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Getting the Most Out of the Toyota Prius: Driving Tips

labfamilylabfamily Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Had my prius now for 3800 miles now and of course love it. But in trying to wring out the best milage I still can't decide between D and B. It seems like I can get to about 25+ before gas kicks in on B and about 22 in D. I am down to about 38mpg for winter but I hope thats because of snow tires and winter gas? Anything else I should know? Thanks Joe


  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    Hi Joe - you've come to the right place! There are plenty of Prius owners here who should be able to give you a hand.
  • prpoirierprpoirier Member Posts: 1
    Joe: I can't believe you only get 38mpg. I live in Utah & drive my prius to the ski resorts. The only time I get 38mpg is when I am driving UP to the ski resorts (then I get 99mpg driving back down - HONEST!) I have had my 2004 prius for 2 years & average 48mpg winter and 53 mpg summer (I just reached 30,000 miles). I only use B when driving down mountian roads, or when slowing down getting off the freeway.
  • looking4priuslooking4prius Member Posts: 53
    I am still waiting for my Prius to arrive...(next month, so I am told)...but it seems pretty clear. 'D' is drive. 'B' is brake. Normally, use 'D'. When you need to slow down, as if you were shifting down in a manual tranny to slow yourself down, use 'B'.
  • devsiennadevsienna Member Posts: 70
    If you use B mode, it will un-necessarily run the gas engine, reducing your gas milleage. Also, if you are in B mode, cruise control is automatically turned off. It's been reported that B mode doesn't aid in recharging the traction battery, too. Why Toyota included this mode is a bit beyond me.

    The only reason I can even vaguely see where B mode might be useful is if you are going down a long mountain road, the traction battery is already at 8 green bars, and you want to avoid using the brakes for some reason and instead want to use engine braking to help slow you down. In that case, it might be useful.
  • seekoseeko Member Posts: 33
    this is my first toyota prius.2006 white pkg. #8. had it for not quit a month. tinted all glass put body side mouldings on it also put oyota mud guards on it also. have not a thousand miles on it yet. am still getting used to it yet. got a bath with gas the other day when i filled up the gas tank . i guess there is a good way of finding things out the hard way sometimes! anyways just figured i'd say hi to every one. if any one wants to email info about tips on the little machine that would be nice.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "anyways just figured i'd say hi to every one. if any one wants to email info about tips on the little machine that would be nice."

    Welcome to the forum. You will get more response by posting in the Prius 2004+ forum; this forum is for a very specific topic.
  • lefmilefmi Member Posts: 1
    Where is the best place to purchase accessories for '06 Prius (mud guards, moulding, seat covers, etc.). Found out no one makes husky liners for Prius.
  • michealsmicheals Member Posts: 27
    The purpose of "B" mode is for engine breaking down steep mountain grades. It does have to be pretty steep to be necessary, as it will slow you down on just typical downhill portions.

    B does recharge the traction battery (and very quickly I might add), but it really is just there to save your brakes. I have only used it a couple of times in trips through the Rockies.
  • seekoseeko Member Posts: 33

    Here is the website that I purchased the side molding and mud quards for my 2006 Prius.

    Hope this helps.


  • 515kim515kim Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone have tips for driving a Prius in the mountains? I will be in the Smokies this week and don't want to destroy my brakes or my mileage. Just keep the car in "B" and limit use of brakes when possible?

    Thanks for any experienced input!

  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204

    1,455.9 miles on 12.978 gallons of fuel for a grand total of 112.2 mpg!

    Details include a total distance of 2,343.1 km (1,455.9 miles) on 49.13 L (12.978 gallons) at 47.69 km/L (112.2 mpg) actual from fillup to fill up. 49.1 km/L (115.5 mpg) was displayed on the Japanese Prius II’s FCD.

    Warm up from dead cold to final destination totaled 75, so the average distance traveled was 31.2 km (19.368 miles) from dead cold to parked.

    Date the achievement was accomplished was from July 4th through August 16th, 2006

    Climate was relatively mild with a max temperature of 25C (77 degrees F). It rained just one day during the entire record tank.

    Her home is in a valley of southern Akita Prefecture in northern Japan.

    Totally Awesome results !!!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    1,455.9 miles on 12.978 gallons of fuel for a grand total of 112.2 mpg!

    Hmmm, don't tell that to poor "wentgreenin06" over in Prius software problems. He got less than 300 miles on a full tank before the triangle of death shut him down. Let's see 300 miles on 12.978 gallons of gas, that is 23.1 MPG. A lot of good all these records and accolades do for the people with hybrids, if they don't get where they are going without being towed.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Well there is obivously something wrong with "wentgreen"'s car, which I'm sure will be fixed.

    Having a broken Prius is nothing different than a Toyota Echo or a Chevy Cobalt leaving you stranded on the highway - it happens to all cars, and they either get fixed or replaced.

    Such is Life.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Such is Life

    Not for me. The last car that left me stranded by the side of the road was my 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser. I think you are in denial on the reliability aspect of the hybrids. The Prius probably has more complaints to the NHTSA for just quitting and being towed than any other current car model. Toyota has not resolved all the failure issues with the Prius to date.

    They need to incorporate a manual over-ride in the computer system that will allow you to drive the car even though it has detected something it did not like. That goes for any car that is overly computerized. A sensor going bad should not disable a vehicle.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    quote gary: "I think you are in denial on the reliability aspect of the hybrids."

    Someone needs to research hybrid reliability, and it aint this poster. A few Priuses needing a software upgrade does not mean "hybrids" as a vehicle family are "unreliable."

    there are 600,000 plus Hybrids on the road worldwide, and EVERY reliability study (biased or not) has shown that hybrids are superlativley reliable.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    A few Priuses needing a software upgrade does not mean "hybrids" as a vehicle family are "unreliable."

    I think you need to read back a bit on the Prius posts. Several 2006 owners have complained of shutting down with gas still in the car. This has nothing to do with the original stalling issue that is part of the NHTSA investigation. You are also ignoring the big brouhaha in Japan over some accident with faulty steering. I do think that was more than just the Prius. Toyota is still getting raves from the likes of JDP & CR for their very reliable cars during the 1990s. They have lost ground and these publications are slow to react.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Your beating up on the Prius whenever a problem is reported is getting really old. No car made today is perfect. But organizations like CR and JD Power research reliability of cars every year (not just cars from the 1990s) and have found the Prius to be one of the most reliable cars, and Toyota in general to be one of the most if not the most reliable brands, short-term and long-term. This year, CR reported that the reliability of brands like Toyota is levelling off--but not declining overall. This is not surprising. As the error rate gets closer and closer to zero, it's harder to fix those last few problems. That Toyota, in general and specifically with the Prius, has been able to stay at or near the top in reliability rankings despite increased complexity in their cars is quite an accomplishment.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Member Posts: 1,978
    spoken Like a true consultant!
  • eth2oskieth2oski Member Posts: 4
    Exactly. I had just that chance the other day. 11% grade for 6.5 miles. I'd have overheated brakes on any/every vehicle I've ever driven were it not for compression braking - using the engine to assist in braking.

    It's not a matter of wearing a set of pads out - it's a matter of having any brakes at all to stop with during a long descent.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    You should only use "B" when decending a long hill. Light pressure on the brake pedal also uses regenerative braking. The friction brakes only come on below 8 MPH or so, or when you use "panic" brake pedal pressure. You can feel the slight jar when you slow gradually with light brake pedal pressure. It should occur around 8 MPH as the car transitions to friction braking.

    So driving in the mountains just use "D" until you decend from a mountain pass. Otherwise, light pressure on the brake pedal will suffice.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Very well said!

    Zealots tend to be nit-pickers and overly critical in these forums, and highly intolerant of any information that contradicts their notions. ;)
  • lutzfernandezlutzfernandez Member Posts: 7
    Hi, I just bought a 2006 Prius a few days ago and am hoping to drive it in such a way as to maximize my mpg. On regular old cars, I was always taught using cruise control on the highway would get you better mpg than not using it. Is this true for the Prius? Thanks in advance for any replies.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    The consensus in these forums seems to be by all means use the cruise control on highway trips.

    And, use a light foot on the "gas" when driving around town, keeping the speed at 35 MPH or so, as much as possible.
  • lutzfernandezlutzfernandez Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the reply, Terry.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Member Posts: 1,978
    "I'd have overheated brakes on any/every vehicle I've ever driven were it not for compression braking - using the engine to assist in braking."

    Just down shift to a lower gear. For example on a 6-speed downshift to 3rd or 4th. let the engine provide braking.

    I SHIFT,

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    I'm not as charitable as MidCow.....

    If you have over-heated brakes on every car you have driven, without compression, you need to take-over driver's education classes. :P
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    On my -second- test drive (two weeks ago), I was "playing" with the brakes, trying to determine when "fricton brakes" were used and when regenerative braking was used vs pedal pressure. I am impressed. Regen. braking is used when "light" brake pedal pressure is used - and light brake pedal pressure I define as braking without driving aggressively, stopping slowly enough not to scare passengers. I was amazed at the stopping force this regen. braking creates. To get the friction brakes to engage above 10 km/hr I had to stop fast enough to cause objects on the seats to fly off onto the floor. It does loose efficiency at slow speeds and that's probably why friction braking engages around 7 MPH.
  • questingsquestings Member Posts: 1
    I may buy a 2007 Prius, but think that, for most of my driving, I may average only 25-35mpg, instead of the 45-55mpg that would really please me. I live in a small San Francisco Bay Area town. Most trips have a one-way duration of only five to fifteen minutes, with five to ten stop signs or traffic signals. So I will be often driving with a cold engine. Please comment on the following questions and/or tell me where I might seek the answers. I am a very conservative driver and would tend to go easy on the gas peddle to maximize mileage performance.
    1. Is it true that a cold engine will get significantly poorer mileage? How much poorer? How long does it take to warm up? Let’s assume half my driving starts at 50 degrees F ambient temperature, half at 70 degrees F.
    2. The Prius would replace my 1998 Mercedes E320, which when new got 21mpg city, 29mpg hwy (perhaps less now, but let’s assume the same). The real apple-to-apple comparison would use the Mercedes’ cold mpg. Any idea what it is? It is the difference in performance that matters to me, not the absolute.

    I have two other rather technical questions.
    3. What is the most energy conserving way to stop? I am curious about the mechanism by which some of the car’s kinetic energy is converted to potential energy (battery charge) when decelerating to a stop. Does the use of the brake enhance the energy recovery over that which takes place when just coasting? Take two extreme cases, both decelerating from, say 40 mph to 5 mph. Case #1, the foot is removed from the gas peddle but the break is not touched. Case #2, the foot is removed from the gas peddle and the brake is immediately applied (of course stopping the car sooner). I am guessing case #2 is better. In my test driving I hear a low-pitched whining sound associated with use of the breaks, which perhaps is some kind of mechanical (gears?) change in the linkage of the drive shaft to the generator, causing it to spin faster than when just coasting, and thus pump more amps to the battery. Or what?
    4. Is there a slow rate of acceleration from full start below which there is no mpg gain? For example, might the ECVT transmission stay in low ranges, causing high engine rpm? For a Honda hybrid I think I read that it is best to get right up to speed. Thanks.
  • lutzfernandezlutzfernandez Member Posts: 7
    I've owned my 2006 Prius for almost three months. Most of my trips are to and from work, which is roughly 15 minutes on suburban roads. I am getting about 46-47 mpg on these and similar mpg on other short (5-10 min.) trips to run errands without altering how I drive, which is fairly conservative but not obsessive. Highway trips and longer trips I have been able to get above 50 mpg. I'm afraid I can't help you with your other questions.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    1. Yes. Most owners report 25 MPG or so cold, and 50 MPG warm. Takes 5 min or so to warm up at the temps you listed.

    2. The Mercedes will suffer poor mileage just as much as the Prius when cold. It's not the Hybrid technology that causes it, it's an inherent trait of internal combustion engines - they must use "choke mode" (rich fuel mixture) when cold and the oil produces more drag when cold as well.

    Many people think the Prius is some kind of electric vehicle. It is not. It uses gasoline (regular) for all its' energy. It uses the hybrid tech. to enhance the efficiency of the gas engine - both the operation of it and it allowed a more efficient type of engine to be used.

    3. Gentle use of the brakes is the most efficient way to stop. If you see a light change a block ahead, release the accelerator and coast to the light using the brakes only when you have to, and using them soon enough you do so gently. Remember, the conversion from kinetic energy to battery charge (chemical energy actually) is inefficient. Better than dumping it to heat in the brakes, but still inefficient - less than 50% I've read elsewhere. Coasting is the most efficient mode for the Prius - it shuts off the ICE (internal combustion engine) so no fuel is used.
    The noise you heard was probably the planetary gearing running MG2 (motor generator 2) to generate power and charge the battery. You may also hear the inverter though it runs at a few hundred kHz so it would be a sub-harmonic. It must convert the DC voltage from 500V back down to 240V for the battery and the other way when the battery power is used. The two MGs and the engine are always connected to the wheels via the planetary gearing. There is no shifting, gear changing etc. There is no clutch or torque converter.
    4. I don't think you can save much when starting out - it takes energy to accelerate all that mass. Just drive it like a regular car and you'll be fine. You may want to read some of the documents posted on the web on "pulse and glide" to gain a better understanding of how to get the most out of this car. Try Priuschat and Priusonline.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    In addition to pathstar1's fine summary here are a few additional nuances on the HSD system in the Prius.

    As he stated you are essentially still driving an ICE powered vehicle. This is why the short trip/cold weather effect is there. The ICe must warm up the fluids, the cabin and the catalytic converter for 5-10 min. during that time you are essentially driving a 1.5L ICE vehicle which will attain about 25-40 mpg. In comparison a 2.4L Camry might attain 18-24 mpg over the same course.

    The HSD system gains the most when warmed up fully since the ICE can turn down/shut down more often. Depending on your route and traffic you might be able to cruise all or in part in EV mode on a fully warmed up ICE. Typically if the ICE is at temp then when you let off the pedal while under 41 mph the ICE will shut off and you will coast using no fuel. If you let off the pedal at a speed higher than 41 mph then the ICE will go from ~1600 rpms to ~950 rpms - even while cruising at say 60-65 mph on the highway. That's a 40% savings in fuel everytime you can do it.

    Stopping and starting is horrendously inefficient in all vehicles.

    I used to commute into Manhattan in the 80-90's before hybrids were out. I just tried it again last week with my Prius taking the same route I used in the past. For those in the area..
    I95 S to ( 55-60 mpg / 45-50 mpg )
    the Bruckner Expressway ( 45-50 mph / ~50 mpg )
    Triborough Bridge to Manhattan ( 10-30 mph / 100+ mpg )
    FDR South to 71st ( 20-35 mph / 65-75 mpg )
    across town to 7th Ave ( 0 - 20 mph / 15-25 mpg )
    7th Ave S to 23rd St. ( 25 mph / 75-80 mpg )

    The extremes show that to attain the best FE slow ( even crawling ) progress is the most efficient. True while sitting at a light while going across town no fuel was burned but it was still very inefficient.

    Other factors that might affect your FE
    Wind ( with you ).. +5-10%
    Wind ( against/cross ).. -10-20%
    Rain/snow/Ice .. -15-25%
    Cold temps .. -10-15%
    High speeds ( > 70 ) .. -10-15%
    Terrain .. +/- 10%
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Grumpy Prius owner gets Ungrumpified

    When the AAA announced its first seminar for hybrid owners at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County, I jumped out of my chair. Sign me up. I had to know if there is something I can do about my ``poor'' mileage.

    So off I headed in the early hours Thursday morning, up Interstate 880 and I-80 to Highway 37. In the right lanes, easy on the gas pedal. Gliding when I could.

    Drat: 47.1 mpg.

    About 20 folks showed up for the two-hour morning session, a dozen Prius owners, two Highlander drivers, one Civic and one Camry owner. When AAA auto automotive manager Mark Woods asked how many got better than 50 miles to the gallon, only a couple of hands went up.

    Many, like me, had pored through the 440-page driver's manual to the point where the reading had given us major headaches.

    ``This is all I think about,'' said Charles Holmes, a chef from Glen Ellen who bought a Prius three months ago. ``I'm fixated on the screen in the car. At dinner, we talk about what kind of mileage we got that day. When I'm cooking, my mind wanders and I think about it.

    ``Do we ever get past this point?''
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247

    Many tips are common sense. Don't race at 80 mph. Windows up. Air conditioning off. Blah-blah-blah.

    Q: What about the peculiarities of a hybrid, which operate on both batteries and gas?

    A: My mistake: thinking the key is to always use the battery more than the gas engine. That can drain the battery and until it recharges through braking, you end up using the gas engine, sapping mileage.


    When starting from a dead stop, do it with zip. When accelerating while in motion, lightly apply your foot to the pedal and then take it off to put the car in gliding mode.

    Other advice: Stay out of the stop-and-go slow lane, where I usually camp.

    Check those tires every couple of weeks. Improperly inflated tires can really hurt the mileage.
  • mimiatamimiata Member Posts: 8
    Just picked up my 2007 Prius yesterday. During the orientation, the salesman said to use "B" when we are on the highway as it will help charge the battery.
    Everything I have thus far read, almost tells me "never" use "B" unless I am in a breaking or slowing mode..down a hill or getting off of a highway.
    Who is right, or did they redesign how the Prius works.
    Also, where can I find information on "how to drive the car most efficently.
    My trip to work entails a 3 mile stretch of a 35 mph zone with almost no traffic. A 4 mile stop and go stretch at 45 -50 mph, an 8 mile highway drive at about 65-70, and finally a 10 mile stop and go at about 40 mph.

    Can someone advise me slightly so I do not have to reinvent the wheel all over again...just make some modifications.

    Thanks a million!!
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    They really need to train their salesmen.

    "D" is basically drive. Use it all the time unless you are backing up, parking, or...

    using "B", which is enhanced "energy recovering braking" mode. Use it for descending long hills (think longer than a mile here). It engages regenerative braking and engine braking earlier than normal. The car will use regenerative braking (using the motor generators - MGs - to recharge the battery) until the battery reaches about 80% state of charge. The car will then use one MG to regenerate electricity and the other to spin the engine with no fuel to "waste energy" to keep your speed in control. If you apply the brake pedal in "B" I'm told the car will be more aggressive in regeneration as well. Firm application of the brake pedal (almost emergency stop) will activate the friction brakes in any "gear", and they will always activate around 7 MPH as you slow down with the brake pedal depressed. Most drivers notice this eventually as a slight lurch and some can hear it happen (window down).

    Never leave the car running in "N" for long periods of time - it doesn't charge the "traction battery" in neutral. Use "P". Use "N" in car washes (so the chain can pull the car safely).

    If you drive in "B" you will get poor mileage! Probably around 35 MPG, whereas under the same conditions in "D" you would expect at least 45 MPG.

    As for your commute, the 35 MPH zone can yield 50 MPG or higher (once you get the hang of maximizing mileage - this is the Prius maximum mileage zone). The highway drive should give around 40-45 MPG. If you are patient in the stop and go stretch at 45-50 (coast to the stops etc) you can get in the mid 40s there. If you are patient in the 40 MPH stop and go stretch you can get over 50 MPG. Mileage will be lower in the winter.

    As for instructional sites, http://john1701a.com/ is a good one. There are others - check Priuschat.

    Enjoy your very high tech car!
  • colourmixcolourmix Member Posts: 2
    Hello All,

    I couldn't find any previous posts that refer to this - please let me know if this has already been discussed.

    For the past week or so, my Prius (2007, pkg #4, approx 1500 miles on odo) always uses on the gas engine first when its been standing for a while. So for example when I leave for work in the morning, it always uses the gas engine only. When I reach the first stoplight and come to a standstill, the engine turns off (as expected). When I take off again, everything is fine (uses the electric motor to get going, and gas engine kicks in afterwards if necessary).

    Has anybody else seen this happen? I'm going to be calling Toyota about it this week anyway, but I would like to know if others have experienced it.

  • mrmellmrmell Member Posts: 11
    Am picking up my wife's 2007 Pkge#6 Touring, next Monday, 6/25. May sound silly, and I will find out from the Dealer, but wanted input as to type of gasoline folks out there are using, AND, does it matter as to premium vs. regular.
  • stevegoldstevegold Member Posts: 185
    I always use regular with no knocking or other problems.
    I normally get 45-50 mpg with no special driving techniques.
    I am not a fast driver so that helps. I keep the tires at 40front/38rear. That helps as well. All this talk is really silly unless you're in some sort of contest. It's a great design because you don't have to do anything special to get great results. Toyota really got it right and the 2008 will be even better with a turbo, better battery and some programming changes all to further improve performance, and mileage by about 10 mpg.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    The Prius will always "warm up" the engine a bit and the cat. converter fully when it is started. This can take as little as 30 sec of engine running, and as long as 5 min, depending on outside temp and engine temp.

    It's normal operating behavior.

    All "modern" cars "waste" gas to warm up the cat and engine. They are currently "tuned" or set up to produce more CO2 so as to produce less NOx, CO, and hydrocarbons. I don't think it was "designed" this way, it's just how it has worked out to reduce "harmful emissions". Once the US govt. is fully committed to reducing CO2, it may change somewhat. I'm not holding my breath. ;)
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "All "modern" cars "waste" gas to warm up the cat and engine. "

    Except that conventional ICE-only vehicles are running the engine all the time anyway, so the gas is not "wasted" in the sense that the ICE is running more frequently than necessary.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "May sound silly, and I will find out from the Dealer, but wanted input as to type of gasoline folks out there are using, AND, does it matter as to premium vs. regular."

    It is in the owner's manual, but in general engines of this size are not set up to run on premium fuel. Some of them actually CANNOT run on premium; other vehicles can adjust the timing to account for the richer fuel.
  • jana6jana6 Member Posts: 17
    I've had my 2007 Prius for about 1400 miles and am averaging about 47-48 mpg. The computer says so and the old fashion math calculation backs that up. I love watching the Energy Monitor screen (probably more than I should but!!!). It's fun playing with the gas peddle to see what is needed to get the best gas mileage and have been practicing with that a lot. Even with that, though, I'm still averaging the 47-48 mpg. I've read blogs where some say they are getting way over 60 mpg and use gliding a lot. How can that be unless you speed up over the speed limit and then coast? I'll be taking a 400+ trip next weekend and want to get the best mileage I can.

    Any suggestions besides those already mentioned in the previous messages?


  • stevegoldstevegold Member Posts: 185
    I live at 8,000 feet above sea level. When I drive "down" to Wal-Mart (50 miles, 5,500') at 55-60 mph I get over 65 mpg.
    On the return trip, I get 40-45 mpg. The round trip usually gets about 50 but when I fill up down there, the mileage computer resets before I start home. I always take the Prius, not the Hybrid Highlander which gets around half the mpg.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    Steve replied to my original statement "All "modern" cars "waste" gas to warm up the cat and engine. "

    "Except that conventional ICE-only vehicles are running the engine all the time anyway, so the gas is not "wasted" in the sense that the ICE is running more frequently than necessary."

    Actually, they still waste fuel. They run richer than they need to so extra fuel warms the cat. Been there, have done the measurements. ;)
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "Actually, they still waste fuel. They run richer than they need to so extra fuel warms the cat. Been there, have done the measurements."

    The question is, do they waste more fuel than a hybrid while warming up the engine? Seems to me they would both use the same fuel mixtures.
  • tekmar1tekmar1 Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased a new 2007 prius (pkg 2). Currently I have 459 miles and I have noticed that I am getting better MPG on the highway than on city streets. My mpg is not what I expected it to be. I am averaging about 35 to 40 mpg. No where near the 48 average.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    How much fuel is used while warming up depends on the individual vehicle. They adjust it to meet emissions requirements just before they start shipping the new cars.

    My 2001 Pathfinder used over 3 times as much fuel idling while warming up than when warm - even in the summer. Fuel use while driving is much harder to measure, as it changes constantly. Sorry, I don't have measurements on Fit or other small cars. Just the Prius.

    The Prius uses about 2 times as much fuel idling while warming up than you would see if it was warm, except it doesn't idle when warm very much. ;) So it appears to use an excessive amount of fuel when cold compared to warm. It may use just as much warming up as a non-hybrid, but as this only takes a few minutes, it's a non-issue. Except people get all concerned when they see the warm-up fuel effects. Just because of the extreme contrast once it's warm.

    A good way to measure this would be to take very short trips in a Prius on a tank of fuel, letting the car cool off between trips. From other owners reports, I suspect you would see fuel economy in the 40 MPG range, vs 50 MPG range if the trips were long. My Pathfinder got 13 MPG winter vs 18 MPG summer, in city driving, same trip lengths. So on a percentage basis, the Pathfinder did worse than a Prius, but there is no winter data here for the Prius. I just got my car and haven't experienced winter yet in it - no measurements. I'll comment on this next spring if you like, when I "have the facts". ;)
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    If you drive short trips it will kill your mileage. It takes the Prius about 4-5 min. to warm up. Once warm, it can take full advantage of the hybrid system to return good mileage. Keep in mind, 35-40 MPG is pretty good for a mid-sized non-hybrid car, and while warming up, that's what a Prius is.

    You will also have to drive a little differently. Always with safety in mind, from stops, accelerate normally, but when stopping, try to anticipate lights etc. and slow gradually, traffic permitting. This may allow you to not have to stop, and at the least will recover more energy through regenerative braking. Try to not slow down too much for turns, again, with safety in mind. Remember, while regenerative braking recovers energy normally lost, it is still only about 50% of the energy that can be re-used.

    Check your tire pressure. Try using a few PSI more than the door placard states. Many of us run in the 40 PSI range (I run 40 PSI front and 38 PSI rear). This helps with mileage as well.

    If you use "pulse and glide" you can get into the high 50s without much difficulty, but even in "normal" driving, you should see around 50 MPG once you learn to drive more efficiently. Do remember, the car is not yet "broken in". Mileage will improve once that happens. It takes five to ten thousand miles.

    I'm at 3000 mi or so and have an accumulated average of 48 MPG so far - all fuel put in vs distance traveled. I don't pulse and glide (except to see if I could). I drive conservatively. Like many cars, the Prius gets its' best mileage around 45-50 MPH. I often see 62 MPG while driving at 45 MPH. Of course the mileage on the tank will be less. So if you can find alternate routes with speeds in that area you will get better mileage.
  • matt1021matt1021 Member Posts: 1
    I am only averaging about 45 MPG on my Prius -- highway driving getting a bit more miles per gallon than city driving. The sticker on the car said I'd average 61 in the city and 51 on the highway. Is the sticker wrong or am I driving wrong?
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    That's not really LOW for a Prius. The generally accepted "real world average" for most Prius drivers is 48 MPG combined.

    That overstated EPA sticker number is based on a flawed and now replaced mileage test.

    There are many tips you can use to help improve what you are getting. Read those, and with a little effort you can increase your average.

    So please: be happy you are getting more than about 98% of the other drivers on the road. :)
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