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Old 06-18-2009, 03:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Interviewed and Drive Test with Newspaper Reporter Today!

Hey all! Sorry for the long post but I have alot of info. to share about my experience today...I made this post it's own thread as I felt it was newsworthy (I had been updating my story on my Prius thread prior to this).

This morning I met a local "green living" reporter to talk about hybrids, hypermiling and efficient driving in general. It went very well! The article will be published in a week or so and I'll post the link on here when it is. Hopefully, it will be what I expect it to be...guessing by the results today it will be very positive.

We met for a little over an hour first discussing my 2009 Toyota Prius and her 2007 Hyundai Sonata...comparing the two and how they work and how to get the best mileage out of both of them. We did the standard walk around the car to talk about tire pressure (her 44 psi tires were at 34 psi...not bad for a non-hypermiler). We talked about not storing too much items in her trunk (I used the "Store your car in your garage not your garage in your car" line). Her trunk was not filled with many heavy items (10-15 lbs.) so that was a plus. We also talked about my grill block, EBH and max psi. There was a photographer there that snapped some pics of my grille block, me checking her tire pressure and me sitting in her car hooking up my SGII.

After hooking up the SGII to her car we proceeded to drive her car over a 7 mile course mixed with city and highway (10am...traffic was moderate...temp was around 68). She was highly impressed with the SGII and said she wanted to get one for her dad for Fathers' Day!

She drove the car first and she drove well enough to get a little over 26 mpg (her car is combined EPA of 24). She was a little quick on the highway running the rpm as high as 2800 one time when changing lanes. Overall, not bad for a regular driver.

I had her drive to a gas station as the destination so we could fill up and give her a starting point to begin monitoring her mpg tank to tank. We reviewed the SGII stats (she was very impressed with the instant mpg, cost per mile and avg. speed stats). We reset her trip odometer to help her track her tank mpg and it was my turn to drive (ironically her car has a trip mpg guage built into it that she did not know about so it was an added bonus to point this out to her).

I drove her car back to our original meeting point and was able to pull over 34 mpg (8 mpg more than her). I did not have time to inflate the tires to max psi so I just drove with the same psi as her (would have liked to add the psi to put up a great number...but didn't have the time). After driving my Prius for the past 3 months I was a little rusty on the giddy up of a 2.4L engine (vs. my 1.5L Prius engine) so I lurched it a couple of times from a stop...probably cost me a little mpg. I talked to her while driving to explain the different techniques I was using (pulse and glide, neutral coast, timing lights and traffic, etc). She asked a lot of questions while I was driving and we really got to some good talking points about hypermiling.

After we parked at the original meeting spot we chatted a little more about hypermiling and the SGII. I didn't look at my mpg until we parked so I was pleased to see over 34 mpg on the SGII (more than 30% over EPA with no grill block or max psi)!!!

I mentioned ecomodder.com at least 5 times and I would be surprised if she didn't have a fuel log on here soon. The focus of her article was about looking for a new car (she's considering the Prius, VW TDI and Chevy Malibu and will be interviewing their representatives over the next couple weeks).

We did get into the "is the Prius battery safe, durable, efficient and recyclable" talk a little which I expected and I think overall she was satisfied with my replies. She will be doing alot of research on the Prius battery so I'm sure she will form her own opinion (positive or negative) regardless of what I said.

Overall, everything went well and I'm looking forward to seeing the article! She will be putting my phone number and email address in the article in case anyone else wants to take a Super Commuter Driving lesson!

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great to hear Matt. Will her article be written online so we can take a look at it?
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She writes for The Salem News ( Home - SalemNews.com, Salem, MA ) and all of her articles are posted on their site as well as hers. She said it should be published in the next couple weeks. If you want to read some of her other articles (all "green living" related you can go here www.msgreenquickfixes.com )

I'll def post the article when it goes to print!
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Matt,

Congrats on the interview! Did you get to talk about the mileage that you are getting with the Prius? If they mention it in the article, then you can hope to challenge the other Prius drivers who may read the article.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey Neil...hope everything is going well...good to hear from you!

I did mention my current mpg in my Prius and it floored her and the photographer (currently I'm around 60-63 mpg my last few tanks). But because I was promoting my Super Commuter Driving Instruction and what I can do for "her" mpg in "her" car I didn't put an emphasis on it.

I think anyone not familiar with a Prius (probably the majority of her readers) thinks the Prius is a freak of nature and doesn't relate to it. I didn't want to come off as only a "Prius" driver that has a skill that every day commuters can't learn themselves. Instead, I tried to make the conversation relevant to all people driving "normal" cars (her 2007 Hyundai Sonata is rated at 24 mpg and probably more in the ballpark for someone to relate to).

I did think alot about what angle I wanted to take with today's meeting and I decided that talking about my skills and accomplishments would alienate people reading the article instead of capturing their attention that "Hey, maybe this guy can help me too if he helped her!" If she writes that I posted 34+ mpg and she posted 26+ mpg in the same car on the same route...I think that would be ideal.

At the end of our interview she asked what she could write in the article for people that want to take a lesson with me and she wrote in her notebook "for a nominal fee that was worth every penny you can take a driving lesson with Matt to improve your miles per gallon by calling or emailing him at..."

Hoping that makes it into the article!

I should also note that on two occasions she mentioned she gets around 36 mpg in her car prior to us taking a drive today. I think the SGII reading after her drive was a pretty big wake up call as she was well under that figure. My run didn't even go that high (maybe it would have if I inflated the tires to max psi)!

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Old 06-18-2009, 09:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Good work!
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Matt -

I like your take on helping "normal car" drivers. Your advice will be relevant to the majority of readers, just as you say.

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Old 06-19-2009, 03:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Good work!
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Great opportunity for you, EM, and your local paper audience. Props, man! It's good to see that local news sources are starting to take interest in this.
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I hope she mentions ecomodder as it would be great to see some local people get interested in what we're doing here. Plus, it would be good to have some people near me to build up a group of people interested in hypermiling. I've been wanting to find time to go to some of the meetups guys on here have visited but all of them are quite far or I didn't have the time.

The 2010 Prius is due to hit my local Toyota dealership in the next two weeks and I'm planning to visit them this weekend. I've spoken with their head guy over there a couple times and I'm going to pitch to him being an independent source they can use to help sell cars. Maybe a "if you're not sure about the car go visit this guy...he drives a Prius and can show you how to get the best mileage out of this car and can give you a detailed overview of the car if you're not sure about buying it today." I know they don't want to let people off their lots without buying a car but it might be a way for them to keep someone interested that is def not going to buy a car that day.

It's worth a shot and might help me build my business back up from last Fall when I casually started Super Commuter Driving Instruction. I probably had a dozen customers last fall and it paid for my Scanguage II plus a little extra. Another good run this summer and fall might be helped by the article coming out in a couple weeks and a connection with the Toyota dealer. Not bad to make a couple extra bucks just for doing what I enjoy!

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