The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 August 2007

Where's my electrical tape?

Nissan will be adding a fuel-economy gauge to all its US models over the next couple of model years.

I've already seen it, and I am not impressed:

[O]ne of the fifty bazillion display settings has caused an annoying MPG meter to be parked right in the center of the gauge cluster, a big red bar graph that spends a lot of time at 0 mpg, mostly because traffic isn't moving at that exact moment. I suppose this is intended to make people aware of their fuel consumption, but believe me, every time I fill a gas tank (fifteen times this month), I am acutely aware of how much I'm using. This might be more useful were it set for something other than instantaneous fuel economy, which, after all, is rather transient. (It's maybe 6 mpg during half-throttle acceleration in first gear, but this condition seldom lasts more than a couple of seconds, inasmuch as the car can reach 60 mph in less than six seconds, during which time it's upshifted to second.)

In a vehicle designed for maximum fuel economy as the primary goal — your Priuses (I refuse to say "Prii") and such — this sort of gizmo might be fun to play with. (And with the engine stopped at traffic lights, you're dividing by zero, so MPG is undefined at that point: it should be literally off the scale.) In a sports sedan, it's just one more distraction.

But Nissan really believes in these things:

Based on Nissan's trials, drivers have tended to improve their eco-driving habits over time, prompted by the real-time fuel-efficiency readings. Driving improvements also included smoother acceleration and braking, which potentially could lead to an average 10% improvement in fuel-efficiency.

Inasmuch as I'm beating the original EPA mileage estimates for my car by a smidgen — and the revised 2008 estimates by a hell of a lot — I think my "eco-driving" habits are just fine, thank you very much.

Posted at 11:05 AM to Driver's Seat

As the owner of a Nissan Quest I've learned that "Nissan" and "Duct Tape" are synonymous.

Posted by: Incurable Insomniac at 11:09 AM on 23 August 2007

When I got my truck I was averaging 13.5 mpg. Even immediately after replacing the balding mud tires with new mall-terrain tires I sometimes dared imagine I was hitting 14 mpg.

My last three or four tankfuls have been 15 mpg. I have no idea what's changed to make that happen.

Posted by: McGehee at 1:30 PM on 23 August 2007

your Priuses (I refuse to say "Prii")

Heh. Lately -- Georgia's school year resumes in early August -- I've found my highway perambulations sometimes interrupted by school bi.

Posted by: McGehee at 1:31 PM on 23 August 2007

Anyone remember the shift light on Escorts(?)?
Ever ride with anyone who thought they were gospel?

Posted by: anon in tx at 2:08 PM on 23 August 2007

I refuse to say "Prii"

Just how would you pronounce that? Rhyming with Wii? :)

Posted by: unimpressed at 2:48 PM on 23 August 2007

Another reason to refuse to say it: I don't have to speculate as to the pronunciation.

(God, or Eiji Toyoda, forbid it should be "PREE-eye.")

Posted by: CGHill at 3:13 PM on 23 August 2007

Anyone remember the shift light on Escorts(?)?

Saw that on the stickshift Escort my wife and I test-drove a couple of years back (or so). I went through several shifts before I figured out what it was supposed to mean, and ignored it thereafter. My first car was a four-speed stick; I shifted when it sounded like time to shift.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:12 PM on 23 August 2007

(Oh, and the car I drove while living in Alaska was an Escort, but an automatic.)

Posted by: McGehee at 5:14 PM on 23 August 2007

My Chevy Avalanche gets 16.5 mpg, according to itself. With the hard top on the bed and with cruise at 60mpg, I get 16.6. Towing a trailer full of arcade games, I get 16.4. What it lacks in efficiency, it makes up for with consistancy.

Posted by: Rob "Flack" O'Hara at 7:18 PM on 26 August 2007