Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

April 22, 2006

On Becoming Aware

Category: Observations,Take Actions,Tips,Transportation – Tom Harrison – 10:19 pm

It’s hard to change your behavior if your are not aware of the impact of your actions. This is true on a large scale and on a small scale.

The Prius has a display that graphically shows current mileage, average mileage since the last refill, and average mileage over the last five minutes, in bright yellow bars. It’s kind of hard to not know what your mileage is. And it’s also kind of fun to optimize. When the car is coasting, running on battery only, or charging, the current mileage bar jumps up to a maximum height (> 100 mpg), and in the right traffic conditions you can run for a good long time without using any additional gas — last week we went for 20 minutes. I initially thought this display was a complete gimmick that was only on and would only be used by the sales person.

But it’s not a gimmick. The mileage display is always on (by my choice). This display of information is part of the reason the car gets good mileage, because I adjust my driving behavior based on the feedback I get from it. This has nothing to do with the Hybrid engine — other vehicles have the same display, and I suspect the same outcome.

A few years ago, I lived my life blindly unaware of many aspects of my impact on the world. Well, that’s not entirely true, but over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how all the bits fit together. The more I know, the more I see things I have never seen before. Awareness raises further awareness.

Become aware.


  1. It also leads to increased despair.

    Awareness is part, determination another, conviction a third (maybe?)

    Comment by Reed Braman — May 18, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

  2. I had the despair first :-). This lead to determination.

    Comment by Tom Harrison — May 18, 2006 @ 9:37 pm

  3. […] same idea works in my car (a Toyota Prius). Being aware of my mileage at any moment has affected my driving habits only because I am […]

    Pingback by Cent-A-Meter, Centometer, or Power Cost Meter: Pays For Itself | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy — July 28, 2008 @ 12:07 am

  4. […] see how frequently (actually how infrequently) I fill my car with gas. My car has an instant feedback monitor that shows my current mileage. Brilliant!My heating bill (natural gas) is via email. We get an email saying “click here to […]

    Pingback by How much energy do you use in your house? | Five Percent: Conserve Energy — December 4, 2010 @ 9:59 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.