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Saving energy and avoiding Toyota safety issues

One event planned for Earth Day 2010 in Oak Ridge is the “Oak Ridge Gran Prius.” This will be a rally event challenging participants to get the best gas mileage driving a Toyota Prius across town on a defined course — thus letting people (particularly public officials who make decisions on buying vehicles) find out what it’s like to drive a hybrid car. I think it’s a great idea, but lately whenever Toyotas come up in conversation, somebody mentions the safety recalls on various models. My household’s Toyota Prius isn’t subject to either the accelerator-pedal issue or the braking problem, but those recalls (not to mention the media attention they’ve gotten) are still troubling for just about anybody who drives any kind of Toyota — and is likely to discourage some people from adopting energy-saving hybrid auto technology.

One thing that’s been missing from the U.S. media is advice on what to do about these problems (other than taking the car to the dealer for a repair). The BBC website, however, has some good advice: How do you stop a car with a jammed accelerator? advises drivers to put on the brakes, shift the car into neutral (of course!) — and if those measures don’t work, switch off the ignition (but keep the key in place to avoid locking the steering wheel). We need more of that kind of common-sense practical advice…

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  1. […] couple of weeks ago I commented on plans for the “Oak Ridge Gran Prius” and its relation to Toyota safety issu…. At this point, it appears that the Gran Prius event might not happen, due in part to nagging […]

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