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    AJP Junior Member

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    I'm considering buying a used Gen II Prius. In my introduction thread the topic of short commutes came up. I commute about 6 miles to school every day. In two years I'll be done with that but still intend on driving my car locally.

    I did some searching here and on Google and most people who have short commutes are worried about their gas mileage. As long as the gas mileage is still substantial (doesn't drop below, say, 18mp, which I seriously doubt it would based on what I've read about Prii) I don't really mind that I'm not getting a super high MPG.

    What I would be worried about is engine/battery wear. Yes, I know that short commutes are rough on any car. But I don't want to go to a dealership with a dead battery in three years and have the mechanic tell me "you moron, no wonder it's dead, you only drove it for 7 miles at a time."

    Here's a quote pulled from another site:


    So, is this a legitimate concern? I like the Prius - I like that it's green, it's modern, it's popular, it seems to be comfortable and reliable, and most people who own them seem to be madly in love with them. So if I'm told that short commutes won't damage the car (remember, we're not taking mileage into account here) then it sounds like it might still be a top contender for me.

    Advice?
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    Michgal007 Senior Member

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    I wonder, if short commutes are bad for the Prius (non mileage-wise), why wouldn't it be bad for any other car? I am curious.

    I think you will get close to 30-35 mpg in warm weather with a 7 mile commute in a Prius. That would still be better than any other car doing the same commute. :)
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    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Don't worry about the car. It will take care of itself. People freak out when it comes to hybrid technology and they don't need too. Just drive the car knowing you are getting the best mpg and polluting less than any other vehicle you could have bought. Allow cars get worse gas mileage during the warm up phase and all cars have to be run to keep the battery charged. If you're worried about short trips, mpg, and the 12v battery then keep reading the forum and learn tips on how to reduce the impact of short trips. :)

    You will not harm the car or the hybrid battery by driving short trips. It's a pretty smart car.
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    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I had a 5 mile commute all the time having my other Prius. No sweat, as long as your driving it regularly. It might not be good to let the car sit for 3 weeks at a time, but you're not going to do that.
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    wick1ert Senior Member

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    You *should* still be able to pull MPGs in the mid-40s on your regular commute, unless you use the A/C or Heater pretty heavily or have a steep change in altitude to climb. My daily commute is shorter than yours and I have 8 or 9 traffic lights to stop at just after getting up to speed, and I still manage upper 40s/low 50s during summer and usually low 40s during winter here. I do run snow tires in winter, so I also take a little hit in that regard too. As for it being bad for the car, I wouldn't worry about it.
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    You have a 3rd gen whereas the OP is considering a 2nd gen.

    I don't know what area she lives in but if the weather is cold and the drives are short city drive esp. w/lots of stop/go, she might have trouble breaking 40 mpg. I'm unclear if each leg of the trip to school is 6 miles or 3. If it's 3 miles, mileage could be as bad as ~25 to low 30s mpg if driving techniques, tire pressure, heater use, etc. are poor along w/suboptimal terrain. Some of this is fixable and can be mitigated with grille blocking (cheap) and an engine block heater (more expensive).
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    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator

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    Yes, this is Priuschat.
    Yes, most of us drive a Prius.
    Yes, we like talking to people about the Prius.

    No, I don't think a Prius is right for you. A six mile commute? Get yourself a Volt or Leaf.
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    Paradox Prius Enthusiast / Moderator

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    Or a Prius Plug-in next year... If you do 6 miles one way (or better yet 6 miles round trip) its 15 mile EV range would suit you perfectly.

    If you're looking into a Gen II because of cost then a Plug-in prius, Volt or Leaf would not be for you since all would be considerable more than a used Gen II.

    And I do have to agree with Tony... A 'regular' Prius (any generation) would not be good for someone who would really only be using it for 6 mile trips to work...
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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    But in her intro thread, she said can't afford a new Prius, so she's looking at 06-09 Priuses. Given that, a Leaf, Volt or PiP would seem even more unaffordable.

    More info for the OP re: mileage. These are CR's test results, not EPA "estimates":
    http://web.archive.org/web/20081231...-advice/most-fuelefficient-cars-206/index.htm (2nd gen results)
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...t-and-worst-fuel-economy.htm?loginMethod=auto (is current so it has 3rd gen Prius and other current cars)
    http://www.consumersunion.org/Oct_CR_Fuel_Economy.pdf - last page describes CR's tests

    BTW, as I've stated many times before. I HATE driving non-hybrids in city traffic, stop and go and while stopped at stoplights. It drives me nuts that the ICE is always idling uselessly while stopped and unnecessarily burning up fuel. It drives me nuts that when I use that brakes a conventional car that I know all the car's kinetic energy is lost as useless heat and brake dust vs. some if it being captured and being repurposed for later use.
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    Paradox Prius Enthusiast / Moderator

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    Which is why I also said:

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    cwerdna Senior Member

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    ^^
    Whoops, either I missed it or you (ninja?) edited while I was typing my reply.

    I thought I only saw the two lines that I quoted. :redface:
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    wick1ert Senior Member

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    I interpret "6 miles to school" being 6 miles each way.

    If it's 3 miles each way, then MPG is going to be quite bad no matter what. In that case, I would honestly recommend a regular car, such as a corolla that's 5-8 years old. Something along those lines, as it's such a short commute it doesn't make financial sense to go for a Prius.

    She also mentioned in her intro thread, that she realizes MPG vary with conditions, but didn't mention what those driving conditions might be. So, yes, what I get in my car on my drive may not be applicable, but with such a short drive, it should give a relatively close idea. Upper 40s in a Gen 3 should make low-mid 40s in a Gen 2, given what my commute entails.
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    ken1784 SuperMID designer

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    It is only true on a conventional vehicle, because it consumes a lot of battery energy by engine starter.
    Prius does not use an engine starter, therefore the story is not applicable to Prius.

    Ken@Japan
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    ursle Gas miser

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    The sooner you grab a prius the sooner you'll get a full time smile on your face.
    Any car is going to die...
    Any motor is going to have a hard time with a 3 mile journey (not enough heat to burn off the condensation in the muffler)
    But a prius isn't going to spew gobs of bad gasses into the air I breath, (you to)
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    xs650 Senior Member

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    It's not even true of a conventional vehicle these days unless you need to grind on the starter for a long time to start the car.
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    ken1784 SuperMID designer

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    I still believe a recent conventional vehicle consumes more 12V battery energy than Prius to start engine..

    Ken@Japan
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    AJP Junior Member

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    Wow, lots of discussion going on here! My trip is 6 miles both way. My max price is about $15-16k but I find that there are some decent Gen II Prii for sale by owner for less if you look hard enough. I live in suburban central PA on a pretty flat plane. Some cold and snow in the winter but our winter precip. averages about 3 serious snowfalls per winter with temps not much lower than 25-30 degrees on the worst of days. Summer temps average about 75 mid-summer. So nothing too drastic - no huge hills (or mountains), no extreme weather conditions, no inner-city driving.

    I'm still considering a Honda Fit or a Toyota Matrix, which are probably considered better "commuter" cars than the Prius, but I also want:

    1) A car that is comfortable, which the Fit is not particularly (very important for me with chronic pain issues).

    2) A car that is quality enough to last a long time and is not "cheaply made". As nice as the Fit is, its interior leaves a lot to be desired and I've heard reports of obnoxious road noise and loose dashboard rattles.

    The Prius seems to beat out the other two in these regards, although I haven't seen a Matrix in person yet. Hence my questions about the Prius, as it is my forerunner. :)

    Thank you all for your help, I will keep everything that has been said in mind! Feel free to continue to discuss if necessary. ;)
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    xs650 Senior Member

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    True, but it's still not enough to be a problem. It's usually only for a couple of seconds and runs about 150 amps +/- a bunch. A small car engine would normally be on the low side of that.

    150 amp x 2 seconds = 300 amp seconds.

    Assuming an average speed of 30 mph for 2 miles, that's 240 seconds, or 300 amp seconds/240 seconds = 1.25 amps average for 2 miles required to recharge the battery. If we are generous and double that for battery inefficiencies, maybe 2.5 amps.

    There are people who drive their cars a few blocks at a time and don't have battery problems. Their engines are subject to extra sludge and other deposits, but no battery problems if the electrical system is in good shape.
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    AJP Junior Member

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    Realized I meant to say "6 miles each way". So 12 miles round trip. ;)
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    LDPosse Junior Member

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    LadyJ -

    I also live in central pa (hummelstown/hershey area), and I've had my 07 prius for almost a year. My commute to work is 4 miles each way. My average mpg, over the course of 44 fill ups (15881 miles), is 41.75 mpg.

    I like to run the heat in the winter, and I run the a/c full blast in the summer. I have tried to hypermile a few times, but I generally just 'get in and drive' like I would any other car.

    I would consider the Prius to be one of the best commuter cars out there, ESPECIALLY for short trip driving.
    1 people like this.

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