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Hybrid Gas Mileage Good? Bad? As Expected?

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    OK, we've veered off-topic here. If you want to talk about the Prius, we've got Toyota Prius 2004+, and if you would like to talk about CR, we've got Consumer Reports - Testing & Review Methods.

    Let's try to focus on gas mileage in this topic. Thanks!

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  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    My HCH gets about 52-55MPG overall with cruise control locked in while driving on rural highways with quite a few stops and freeway driving at all posted speed limits.

    My cruise control is certainly not hypermiling, and the car well exceeds what I had expected of it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    I just received this email from the EPA. According to this letter there is no way to prove if the Prius mileage tests were confirmed by the EPA. Only a very few tests are made by the EPA. They depend on the honesty of the automakers. My contention until proven otherwise is Toyota did the tests that came out with the very generous 60 MPG city rating. Not the EPA as so many would like to believe.

    While we don't have a list solely with the purpose of identifying vehicles that have had EPA Confirmatory Tests performed on them, it
    could be derived from our database. Actually, the emission test results data (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/crttst.htm) and the fuel economy test results data (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/tcldata.htm) that's posted on the Internet includes EPA tests... there's just no way for you to identify
    them specifically.

    Hope that answers your question,

    Karen Danzeisen
    U.S. EPA
    Computer Specialist
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    It's completely illogical and idiotic to think that the EPA would just "take Toyota's word for it" on a car so revolutionary as the Prius.

    So there's the proof.......Using your brain....... :surprise:

    You are smarter than that Gary; don't denigrate yourself by thinking something so laughable....

    PS
    Oh yes, I forgot to tell you - Kia is coming out with a 4 banger and is going to rate it 70/60. EPA would never check anyway, right, so why worry?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    " Manufacturers do not set their own fuel economy numbers. We are required by Federal law to use the EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings on every Monroney label, in our advertising, public relations and sales training. The EPA tests the vehicle in controlled and ideal laboratory conditions to allow repeatable results. For example, the vehicle is driven on a stationary dynamometer, ambient air is at a comfortable room temperature and the highway cycle averages 48 miles per hour. These tests provide a level playing field and are intended for comparison purposes, as the labels clearly state but is often overlooked."

    http://www.calstart.org/info/OP_ED/In_Defence_of_Hybrids.php
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Actually, all the EPA does is to establish the test procedures. According to this document from the EPA, the Manufacturer's test the vehicles (according to rigid EPA test procedures) at their (the manufacturer's) laboratories. The EPA confirms from 10-15% of the vehicles at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emmissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/factshts/fefact01.pdf

    I think the issue is whether or not the EPA has actually independantly confirmed the test results from Toyota or not.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20051028/news_lz1dd28honda.html

    "Honda says in a side-by-side, 2,500-mile drive their engineers made from Ohio to Los Angeles to Colorado, a Civic Hybrid got 43.6 mpg, while the Prius got 42.5 mpg. That's not bad for a route with a lot of severe elevation and weather changes. It was not just all highway driving, either. It was combined mileage.

    Because city driving is supposed to be Prius' strength (it's EPA rated at 60 city/51 highway), Honda also did a city-only driving test in Los Angeles. The Civic got 47 mpg, and the Prius got 46 mpg. In an L.A. highway-only test, Honda's Civic got 49 mpg and the Prius got 47.

    Honda's point is this: The automaker is closer to getting the mileage it says it will get on the Monroney sticker than the Prius (or any other Toyota/Lexus hybrid product).

    Honda's findings were that the Prius only gets 77 percent of the mpg it is supposed to, compared with more than 90 percent accuracy for the Civic hybrid. "


    PS
    This is not a Prius Bash by any stretch - just interesting to report, since the Prius has been the leader up to now...
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    quote-"I think the issue is whether or not the EPA has actually independantly confirmed the test results from Toyota or not."-end quote

    I think that's the issue too, and I think anyone who thinks the EPA saw that 60/51 number and just said, "OK, Toyota, thanks for the MPG results !" is in La-La-Land.....:D
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    For decades the EPA numbers on cars have consistently misrepresented the kind of mileage numbers that any given car was capable of returning. With that in mind, don't y'all think it's kind of silly to be arguing over who performed the actual test. I mean really, a flawed test is still a flawed test, and as such it is irrelevant regardless of who performed it.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I think that's the issue too, and I think anyone who thinks the EPA saw that 60/51 number and just said, "OK, Toyota, thanks for the MPG results !" is in La-La-Land..."

    Well, if the government (EPA) always acted logically, I would agree with you. If I had the budget to only verify the manufacturers results for 10-15% of the cars, then I would certainly chose those results which 'stood out' the most.

    ON THE OTHER HAND (and here's where I put my conspiracy theory hat on... :P), if the government was particularly INTERESTED in pushing hybrid technology, then they might take Toyota's (and Honda's, etc.) results at face value.

    nudge nudge wink wink ;)

    I've no idea just HOW the EPA decides which cars to verify. I don't know if it is in response to large numbers of consumer complaints about the accuracy of the numbers for a particular model or if the test subjects are chosen by # of units sold or if it completely at random.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    I think that's the issue too, and I think anyone who thinks the EPA saw that 60/51 number and just said, "OK, Toyota, thanks for the MPG results !" is in La-La-Land

    I have a letter from a person at the EPA that tells me that there is no way to know if the Prius was one of the 10-15% of the vehicles actually tested. If memory serves me correctly that 60/51 MPG figure came out on the EPA web site prior to the Prius II hitting our shores. All tests by independent and not so independent sources refutes the city mileage of the Prius by a BIG margin. What is so difficult in believing that a bureaucracy like the EPA would let a given car slip past them? The odds say the Prius was never tested by the EPA. If your EPA contact has a name and confirms otherwise I would accept that.
  • dreasdaddreasdad Posts: 276
    This guy posts his gas milage figured by the car and by hand, seems he has no complaints. are all these posts arguing about Prius gas mileage form people that own them or Honda sales people?

    http://www.enerjazz.com/prius/index_gas.htm
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I remember back in 2003 there was speculation that the Prius would get that type of mileage BUT they were awaiting for the official EPA results. If you actually think Toyota made their numbers better in their favor, you are SADLY mistaken. How could we rely on EPA numbers if every manufacturer tested under different conditions? Makes no sense whatsoever. Regardless...... there aren't many cars on the road today that can easily get low 50's going 65 MPG. Yup...da Prius!!

    Gotta love that!!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    For decades the EPA numbers on cars have consistently misrepresented the kind of mileage numbers that any given car was capable of returning.

    It was much less of an issue in the past. What we find is a race to get the highest mileage cars to market. For the sake of argument, suppose that Toyota assumed in their testing that the Prius would get better city mileage and the results came out that way. Honda wanting to be totally above board put out the actual tests results as specified by the EPA. I realize that the HCH and Prius are not cross shopped very often. However that 13 MPG difference would be a selling point for Toyota. In real world driving the Prius and HCH are nearly identical. Because of the highly flawed EPA mileage on the Prius it gets better treatment for the new tax incentives. It will also have better appeal to those that are strictly interested in gas mileage. I understand the frustration that Honda has expressed.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    How could we rely on EPA numbers if every manufacturer tested under different conditions?

    We cannot rely on the EPA figures. That is what the discussion is about. Each automaker has a lab that they test for mileage in accordance with EPA rules. The results are sent in and the EPA randomly picks cars to confirm those results. It is not rocket science. And not very realistic as the results are confirming.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
    I've never looked at the EPA estimates as anything other than just that... an estimate. To me, it the number is more important as a comparison tool. It's not critically important that the number is a 100% accurate measurement of what the mileage is going to be on a vehicle (since I'm not expecting it to be) nor is it terribly important that the testing done isn't really a "real world" test.

    If they stick cars on a dynomometer and run them for an hour and come up with a number, that's valid for comparison purposes for deciding between vehicles.

    Even if it's a flawed test (in terms of returning real world mileages) that doens't make it invalid for telling me that Car A is going to get better mileage than Car B.

    Your mileage may vary ;)

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Even if it's a flawed test (in terms of returning real world mileages) that doesn’t make it invalid for telling me that Car A is going to get better mileage than Car B."

    Ummm, I have to respectfully disagree. If the EPA estimates for all cars was off by a similar percentage, then you'd have a point, however, there are cars that will NEVER meet their EPA estimates unless rolling downhill with a tail wind. There are other cars that under certain neutral and carefully driven circumstances can actually achieve the EPA estimates, while others can easily beat those same estimates. An evenly graduated yard stick the EPA estimates are not.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    I wonder which organization tested the GMC Sierra hybrid's fuel economy.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    Odds are it was GMC. I am still on my second tank of gas, since it was new in June. Until I get a chance to put some miles on it, I will not know what kind of mileage it is capable of. I would say I will be lucky if it gets the EPA numbers. I like the truck a lot. Very, very quiet.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    Not bad. One-plus tanks of gas in five-plus months. I wish I could do that. Then again, I'd probably be kicking myself for having made the expenditure and not driven my new vehicle.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    Hybrids suffer in cold weather

    I would say it is more the driver than the car. I know of one Accord in Illinois getting close to 48 MPG. That is extreme, yet how many hybrids in Chicago get that kind of mileage. Where was the vehicles in your chart tested. CA and AZ should not have any winter issues with mileage. Unless you are up in the Sierras. After 6200 miles in my TDI most on 2-3 mile trips with the AC running full blast (warm yr in SD) I have not seen a big fluctuation in mileage. 1-2 MPG on each tank difference. So AC on a diesel is not a factor that I can see. Maybe on small high revving gas engines it makes a difference.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Everyone who owns a diesel car seems to think the A/C has no effect. I have yet to see a scientific basis for that. Are air conditioners installed in diesels DIFFERENT than air conditioners in gasoline cars? Of course not.

    Can a diesel car do this: turn on the ACC and run the air conditioner. Does it get cold? If not, then it requires FUEL to get cold. If it gets frigid with the car not started, then it's not using fuel. Gary, try that with your TDI and let us know.

    From green car congress:

    "Minimize Use Of Air Conditioning. Unless it’s freezing, or sweltering, keep the air conditioner off (fan is usually sufficient for cool or warm air flow into the vehicle). It is a major fuel thief in traffic, increasing fuel consumption by up to 10%."
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    If it's "more the driver than the car" then that means hybrids can get high mileage ANYWHERE, which supports what I said in the first place.

    The chart in question (which was removed because it was "too wide") was from a car in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    The Prius has an electric AC so mileage hits are minimal. It also doesn't sap power when driving around town. My friend who has a diesel Merc (older model) keeps the AC off as it takes a bit hit on the performance. Hybrids... gotta love them!! So cool.... Still possibly getting mine!!! Nothing else out there has my interest!!
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    hey Falcon - tink about dis:

    "electric" A/C

    Where does Prius get it's "electricity" from?

    very little from regen - most from FUEL.

    So anytime the A/C is running, it is still "in a roundabout way" using fuel.

    No free lunches.....:D
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Very true.. BUT you do not have a power sapping compressor delaying your departure. My WRX automatic with AC was truly a DOG when I put the AC on. Unless you drive a car with a very high HP output, the AC always seems to sap the power. I've never felt this with the Prius. Another nice thing is the silent idle at lights with nice cold aire blowing. Hybrids....gotta love em!!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    Everyone who owns a diesel car seems to think the A/C has no effect.

    Maybe that is because it is true. While cruising at 70 MPH at 2100 RPMS the TDI is at the peak of it's torque curve. In other words there is a lot more power than is needed to push the Passat down the highway. Unlike the inefficient gas engine that is very weak at lower RPMS. When you turn on the AC at 70 MPH you have to give it considerably more gas to maintain the speed and the AC. Diesel is a superior fuel for vehicles without any doubt. No amount of hype can change those FACTS.

    Getting back to my original post. I am not the one relating that my hybrid gets 10, 20, 30% less mileage in the Summer and the Winter. Hybrids are just more susceptible to little outside influences. Heat, cold, wind, tire pressure, driving skill, etc. When the emphasis for owning a car is the mileage you get, it becomes a big issue. Also on my wife's LS400. We get 27 MPG on the highway year round. Mostly trips to Las Vegas across the desert. It seems to me the only engines that suffer when using the AC are the small low torque engines designed to get optimum mileage under very restricted circumstances.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    quote-"It seems to me the only engines that suffer when using the AC are the small low torque engines designed to get optimum mileage under very restricted circumstances."-end quote

    On what are you basing that assumption? Gut feeling? It's a FACT that use of the air compressor requires fuel, regardless of the engine size. That's not different in any car.

    It's a major factor in why the EPA tests, which DO NOT USE THE Air Conditioner, are incorrect for 87% of cars.

    Diesel torque has nothing to do with fuel used to air condition a car.

    Did you do your test, Gary, the one I suggested to you? Get in your TDI on a warm day and turn the key to ACC and run the air conditioner. Does it get cold? If not, then the engine must be running for it to get cold. What's the difference you say? Well, FUEL is being used by the air compressor to cool the air.

    Found a page that says running the A/C generally robs 5% of an engines HP:

    "If a car has 100 horsepower, the five-horsepower cost in engine power for running the air conditioner doesn't seem that great. However, the same car at cruising speed requires only 25 horsepower at the most. Then, relatively speaking, that five horsepower represents a much larger demand on the engine."

    Found yet another page that says this:

    "According to the National Safety Council’s Safety and Health Policy Center, driving without using the car’s air conditioning increases fuel efficiency by about 2.5 miles per gallon."

    Another:

    "The common automobile air conditioner uses shaft work of the engine to turn a mechanical compressor. Operating the mechanical compressor increases the load on the engine and therefore increases fuel consumption, emissions and engine operating temperature. "
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    My sister and I along with my nephew drove down to the Delaware shore this past summer. Outside temps were 81 with RH of 52%. We set the A/C at 72 and drove on the relatively flat Garden State Parkway at 68-71 MPH. The MFD at the end of the trip registered 51.3. Gotta love it!!!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,899
    Diesel torque has nothing to do with fuel used to air condition a car.

    I will have to differ unless you have some documented proof to the contrary. I am sure your 5% loss was based on a gas engine. As an example when driving the Mazda 626 and I turn on the AC I can feel the loss of power. When I do the same in the Passat TDI there is no loss. It all has to do with where your power curve produces the maximum. If you are cruising along in a 4C gas car at 2000 RPMS that is about half of the horse power you have at 4000 RPMS. So any little drag on the engine will be felt. I can tell you that I am getting the same mileage now as in the heat of the summer here. Many days over 95 degrees. Mostly short trips.

    What I am seeing is a lot of excuses made for the hybrid technology and why it is not delivering the expected mileage. I agree with those that feel it should stand on it's own merit and not the skill of the hypermiler. As we know hypermiler's get great results without the aid of hybrid technology.

    Maybe some sort of hypermiling course should be added to the curriculum of driver's ed classes in school. That would probably have a bigger impact on our oil supply than the over complicated hybrid technologies.
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