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Toyota Prius MPG-Real World Numbers

Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
This topic is for Prius owners to share their MPG with others.

"Real World" Fuel Economy vs. EPA Estimates

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  • mebmanmebman Posts: 100
    I just bought my new prius 8 days ago and have already put 1100 miles on it. It is a pleaseure to drive. I have been getting right at about 50 mpg combined. You can get it higher than 50 mpg but it is a lot of effort to watch the energy screen, conserve momentum and what not. It does seem to get the best milage with the speed set at 57mph. So I just gave up after the first tank, put the cruise control on and got happy with 50 mpg! It does seem to get the best milage with the speed set at 57mph.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,788
    "It does seem to get the best milage with the speed set at 57mph."

    Woah, at that speed on LA freeways, you'd have a truck up your tailpipe!
  • growler5growler5 Posts: 67
    The usual answer applies here - "it depends".

    Experience after 3 years occasionally driving an '02 Prius (it belongs to the wife):
    - wife has 2 mile commute to work, medium speed roads - gets 40-45 mpg. She's not running the gas engine long enough to get it warmed up in 2 miles :cry:
    - I have a 14 mile commute one way, no problem getting over 50mpg with average speed about 50 mph driving 90% of the time on a high-speed road. I rarely go over 65 mph - faster speeds kill mpg ! :D
    - day-long cruise, about 240 miles, hilly and flat country checking out real estate - I can get 54-55 mpg. :shades:

    These numbers apply to decent weather (45 degrees and up). Driving in 20 degree weather, I'd be seeing a 10% drop in mpg. Also important is proper tire inflation. I usually run my tires at 2 psi over recommended, ride is a little harsher (bumps are more noticeable) but you get better mpg, handling, and will not adversely affect tire wear.

    Optimal driving conditions ? Suburban roads, 30-45 mpg, outside temp 70 degrees or better, flat or moderately rolling terrain, and of course, few stop signs. I'm sure I could hit 56 - 57 mpg under those conditions.
  • mebmanmebman Posts: 100
    You are probaly right . The Highway speed limit here is 60, and at 57 I still get every bubba in South Texas screaming up my 6 in there big F-250's and Suburbans. I've often wondered why have any speed limit at all if 90% of the people are exceeding it by a LARGE margin. For those of us who would like to obey the law, it can be a very hostile environment on the freeway.
  • At first I rarely got over 40 mpg, but then I raised the tire pressure to 41 psi, and Shazaam!, I'm getting over 50mpg even at 80 mph, easily averaging 49mpg on long trips that were heavy on the gas pedal. I just wish I could inflate with nitrogen, to avoid the recently discovered 5-year tire burnout.
  • deluxe247deluxe247 Posts: 9
    I recently had my first oil change at 5K miles on my new '05 Prius (bought April '05). So far I've had no problems and I love the new car. I very reluctantly changed from my '94 Camry with 302K miles (and still looking and running great!), but the lure of reduced gas consumption was too great with my high mileage (25K/year).

    Thought I'd report my gas mileage so far for 12 fill-ups. For data geeks like me, here are the numbers (for others, my apologies). I also apologize if the table format is not legible.

    Actual Computer
    Miles Gallons MPG MPG
    ------- ---------- ------- --------
    426 8.80 48.4 52.1
    462 8.11 57.0 54.5
    475 8.88 53.5 56.2
    500 10.00 50.0 52.2
    364 9.00 40.4 39.9
    406 9.38 43.3 43.7
    428 8.18 52.3 51.5
    487 9.71 50.2 56.6
    477 8.00 59.6 56.2
    462 7.80 59.2 57.1
    424 8.40 50.5 55.5
    472 8.57 55.1 55.4

    The 2 tanks of 40.4 and 43.3 MPG were during a 1,300 mile highway trip, doing about 80 MPH on long flat stretches with the A/C on (90 deg outside). I would get 50 MPG by going 70 MPH, but the mileage dropped off quickly above that. The Prius ran smooth and quiet, and didn't have any problems climbing hills. I was very pleased with that.

    The overall consumption is 51.3 MPG for 5,383 miles. My averages per tank are 449 miles and 8.7 gal, so I could easily go 500+ miles without getting too low on the 11.9-gal tank. These numbers are for mild Spring (and some hot) conditions in Southern California. Most of my weekly miles are stop-and-go freeway driving.

    The computer mileage seems to vary randomly from the actual, both higher and lower. The long-term averages are about the same. Does anyone know how the computer calculates consumption?

    Overall, the Prius has exceeded my expectations in all respects. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have any of the reported software problems!!
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    The computer mileage seems to vary randomly from the actual, both higher and lower. The long-term averages are about the same. Does anyone know how the computer calculates consumption?

    It probably just divides measured speed by measured fuel flow rate. The difference between your fuel economy calculation and the vehicle's likely stems from the flexible fuel bladder. With a hard tank, it's a decent assumption that the amount of fuel consumed to drive however many miles since your last fillup is the same as the amount of fuel it takes to fill it up now. With the bladder that the Prius uses, the amount of fuel in a "full tank" can vary.

    If the uncertainty in the amount of fuel was about 0.5 gallons (a reasonable amount considering Toyota claims the difference in capacity between a cold day and warm day is as much as 1.5 gallons), that would mostly account for the differences.
  • kayseakaysea Posts: 1
    I've always been able to get the best mileage out of a car so when I finally got my Prius, I was up to the challenge that people I know were giving me. They'd heard that the Prius doesn't get the mileage that it promises but they hear this kind of nonsense from people who don't know much about how to achieve good mileage anyway. That kind of driver will be disappointed. With my first tank, it was a very hot week so the a/c was on much of the time so I only got 51 mpg. With this second tank, the temperatures have been a lot cooler and the a/c hasn't been on a lot and the consumption display tells me that I've been getting 55 but it's creeping up to 56 or 57. I found out yesterday that if I set the temperature of the a/c auto to 76 that I'm comfortable in sunny, 82 degree weather and the a/c doesn't affect mileage. That's a great thing to discover. :shades:
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    Although I have not posted into the Prius groups much in the last 12 + months, I wanted to post some specifics of some recent extreme Hypermiling FE runs and record breaking runs to come in the Prius II.

    The highest recorded tank I have heard about to date was a 102.7 mpg tank from a Japanese owning Prius II enthusiast out of Japan. Here in the states, similar techniques are being developed and improved upon to push the Prius II to even higher FE! As of last month, an individual that goes by the nick Krousdb has exceeded 102 mpg for over 100 miles of segment testing in the Pittsburgh area with his own Prius II. This isn’t 55 mph type speeds and limits but roads similar to his normal city/suburban type commute with multiple lights and ~ 70’ delta’s when considering the many hills with speed limits ranging from 35 - 55 mph. His latest drive to work included a 90.4 mpg segment just yesterday morning in fact! Although the US and Canadian versions of the Prius II do not display FE in metric (l/100 Km) and you are limited to a max of 99.9 mpg per the MFD, there are HW additions that can add this feature similar to the Insight’s multiple Trip Computers in either English or metric units. Hopefully we will have one of the Japanese style FE Trip Computer’s installed by the launch date(s) as described below …

    img src="

    I went out to meet Krousdb 2 days ago and during a 4 round trip practice segment of 96 miles on a particular 24 mile roundtrip stretch along the Ohio River, we nailed 105.2 mpg. I drove 3 RT segments and he drove 1. It was raining hard for ~ 20% of the time we were out which makes it that much more amazing! In other words, world record type FE is available from the Prius II when setup in a particular way, driven in a particular fashion, and w/ a particular technique. We will be attempting to take out the Japanese held Prius II record with a tag team of 4 individuals (2 current Prius II hypermilers, 1 Insight, Prius I, and Prius II owning hypermiler, and 1 previous Insight owning Hypermiler) early next month. There will be updates on the progress of the team in as real time as possible while the event is actually happening. Our first proposed launch date is the weekend of August 5th, 6th, and 7th. The scrub/rain date(s) for the attempt will be the weekend of August 26th, 27th, and 28th.

    Who knows, we might just knock off the 102.7 mpg record with a little luck in the weather and temperature department?

    I wanted to give everyone a heads up that the Prius II when pushed to its limits can be an amazingly efficient automobile and with that, please consider performing a google search for 3 individuals with the following nicks/names: Krousdb, Dave Bassage, and Bill G. They post into many online Prius forums and it might be worth your while to look them up, learn the basics about their particular brand of what is now known as the “Pulse and Glide” technique, and practice it where appropriate on your own daily commute. It doesn’t work in all traffic and or roadway situations of course but where you can apply it, it is a truly amazing advance in FE vs. what you may or may not have enjoyed to date. I taught a friend of mine from work with an 05 Prius II just the “Glide” portion of the technique last week and he is now easily pushing low 60 mpg tanks on his daily commute vs. high 40’s to mid 50’s on all tanks prior to his latest from new.

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    As an addendum, here are the definitions of some of the acronyms I used above. I may have got a bit ahead of myself ;)

    Delta’s: Elevation in feet of a hill or slope over and above the trough preceding it. Most overpasses have an ~ 25 – 30 ft. elevation Delta if that helps.

    Extreme Hypermiler: One who maintains at least 20% above the EPA highway over 5 + tanks going forward. In the Prius II, this is 61.2 mpg after 5 tanks or lmpg. Lmpg’s include both winter and summer temps and conditions so you can imagine how hard this pinnacle is to not only achieve but to maintain.

    FE: Fuel Economy.

    HW: Hardware.

    Hypermiler: One who averages and maintains at least the EPA combined over 5 + tanks going forward. In the Prius II, this is 55 mpg after 5 + tanks or lmpg.

    l/100 Km: Liters of gasoline consumed per 100 Kilometers. An example would be 100 mpg = 2.352 L/100 Kilometers.

    Lmpg: Lifetime Miles per Gallon

    MFD: Prius II specific “Multi Function Display”

    RT: Round Trip

    Segment: Any distance less then the distance you would travel over an entire tank. 75 - 125 miles are good segment distances to remove any warm up time from an overall fuel economy average.

    TC: Trip Computer

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    Addendum #2. After a few more overseas and local E-Mails, there may have been some translation issues which might make “The Attempt” a possible easier hurdle. It appears the Japan Prius II record for FE over a tank is 85.84 mpg at 1,300 miles, not 102.7 mpg. The Japanese Prius II tanks are bladderless and can hold upwards of 15.9 gallons from my understanding? I will have to do some independent verification of that size tank in the Japanese versions as it seems a bit large vs. the US spec’ed tanks. We have a shot at 1,300 miles even with the US/Canadian spec’ed Prius’ 11.9 gallon tank if we can fill her up with an additional .75 or so gallons. We have an unproven technique for this and we will see if it works just before we begin the 38 + hour team drive. We will have to hit 102.x mpg or so over the tank to reach it but there is a good chance of this after seeing what Krousdb can and has done in regards to FE with his own Prius II on this particular route along the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, PA.

    In regards to a maximum FE segment, the Japanese Prius II FE record over a short segment is 107.7 mpg after a 40 Km drive at ~ 22 mph. Given our 105.2 mpg run over 4 - 22 mile segments (11 miles one way) at an average speed of ~ 36 mph, I am sure we nailed at least one of those segments at that level of FE performance although again, the US/Canadian spec’ed Prius II’s MFD is maxxed out so we did not have that level of resolution to see exactly what we achieved after any one RT segment.

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • Hi Wayne,

    I know you from and i am curious about one thing.
    I am able to attain nice MPG with my honda accord.. 30 city 42 hwy.

    My question is this?

    Do you drive around , just to drive around or are the miles you put on your car miles that you NEEDED to drive to get to a particualr point in your life?

    The more I see your posts it seems like you are just driving around trying to get better and better MPG out of your car....and this concerns me, because the hybrids were made to save gas and it seems like you are driving around in a fog and wasting more gas than if you had bought an American SUV with 19MPG.

    My question is pretty blunt: Please answer it accordingly.

    I hope I am wrong in what I am accusing you of here, I have really respected your hypermiling tips before.


    Phil K.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Phil K:

    As I posted over at DriveAccord, no. All my driving is to get back and forth to work, the store, the mall, or vacations etc. Except for the few miles of FE experimenting which is not anywhere near a whole tank. The record breakers are outlier’s of course but even those have some back and forth to work included as well.

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
  • phoebeisisphoebeisis Posts: 121
    Wayne,I know this might be a huge question,but what are your "tricks" for maxing MPG on the Prius?Is there a site that details them?
    Are there any modifications you do to the Prius itself-making the ECU even more MPG friendly etc?I try to max out my current vehicles(no hybrids yet,but soon)Prizm-Titan-Pilot-and my main "trick" is getting off the gas early and coasting down to a stop instead of using the brakes.I anticipate all stops waaay early if possible.The Titan gets an honst 21+mpg on the hy-decent for a 5000 lb truck with a V-8.It it were hybridized-put the electric motor "in" the 2 piece driveshaft,it could do much better in the city(12-17 current city).If it were diesel Hybrid,it might get an honest 22 mpg city-maybe 26 mpg hy.
    I have heard a lot of BS about why big rwd vehicles-full sized trucks especially-aren't suitable for Hybridizing.They seem like the perfect hybrids to me-small ish improvements are huge total fuel savings on them.Thanks.Charlie
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,788
    " I have heard a lot of BS about why big rwd vehicles-full sized trucks especially-aren't suitable for Hybridizing.They seem like the perfect hybrids to me-small ish improvements are huge total fuel savings on them."

    The point of hybridization is to get large improvements in MPG. That will not happen with large frontal areas and heavy weight. While it is true that on a percentage basis the MPG improvement is good, on an actual basis it is pretty low. The best one could hope for is 2 - 3 MPG on a large vehicle like a Titan (and that increase is mostly in-town, with very little increase on the highway). Contrast that to a Corolla at maybe 30 MPG in town vs. a similar sized Prius at 50 MPG in town - quite an improvement.

    The other type of hybrid is the GM pickup, which emphasizes having 120 volt power outlets for construction jobs, rather than any large increase in MPG.

    It would be far more economical to put in a diesel engine, at about the same cost, which would push up the MPG far more. I have heard of full sized GM pickups getting over 24 MPG on the road.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    The following three articles are in Sunday's New York Times Automobiles section 12:

    You may have to register (it's free) to read them. The jist of the articles, that include much test driving, is that the fuel efficiency of the Lexus RX 440h and Toyota Highlander SUV hybrids was very dissappointing. There was barely any mileage difference between them and their much less expensive gasoline-powered relatives.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Phoebeisis:

    I hope the following Edmunds link works? xcel, "Hybrids in the News" #2490, 2 Aug 2005 12:59 pm

    Read the above post in the “Hybrids in the News” thread. The last link in particular will hopefully provide all the details you might be interested in? To answer you question directly, for this type of “Marathon - Attempt”, a technique called “Pulse and Glide” will be used almost exclusively with a small amount of DWL (Driving W/ Load), Rabbit and/or general Timing, and both regen and distance braking methods thrown in when they are appropriate. This is not for the average daily commute by any means but simply shows what is possible from a well setup hybrid. A non-hybrid of the Prius’ size, relatively comparable performance, and amenities will never be able to achieve this level of FE over that distance. Hopefully this helps move the discussion forward …

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • Hi. first, I have had my new Prius for 1 week. I have a 12 mile commute to work and because it is usually stop and go I get great gas mileage. Yesterday I averaged 79mpg. that was awesome.

    I heard the European Prius has an EV button that for short distances allows a person to use only electric power. That sounds great for grocery store hopping. Any ideas on retrofitting?
  • Electric only kit is available as an after market addition, as are Prius mud flaps, and other goodies. Do a search on the Internet. The electric only kit works below 35 mph and still permits the engine to start when needed to charge the battery or provide maximum acceleration.
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