.  Would like to see another 90+ mpg commute before Winter sets in!
-Rob

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