One Year In: Prius 2014 Gas Mileage + Thule Carrier + Road Trip

Prius with Thule Cargo Box

The Prius has definitely been a very geeky car to play around with and figure out. It's been fun to see how various environments and driving styles impact it.

My initial driving in the summer of last year yielded about 42.9 MPG. This was in stop-and-go traffic, but often stopped long enough that the engine would have to kick in to power the A/C while idle. I was able to optimize to about 45 MPG with 72ºF+ auto A/C and on a route that allowed for more constant movement.

The first road trip (1 adult, 2 kids) down I-65 to Florida in the summer yielded tanks MPG of 39-42 MPG. Another road trip to South Carolina with two adults and two kids yielded 39.6 MPG for the trip.

The brutal winter earlier this year was pretty frustrating on gas mileage. The only driving done in the car was done with the engine running constantly just to try and warm up, and I discovered that there's no good way to get a Prius warm enough to melt the ice on your windshield unless you edge it into the sunlight. There were a few tanks that I got 33 MPG on.

We eventually installed Thule Aeroblades on our car which allowed mounting of a Thule Cargo Box. The car got under 40 MPG with the cargo box mounted, but did about 35.8 MPG on the highway drive down. The best tank MPG that I got on our Camry on 100% interstate was still under 35 MPG.

Of course, the biggest gas mileage benefit of the Prius was when we were driving 4-8 miles back and forth on St. George Island at 25-35 MPH. I'd occasionally make trips without the engine even turning on, and the average trip MPG was over 50 MPG.

Almost a year in, this car has been fun to play around with and a great road trip car (especially with the roof rack). The biggest surprise is how it has fascinated my geek side.

The Mohu Leaf worked so well, I upgraded to a Mohu Sky

Ok, I had the Mohu Leaf working for almost the entire house using the DirecTV cable in and with 2 indoor antenna amplifiers on the HDTVs. The signal was almost strong enough just by putting it against the side of the house facing the station antennae (according to AntennaWeb, even though we're about 20 miles out from the station broadcasts. One downside was that the paper thin design was too prone to being blown around by storms.

Decided to upgrade to the Sky and have it "mounted" on the inside of our privacy fence (with open air in the direction of the antennae). I plugged the amp into the 4-way splitter and removed all other amps. We're now even getting the obscure channels.

Experiences so far with the 39" Seiki 4k display as a monitor

I bought the 39" Seiki 4k display on a whim as it was only $389 at Amazon and Newegg, after reading a post from another programmer about using it as a coding display. My initial findings and notes:

  • Make sure to have a snugly fitting Phillips head screwdriver before trying to mount the base.
  • Plugged work rMBP into it via the suppled(!) HDMI cable into the HDMI 1 input on the of the display.
  • There are only two scaling options for the rMBP: 3840x2160 (unscaled) and 1440x900 (not really worth the display if you're going to do that.)
  • Dial sharpness down to 0 to be able to read your fonts.
  • Lower brightness below 50. I have it down to 24, but you may have a different preference.
  • Color was a bit too vivid...  I reduced to around 25.
  • I can divide my work window into quadrants and have full view of each:
    • Code window with 4 vertical and 2 horizontal split panes in MacVim.
    • iTerm window divided into 4 80x25 quadrants.
    • Browser window
    • Evernote window
  • The internal speakers on the TV sound like a cheap pair of speakers. More output than the rMBP internal speakers, but sound quality is a bit worse.
  • iTunes visualizer and YouTube videos don't show the weakness in the 30Hz refresh rate, only a bit of higher speed mouse tracking has even remotely exposed it for me, but I'm don't a desktop gamer.
  • Mouse speed vs being able to see your mouse pointer in motion can be a bit of a challenge. The larger display is more conducive to keyboard input for me.
  • Attempting to use the entire screen at once seems to introduce lag from eye-tracking, I've found it more useful to divide work areas on the screen. The benefit then comes from having everything on top at once.