wingdesigner
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Prius shakedown cruise

Drove to West Branch, MI last weekend, round trip about 300 miles. Not bad.
First tankful out of the dealership gave no better results than my beloved Corolla, 31 mpg. The "computer", however, said I got 47 mpg. OhhhKayyy...
The tankful I put in yielded 50 mpg with no change in my driving habits, and the "computer" backed me up. I have no explanation for the initial discrepancy.
The tankfuls to W. Branch and back yielded an impressive 56 mpg. My only worry was watching the bars go down on the hybrid battery readout whilst stuck in "get out of town" traffic Friday night. I ran on battery power for about 45 minutes as we inched along. Ran into another jam on the way home with same results. As soon as we broke free, the CE started to recharge the hyb. battery and within about 15 minutes or so we were back up to normal.
My only complaint is that the ride is stiffer/rougher than my Corolla; and it likes to follow every groove in the pavement, yielding some fighting in the steering. The steering is waaay more sensitive than the rack/pinion I had in the Corolla--drive-by-wire is more like a motorcycle in that where the eyes go the car goes! I liked the way the Corolla "cornered on rails" as it were; I don't get the same impression with the Prius. It handles well, and is nimble enough, but just doesn't "feel" the same.
My normal commute is mostly highway except for the first and last two miles. My next tank I'll take surface streets and see what happens. According to all sources (Weathergirls!), my mpg should go up as the hybrid system was engineered to get better mileage in the city than on the highway. Now, my highway miles are all in the city, with corresponding stopNgo during "rush hour" (what a misnomer THAT is); so we'll see if there is any difference. More later. Apologies to those that use metric--you'll have to do your own calculations. I'm allergic to math.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

cynthia_h
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This is Cynthia's husband Bill responding, as I drive the Prius the most. It is quite possible that you left the dealership without a full tank of gas, as the dealership may have tested it out before giving it to you. The Prius only computes the average mpg for the time you drive it since it was last reset. The dealership would have reset the Prius miles counter when they gave it to you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can slowly lose some gas to evaporation, which the Prius does not count. It computes your current mpg as you drive and then averages those readings over your current trip (since the last time you reset the miles counter).

We, and many others, found the initial claims by Toyota (50 mpg freeway and 60 mpg city) to be overly optimistic. Consumer Reports now gives an average of 46 mpg for the Prius. We have found that we get better mileage at constant level moderate freeway speeds, say 65 mph, taking advantage of all slight hills to coast when possible. Cynthia has such a drive to one client (70 miles round trip) and she often exceeds 50 mpg when traffic allows. I have a 120-mile round trip to work over a number of steep hills and ridges and I get more like 42-45 mpg, depending on how fast I drive that day.

Mileage in town is about the same, or lower, and certainly not the 10 mpg higher that Toytota initially claimed. Even so, the Prius is clearly the mileage leader. It is rapidly paying itself off with the higher gas prices.

As to the ride, both of us enjoy the power, maneuverability, and handling. It's very zippy and fun, says Cynthia.

(end of Bill's explanation)

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

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hendi_alex
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My wife and I currently drive an Infinity that gets about 23-24 mpg with mostly open road driving. We will definitely change to some auto that gets over 30 mpg with our next purchase.

It seems to me that the hybrids, are much more hype than substance when it come to energy consumption. Sure they get better gas mileage, but how does the energy of production compare to the energy of production of a similar sized car, say a carolla for example? How does the amount of pollution from the mining, production, through eventual recycling (of the massive batter pack) compare to the standard gasoline auto? Finally, when calculating energy savings through the life of the car, what will be the impact when those batteries age and have to be replaced? I'm glad to see hybrid technology being developed and supported. It is good to see the creative juices flowing as private business tries to develop alternative solutions to energy/transportation issues. But for now, I would think that a high MPG conventional auto may very well have much less overall energy use as compared to a hybrid. Consequently I'll be looking for a small, well made conventional gasoline auto, in the $30-32K range thant gets something over 30 MPG. Right now the small Lexus sedan would rank high along those lines, but am hoping that between now and our car replacement date, many new semi luxury high gas mileage choices appear.

I do find it very frustrating, that the wife and I love our G35. This is our 2nd one and would likely buy a third if it were not for the gas mileage issue. Strange thing, is this horsepower war that auto manufacturers have been engaged in. I've watched the G35 go from 260 hp in our 2003 model to 280 hp in the our 2005, and now up well over 300 hp with current models. This car would have more than adequate power with a 200 hp engine, and with that could likely get 30-32 mpg. Hope they start moving in that direction in the next couple of years and hope others in the lower end luxury class begin to do the same. Currently outside of the Corallas and Civics there are not many choices for 30+ mpg autos, especially for someone interested in a step up in luxury from these very basic models.

wingdesigner
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I still miss my Corolla. It was an '01, and averaged 30 mpg with my leadfoot, combined highway/city street driving. I suppose it would creep up to 31 or 32 as I was starting to change my ways before I sold it. But I can't argue w/my own tankfuls! Yes, I believe I had less than a full tank even though I had all my bars (marbles are another thing); between that and a break-in period, I believe contributed to the lower than expected initial readout. What really tickles me is "stealth mode". 8) I can't help but grin! :D Did I mention I snuck up on a cop the other day and really startled him? Didn't mean to, but at least I didn't get a ticket, either for annoying a police officer (A.A.P.O.) or something. Our trip to VA has been postponed to later in the year, so long-distance mpg calcs will have to wait, I guess. Next tankful will be surface streets only, to see if there's any difference. I also want to get the alignment checked, just in case. Debating whether or not to join the hypermiling gang or just sit smug w/my own results.
Bill, how much evap over a two-week period, say? Is it really enough to affect mileage more than a tenth or so? I'm still learning how to fill up w/o spillage, because of the need to burp the bladder, so to speak. (I can hear you all going "ewww") Getting better, but still hate wasting that last cupful.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

cynthia_h
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Bill replies:

I tend to accept the pump nozzle automatic cutoff and not try to top it off, as that is too likely to overfill.

Evaporation is a slow loss and is a function of time and temperature. If you drive a lot in cool weather and fill the tank weekly, then you likely are not losing much. Try computing your mileage the old way, by keeping a gas log and adding up your miles driven and dividing by gas added to refill the tank. Then compare that to the average the Prius calculates, which will likely be slightly higher. The difference is usually due to evaporation.

Be sure to check the tire pressure from time to time, as that can affect your mileage.

It will be interesting to see what your in-town mileage is like. Since I commute 120 miles round trip freeway, I almost never use up a tank doing only in-town driving.

wingdesigner
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I keep a double log, one for the 'puter and one the "old" way, same book for about 4 cars now. Interesting (depressing) record of gas prices over the years.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

Toms92gp
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Location: Louisburg, NC zone 7b

Sad part is you can get a Geo Metro from the early 90's and get almost the same gas milage as Prius (the 3cyl ones would average around 50mpg on the highway). The last great improvement to Gas milage was Sequential Fuel Injection and the Over drive transmission. Not to mention batteries have a very limited life span. Even the best ones rarely make it to 10 years old. I would consider one if I got new cars every five years and did alot of driving. Some of the Early prius owners have already had to replace the packs. I think the technology is cool, but I also think they could do better. If it was 100mpg I would seriously consider Selling my truck or my car to get one. I don't drive alot so its not for me I guess. At most I drive 150 miles a week, and some weeks I barely drive 100 miles. If I want Gas milage, I'm getting a Motorcycle. Even the big boys with 1200cc motors will run down the 1/4mile in 11-12sec and still get 50 or more mpg.

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JennyC
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All of this is remnding me why I'm currently waiting to get my '89 Honda Civic out of the shop again and pay for another head gasket. 41 mpg is not something you can get from a modern nonhybrid (at least not one sold in America). And I can't afford a hybrid (plus live in foothills), but I can afford an $800 head gasket.

We're also keeping our eyes open for a Festiva for sale. There are several around here, and my dad got 50+ mpg in his.

Also may be getting serious about biodiesel. My husband's going to be teaching his students to make it at school; some practice, and maybe we can fuel one or both of our diesel trucks (and the 86 Isuzu Trooper diesel gets 28 mpg -- not bad for 4-wheel drive SUV).

At least I'm not averse to driving clunkers with manual transmissions. :)
Jenny C

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smokensqueal
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What happened to GM's EV1 [url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1[/url] It's kind of a joke that the technology has been out there for years but have yet to see some thing from the car companies. People are converting regular cars over to all electric successfully so why can't a company that is paying engineers to come up with something? I'm getting 36mpg from my standard little Ford ZX2 so I can't justify the price difference of one of these hybrids since they don't get that much of a difference in mpgs. If time and money ever allow me I'm going to build a S-10 or Ranger as all electric and attach solar pannels to the back so the charge will be next to nothing. If these colleges can run cars completly on solar pannels I can't see why we can have them on normal cars to charge the batteries as they sit in the parking lots.

petalfuzz
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As far as I know, all the EV1s were on lease-basis only. When the lease expired, every last EV1 was put in the crusher. Every one. Not even one left for a car museum.

Yes, it's those durned powerful engines that are the gas culprits. I bought the Scion xD and it replaced the xA. Came with a bigger engine and less mpg, unfortunately. But I'm getting around 30 mpg now that it's close to being broken in.

I believe those old Geo Metros were only 3 cylinders instead of 4+ so that's one reason it gets such great mileage.

My DH drives a manual Yaris and gets 40 mpg consistently, and even higher on the highways. Definitely not interested in a hybrid. But an electric car? Heck, yeah!

Makes me sad that the Smart car wasn't electric. It sure looks like it should be--and that thing only gets in the high 30s for mpg from what I've heard.



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