Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota Prius MPG-Real World Numbers



  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    I wonder what is so special about how you drive? Every other Prius in the world gets 48-50mpg. As all cars are made the same, perhaps you can share with us your freeway speed, and around town speed. Do you consider yourself a 'normal' driver, doing up and down grades, accelerating 'normally' (slowly but not to hinder traffic).. or do you do something different. I'd like to get 58mpg also.. what is your secret?

  • prius2007prius2007 Posts: 41
    Hi Scottc3,

    I'm glad you're keeping an open mind. What you said about "Every other Prius in the world gets 48-50mpg" is not factual. Go to or for stats and great tips. The tips are from veteran Prius drivers that I learned from as I'm still a novice driver of the Prius.

    For starters what I found important:
    Even before you get in the car:
    1. Consider increasing your tire pressure from the Toyota setting of 35/33 to 40/38. Some people go to the maximum of 45/43 as on the sidewall of the OEM Integrity tires ... and there are those who even go higher. Research tire pressures on
    2.Make sure that when oil change is done your oil is not overfilled. Dealers keep doing this against the recommended level in their own service specs.
    3. As in real estate location ... location ... location ... route selection is very important. I've experienced with many variations of route selections to and from work. The goal is to have the least amount of fuel consumed which will result in your ideal MPG. For some time I was monitoring different routes and recording my MPG both to and from work and the corresponding conditions like tire pressure; temperature outside ... etc. As I learned different techniques I revisited some of the earlier routes to see what if any difference it makes. Important considerations are: number of lights / stops and how well you can time them and of course terrain. Take advantage of any downhill terrain by gliding. Watch your rate of acceleration and drive like you don't have breaks. Be aware of what's ahead and drive as smoothly as possible.
    4. Some people (I only do it on a very limited basis) get excellent MPG by P&G (pulse and glide).
    5. Limit short trips or combine them as much as possible - these are killers for MPG because of the low warm-up numbers. Your warm up period in the winter is longer. If you going to have multiple stops plan them: consider going to the furthest point and work your way back. I also consider how long each stops maybe to minimize the cooling down period.

    You can get much more detail on these subjects and more on the above web sites. I have to emphasize safety first and don't inconvinience other drivers within the laws of the road.

    On the HWY I mostly drive in the right lane but knowing what the ideal speeds are try and drive at or below the speed limit.

    Good luck and realize depending on your driving conditions it will restrict how well you'll be able to maximize the potential of the Prius.
  • prius2007prius2007 Posts: 41
    re: "perhaps you can share with us your freeway speed, and around town speed"

    We have 3 diffferent HWY speeds:
    1. Country roads: 80KMH (50MPH) that I drive at 80 - 87 KMH (gain speed on any downhill portion especially of there is a hill following it).
    2. 90 KMH zones: drive 87 - 97 KMH with the same routine as in #1. These are 2-3 lane HWYs.
    3. 100 KMH HWY: drive 87 - 109 KMH with the same routine as #1. These are multi lane 3-8 lanes HWYs.

    In the city:
    Residential or school areas: 40KMH drive at 40 (not very common)
    residential 50KMH: drive 50 to 55
    60 KMH - drive at 57 - 65

    ==> for all: traffic allowing it - LOL ;)
  • prius2007prius2007 Posts: 41
    re: "Every other Prius in the world gets 48-50mpg"

    like so: ???
    ---> scroll through some of this ... also: you'll be able to access lots of data :)
  • carbotcarbot Posts: 14
    You can baby your Prius, make every trip an ordeal, pi** off a lot of people and get a few mpg more, or you can drive it like a car and get around 48 mpg regularly. Personally, I don't want to be a slave to a car for a few mpg. I consider myself a veteran hybrid driver. I put over 37,000 miles on my '03 Prius in 10 months, and sold it to a friend when I got my '04. I now have 205,000 on my '04. I drive it like I do all my cars. I accelerate normally to speed, pop it into cruise and go. This applies even in town when traffic is light. When see a traffic light change, I take it out of cruise and slow down if there is no one riding my bumper. Many times I never have to stop before the light changes. This is one reason I still have the original brakes. This is my business car and I can not plan trips for maximum mileage, not that I would if I could. Yes, I do pump my tires to the max and can not tell the difference in ride or performance.
    I have taken defensive driving classes and even won a $500.00 safe driver award from the insurance company that insured the vehicles I drove while vanpooling. The bottom line in defensive driving is, always leave yourself an "out". No tailgating. This is safe and gives you some time to make decisions, be it for safety or gas savings.
    I consider the biggest gas hog on a car to be the brakes. Every time you use them you have to regain that speed, which is much less efficient than staying up to speed.
    I didn't mean for this to be so long, but I got "on a roll". Needless to say, I love my Prius. It is the best car I have owned in my 63 years, but remember, It is transportation. Don't let it drive you.
  • dpeacockdpeacock Posts: 1

    I am new to forums so be patience with me.
    I am a new Prius Owner from Manassas, VA.
    Our family "lucked out" and bought a 2004 in Dec 2007, 60K miles, for $18K ($16K + $2K, sales taxes, processing fee & extended warranty).


    I was impressed that you had 204,000 miles on your car. That was one of our big questions. What was the life expectancy if car is properly maintained. Your experience is welcome news.

    I wonder how long others have had their PRIUSs?

    Question: Last Question

    When Toyota changes to LI Ion batteries, will owners be able to replace hydride batteries with the LI Ion batteries? I hope so.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Hey Gabe,

    Please don't misunderstand me here, I'd do just about anything to get the mileage you claim you are getting. I have looked at the other posts on the other sites, and they show pictures of their 'mileage' based on the car read-out. I make the following assumptions:
    1) every car gets lower mileage (25-35 or so) in the 1st 5 minutes as the cat converter needs to warm up - or something like this.
    2) The pictures shown of 60+ mpg do not show the first 5 minutes of driving.. which make me question the numbers a bit. Sure, I can show 30 minutes of driving, averaging 75mpg if I choose the correct road (doing down hill most of the time) - but this would be misleading - so why do it?
    3) It's my belief, and I hope I am wrong, that 'normal driving', meaning accelerating slowly, going the speed limit - not over - and not to much under to cause a problem with traffic, will produce actual MPG in the 48-50 range.
    - I have not tried going 50mpg on the freeway for any period of time, but I'm sure this would help - however I also consider this a bit unsafe.
    4) Driving in city traffic will average out - sometimes better mileage, sometimes worse, but the average will be about 50mpg.

    I am going to check my tires again, and make sure they are at 40psi - I had increased pressure after reading some posts months back.

    I do believe you are an exception, not the rule (yes, there are others too that drive like you). However, GOOD FOR YOU! I'm happy to know the car will do this, if I choose to drive the correct routes, in the correct outside temperature, during the right time of day, driving the exact correct speed. This is not real practical for me - but to others perhaps it is.

    I do not believe some of us own 'better' gas mileage cars than others - we all have the same car and if the car is able to get >60, >70 MPG, it's worth noting. We all own a great car - I am very pleased with mine and would buy another one in a second.

    Thanks for your response.

  • jimrey28jimrey28 Posts: 9

    I think you have cleared things up for me now...I own a 2008 Prius for about 6 weeks now and I take care of my terminally ill Mother. This means I barely get to drive the car, I rarely drive it for 2 miles at a time so I only get so the screen reads 36 to 40 mpg. Yes I have begun changing my habit of driving but the mpg is no where what I thought it would be, I took too much for granted. My tires are inflated to 38/40 but I guess it's because I don't drive enough.

    I did take a trip from Chicago to Kansas City though, used cruise control and got up to 48mpg which made me happy. Now I have 1400 miles on the car drive around town and am back to the 36 to 40mpg.

    I also was lead to believe when I bought the car that below 48 mph the car ran on the battery so I am confused why miles are so low. The car dealer of course said it's better than standard cars, but whatever that's not their marketing ploy.

    At any rate so many in these forums are getting GREAT mileage, am I reading the wrong screen or is it because I typically drive so few miles.

    i know this is lenghty but can any tell I'm confused?

    Thanks for anyones comments!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Here in VA where they use 10% ethanol I generally lose 2 mpg off my lifetime average of 47.8 mpg, When I fill up in NC where they normally sell 100% gas then I get upwards of 50-52 mpg in Spring, Summer and Fall.

    I've never had a tank as low as 43 mpg in any kind of weather: 85% Hwy @ 62 mph on average and 15% suburban 'city' driving. I don't pay much attention to any special hypermiling techniques except to use my brain to let off the pedal as early as possible for the given conditions.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Hi Jim,

    One of the key limitations in fuel economy that very very few know is that short trips are death on fuel economy for all vehicles. This is clearly stated on the EPA site and most vehicle makers know it but it's rarely explained to the driving public. Why should it have been in past years? Fuel was cheaper than dirt. Now it isn't.

    As you can see from your own experience 5 min trips are horrible on FE. All vehicles will lose about 20+% from their 'nominal averages'. This is one reason why CR gets so low ratings when they do their own FE tests.

    As to your question about the battery only driving, the actual number is 41 mph. There are long technical discussions on this subject over at Essentially the 'sweet spot' for the HSD vehicles is about 35 mph; i.e. just about normal for city driving. However..... BIG HOWEVER.... you must have a well charged battery in order to gain the most benefit from this. If you come out in the morning and jump in and drive 5 min that's not enough time to charge up the battery. It takes about 8-12 min of continuous driving. After that when you are in the 35 mph range the battery/e-motor can power the vehicle pretty far and pretty often.

    Also another very common misconception is that 'stop and go' traffic is good for HSD vehicles. Actually stop-and-go driving is bad for all vehicles. The laws of physics ( Newton ) cannot be overwritten; An object at rest...... It takes a lot of energy inputs to get a 3000# vehicle up and rolling even at low city speeds. Try to avoid stopping if at all possible while being safe. Try the UPS solution.
  • jimrey28jimrey28 Posts: 9
    Bob thanks for your input. Sounds like I need to drive more! At least you have given me confidence that I'm not getting what I paid for.

    Eventually I will be driving more and then I should be able to see an increase in my average mpg.

    Thanks again!
  • Last Christmas I rented a Prius that had very few miles on it from Avis. I used it to go to West Virginia to pick up my son for visitation. I was not able to get one for the return trip. The trip was from Jacksonville Florida to the northwestern part of

    Now, just to let you know, I keep a steady foot on the accelerator, keep off the brakes, etc... Follow trucks maybe a bit too closely but it does save gas as proven on Myth Busters. I would say I average about 40 to 60 feet behind which they proved gave about a 40% increase in mileage.

    Anyway, like I said, I made the trip up on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to pick him in a Prius and the return trip to drop him off in a Cobalt on January 1 and 2. We added up the gallons used for both cars and I was shocked. Prius = 36.153 gallons used. Cobalt = 37.282 gallons used.

    These trips were just one week a part and I was the sole driver. I do everything recommended to save gas and things proven to save gas but not necessarily recommended.

    I am getting ready to make another trip so when Avis wanted a huge rental fee in comparison to a Cobalt, I chose the Cobalt. Difference in rental price was over 100 dollars.
  • rush hour:

    You'll have to look hard to find another Prius "driver" with such ridiculously low MPG. Quoting 1 way trip MPG can be very misleading. What if you were driving up hill with the Prius and down hill on your return trip with the Cobalt? The comparison of the resulting two MPGs is apples to oranges. Do the same leg with both or even better do both to and from with both for a scientific comparison. Your Prius was a new car with very few miles on it. There is significant improvement in MPG after the 5K break-in period. How you filled up both tanks pre and after would have a significant impact in your calculated MPG - you have to fill it to the same level to have accurate manually calculated MPG. The Prius has a fuel bladder making this more of a challenge. What did the Prius MFD show for MPG?

    No one should take your "info" useful as it is not a scientifically calculated result.
  • GutsyGutsy Posts: 13
    I was just reading the posts here regarding the mileage differences and thought I'd chime in with the mileage I achieved around town in NJ and on a recent trip to Vermont.

    I purchased my '08 Package 6 Super White this May and went on a trip two weeks ago from Central New Jersey to Leicester Vermont (320 miles one way). At the start of my trip, I had approximately 2,700 miles on the odometer.

    The trip started on the NJ Turnpike, to the Garden State Parkway through New York ... etc. Most of the time I was traveling between 65 and 70 MPH. As we approached New York it was all up hill/down hill and winding road driving ... all the way through Vermont as well.

    I had my two sons with me and a large 50 lb suitcase in the back and other items to take with us (approx 500+ lbs altogether). I didn't pay attention much to the fuel usage on the MFD like I normally do when driving around my town. I had the GPS on most of the time.

    I had the cruise control ON most of the time and did not use the air conditioning on the way up ... and I got 52+ MPG.

    On the way home ... again, I had the cruise control ON and had the same passengers and weight, BUT this time I DID use the air conditioning and was going between 65 and 72 mpg ... and got 54+ MPG. Go figure??

    My tires were inflated 42 front & 40 rear.

    While in Vermont I got 52 mpg average while driving around with 5 adults in the car!! while traveling for the week that we were there visiting.

    I've been consistently averaging between 52 and 56 MPG at home at each fill-up around town. I travel 10 miles to work and back (traveling 30 - 40 mph) with 12 + stop lights along the way and I'm getting 52 MPG. I once achieved 59 MPG on one tank of gas in NJ. I expect I'll be getting in the 40's in the winter based on what I've read.

    I couldn't be more pleased with the mileage and performance. I just love my Prius!
  • Hi Jim,

    Good luck with that. I drive over 100 miles per day, at least 60 of those miles daily on the freeway and I can't hit 40mpg either, and I'm even trying to drive like a freaking old lady. For me anyway, a cheap Corolla or Civic or something like that would have been a better deal. I've only owned this thing for a couple of weeks, so maybe I'll give it some more time. Frankly, I'd rather drive a car with performance and take the gas hit instead of paying for this and getting mileage barely better than a car half the cost. I've talked to lots of others who drive these in this area, and they regularly report about 40mpg or barely over that. I have no idea how anyone is getting 50+ mpg in these cars. Maybe I'll sell my Pathfinder and the Prius and go buy a Lexus GS hybrid. I'll get performance and a hybrid!
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Jim / Bob,

    If I were you, I'd start looking for something wrong with the motor / electric system.. Perhaps new plugs in the car? Not much you can do with the electric system.. but I think you should get at least 45mpg and this would be driving it hard. I question the 50+ mpg numbers, but see if you only drove 55mph, or slower, and most if it was down hill, you could bet 55 - 75mpg, but this is not an average of most users.

    Why not call your dealer and tell them you have several friends that have Prius's and they are getting close to 50mpg... and you are getting less than 40mpg.. something is wrong.. see what they say.

    Good luck..

  • I think you may have the right idea! Thanks for your input!
  • That's good advice, I will be taking it in soon and ask them. I did ask when I first got it and they said your lucky you get that in mileage, meaning better than most cars, but I thought that was a [non-permissible content removed] answer.

    I'll persist more this time.
  • Well, if you have to drive 55 or slower to get the advertised mileage on these cars, then they're not worth it for at least those of us in southern California. 55 on the freeway here is akin to riding around in a buggy pulled by horses in Amish country.
    I regularly drive 75-90 but have taken that down to 70 in an attempt to get good mileage (heck, I'll take the epa estimates at this point) like I see in various forums. I now have to keep over to the slow lanes as I'm getting passed by even those idiotic Smart cars. Maybe there's a bunch of extra smog crap our illustrious socialist government in Sacramento has forced upon the cars in this state that is ruining the mileage? Oh well, I have already put my deposit down on an Aptera. If that actually gets delivered to me early next year, it's sayonara Prius and good riddance! I'm not green by any means, this is purely an economic decision. I'm just trying to save money for jet-a fuel!
  • GutsyGutsy Posts: 13

    You are driving in "D" ... correct? ... and not "B" ... which is for braking while going down steep hills. Using "B" will kill your mileage.
  • Gutsy,

    Always in "D" yes. I live in Chicago and it's as flat as a pancake! But thanks for the question since I have been known to do other things backwards!
  • GutsyGutsy Posts: 13

    Darn ... thought I found the reason! :-)

    You may want to consider posting your mileage issue on Prius Chat (Select the Fuel Economy forum). They have extremely knowledgable members there who can help you pinpoint the problem so that you can achieve the mileage you deserve.

    In my case, I'm consistantly getting in the mid 50's no matter where I drive.

    Good luck!!!
  • Thanks Gutsy I will!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I'll have to say that it's almost impossible to drive 100 mi/day and get in the low 40's during the Spring Summer and Fall with only yourself in the vehicle and no cargo.

    If we lived close I'm sure if we switched vehicles for a week we'd find that yours got 48 mpg on average. I've driven well over 1000 different Prius' and there has been next to no variation in performance and fuel economy given the same driving characteristics. And I DON'T drive like a grandma. I punch it at every light and get right up to speed....then I let off the pedal and coast as long as I can without disturbing traffic. Then I punch it again.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    You can't overcome the laws of physics in any vehicle. If you're generally driving at 75-90 mph your fuel economy - in any vehicle - will suffer by as much as 20-30% due to the effects of drag. That cannot be overcome.

    It really begins to click in at 75+mph. Check the EPA website and other sources for this effect. 55 MPH on the Highway will get you into the mid-50s easily. 63 MPH will bet you around 50 mpg. 70 MPH will get you about 45 mpg.

    Then you have to factor in wind, rain, cargo, passengers, tires and terrain. Driving 80 MPH into a strong wind may lose you as much as 30% from a nominal 50 mpg rating. That's just life. Being under 40 mpg in such a case is very very likely.

    But then every other vehicle on the road is similarly affected. 20-24 mpg in a standard 4c Camry for instance instead of 30-32 mpg.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Because of our backward system of measuring fuel usage/'economy' we can't see the real effect of what happens when we drive less efficiently.

    The term 'fuel economy' is a gross misnomer created by the auto industry and perpetuated by the US Govt. You are not doing anything 'economical' by burning petro-fuel to get from one place to another, you're consuming. But that aside....

    Using the more accurate metric of Gallons per Distance Driven ( Gal / 100 mi or Gal / 1000 mi ) the difference between various vehicles and driving conditions can be seen precisely.

    The case above where conditions cause two drivers to lose about 20% efficiency due to high highway speeds and a strong wind in front or from the side.

    A Prius might drop from a nominal 50 mpg to 40 mpg
    A Camry might drop from a nominal 33 mpg to 25 mpg

    The Prius takes it on the chin apparently.

    But viewed from a usage pov using a GPC metric ( Gal Per 100 mi driven) the story is entirely different...
    At 50 mpg nominal the Prius uses 2 GPC
    At 40 mpg actual the Prius uses 2.5 GPC

    At 33 mpg nominal the Camry uses 3 GPC
    At 25 mpg actual the Camry uses 4 GPC.

    To go the same 100 miles in bad conditions it cost the Prius an extra 1/2 gal. It cost the I4 Camry 1 full gallon. Another way of stating it is that in optimal conditions the Prius saves 1 gallon for every 100 mi driven over the Camry in the same conditions. In worse conditions the Prius saves 1.5 gallons for every 100 miles driven as compared to the Camry.

    2.09 GPC after 33 months and 85000 miles. ;)
  • re: "I question the 50+ mpg numbers"

    To all the doubters and those who are interested in some simple non-technical advice and inspiration read this:

    I just read this post from Courtney that you may find inspiring and useful:
    link title
    Good luck and have patience,
    BTW: Cabot, "no babying or "pi??ing" of people involved.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Courtney makes good sense.. drive slower, don't accelerate fast - in fact, work on accelerating slowly, and coast whenever you can. Oh, don't pass anyone, and go slower than the posted speed limit. These are all fine points for maximizing gas mileage.. these will be practical for some, not for others. While I am not getting over 50mpg, I'm right at it, like 49.2mpg.. and I drive faster than the speed limit, I do pass slower drivers, I do try to coast when I come to a stop, provided there are not people behind me.. which there usually are - I drive in CA!.. but I do believe given the 'tips' (common sense) stated, I could get batter gas mileage….suppose I don't care to do so at this time.

  • I have had my 2006 Prius for 27 months. I have become a safe "hypermiler," definitely driving too slowly, at times. I coast, as often as possible, and also limit my trips, locally.

    During this summer, I have been able to successfully improve my mileage on successive tanks. Two tanks ago, I was excited to do 450 miles at 54.9 MPG. Last tank was 490 miles at 57.4 MPG. I have just completed a round trip to Brooklyn, NY (from CT), with only one complete stop (3 hour break). Both directions were almost identical in mileage (61 MPG). I generally drove the speed limit or 2 - 3 MPH BELOW (posted speed limit varies between 50 and 55 MPH, but I never would drive below 50).

    I confirm my mileage on every tank and the monitor mileage is approximately 2% accurate, at all times. (and the error (if you can call it that) is as likely to be inflating my results as deflating).

    Since I only got into driving this way in the past year, I wondered how northeasterners (or similar cold locales) do in the winter. I previously would have quoted my summer mileage at 50 MPG and my winter mileage around 42 MPG. Now, I am wondering how I will do, this winter, with more aggressive efficient driving.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    Here's a FACT I hope you all consider., There has been a lot written about fuel tank issues, and only being able to put in 8-9-10 gallons in the 12 gallon tank. The gas pump shuts off early, before the tank is full. If you have paid attention when filling, you know it happens. You drive until the last bar is lit, and can only get 8 gallons in the tank whe you fill up.. meaning 4 gallons were left in the tank on the last bar.. does not make sense, right?

    While the above posts are showing how to make a gallon of gas go farther, at least consider this...

    You start with a full tank of gas, and you want to figure you gas mileage. You drive 450 miles and fill up again.. you put in 8 gallons. Simple math, 450/8 = 56.25 mpg. The assumption here is that you FILLED the tank. But what if the pump shut off early? What if the tank could have taken 10 gallons, you mileage would have been 45 mpg. Quite a difference.

    If you have been reading these posts, when my car was new (2008), I did the above calculations every tank. I'd drive my car until the last bar was showing on the gas gauge, fill up, put in 8-9 gallons, and I drive on an average 450 miles, getting a calculated 50mpg in average. This also TOLD ME, I had 2-3 gallons in the tank when I hit the last bar. Wow, I can drive 150 miles when I hit the last bar before I really 'run out of gas'. This, of course, was an error - but I thought this for months.

    Recently I filled my car, and the pump did not shut off.. the gas actually overflowed out the gas fill hole (whatever you call it!). I drove, and drove, and drove on that tank of gas.. getting 615 miles before I got worried and filled up with gas again. Now imagine the mileage I would have gotten had I filled up the next time and only put in 9 gallons of gas because the pump shut off early.. WOW, 68mpg!! but the pump shut off early, not filling the tank with the full 12 gallons.

    So, just be aware of this. The Tips in the posts above will help you get better mileage for sure, just makes sense. But when you will your tank, be aware of this post and ask yourself, are you really filling the tank to 'full' when you calculate the gas mileage?

Sign In or Register to comment.