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Tips & tricks for the “normal†driver to achieve satisfying fuel efficiency on the Prius Gen 3

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Fuel Economy' started by pakitt, Feb 27, 2011.

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  1. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    After longer than I expected I finished a new article on my blog that might be of interest to PC readers, especially newbies. You can find it here.
    Comments and corrections for errors, are welcome.
    Please bear in mind that the post is intended for people who do not want to worry too much about P&G and the such, but rather simply drive the car from A to B.
    7 people like this.
  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    My experience of drivers demanding they be allowed to drive "normally" means they do not want to change any personal habits. What is there to discuss ?
  3. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    SageBrush, my blog article is not about driving "normally", is about "normal" people who didn't buy a car to P&G and resort to overinflating tires and block grills to get FE improvements. Moreover, those who want to drive "normally" and don't want to change their habits, will not read my article or dismiss it - clearly you need to be an open minded driver to accept any, if all, of the tips I mention.
    How would you title the blog post then? Did you read it?
  4. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    Essentially, yours is an article about how to drive ANY car more efficiently (and more safely by the way).

    BTW, you wrote, 'The Prius is pure smoothness, pluse & glide, in my opinion beats the whole purpose of it", when I think you meant "The Prius is pure smoothness, so pluse & glide, in my opinion ...defeats the whole purpose of it".
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  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Your revolver map is quite funny. Someone visited your site from Siberia?? There's also a dot over Tromso and I'm gonna guess the dots over Anchorage are from PC members =).
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Thanks for another article! For no. 6, I think you meant to say "keep up with the flow of traffic"?? Also, replace "none of your matter" with "not of any concern" or "not important"
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  7. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    Thanks for the proposed corrections (applied) - a lack of punctuation also was the problem.
    I agree with your statement, as I also mentioned at the end of the article, though a few tips are truly Prius spefic. Those who buy a Prius sometimes, as I read in the PC posts, are somewhat annoyed they don't get the FE they expect, and then after applying the hints and suggestions from more experienced PC drivers, they very soon head towards the FE they dreamed of before getting the car...this is also why I wrote the article. A one-stop-shop for anybody getting a new Prius, to remind them how to get FE on the Prius, and on any car out there whever applicable...




    Thanks here as well for the corrections (changed already). For no. 6 I meant (I added a note for this) the flow as descrived in point 2. Because for me it is first and foremost important to keep the Prius flowing as smoothly as possible - then, it is important to keep the flow within the traffic flow. So to answer your question, yes and no...
  8. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Great article! This should be posted on Yahoo news instead of the crap they usually make us read.
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  9. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    Here's a trick that doesn't require any expert skills or techniques at all.

    If you are early to work, perhaps due to less traffic, take 1 exit earlier than normal and travel on surface streets. You have the time, so enjoy the slower speeds on the surface streets! They aren't paying you to get to work early, so save some money on gas :). The car is already nicely warmed, so this lets you drive at slower speeds without having the ICE on as much. Since you are almost to your destination, it doesn't matter that the ICE is cooling down. Since you incurred a warm-up penalty at the start, take advantage of this cool-down period.

    This is a great way to cancel out a higher speed, lower MPG journey on freeways that resulted in you getting there faster in the first place.

    This is analogous to P&G, but instead of using speed, you are using time.
  10. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Well, I think he meant Pulse..not Pluse...but I don't own a hybrid.
  11. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a very good and well written article full of great tips. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    In a similar vein, if you are interested, I stumbled across a video on Google Videos of a really handsome, intelligent and well-spoken young man providing similar tips and tricks to a crowd at Hybridfest. Quite possibly one of the best videos ever to grace the internet. Tony Schaefer, Top Five Tips For Better Mileage, From Hybrids to Hummers

    All joking aside, if you want to link to it, you can. I think your and my items are extremely closely related.
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  12. krelborne

    krelborne New Member

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    In general, I find route experimentation useful. I have different routes that I can take to work, and each route has its pros and cons that mostly depend on the time of day. I have found that the "on paper, slower by ten minutes" route is, in practice, about the same time as the other routes when there is little traffic. This is mostly because my usual route is popular (longer lights and more traffic). The allegedly slower route gets much better MPGs, so I generally take that one to work these days.
  13. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    I leave the decision on which route to take to work my Tomtom Go Live 1000 :)
    Actually one tip I forgot to write is - get a Navigation device fitted with "live" services like HD Traffic from Tomtom - one of the best ways to save fuel.
    Unfortunately I don't think it is yet available in the US using mobile phone positions, but this page from Tomtom hints to something very similar. It uses the position of mobile phones and their travel times through mobile network cells. A white paper about it here.
  14. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    If we manage to get a Wiki, then my articles will not be needed anymore... ;)
    I have linked your video - the audio is not that good unfortunately but for those who do not want to read, the video is another way to get the message across... :)
  15. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    Here's another tip that will help greatly and is not that obvious:

    In most conventional vehicles, they say to start driving the car and avoid letting it idle to warm up when first starting the vehicle.

    However, in the Prius, it is good to let the car warm up for 30-seconds to a minute. Especially if you have an uphill climb, or have to turn out into a main road quickly, or it is cold. If you have a downhill, or terrain is flat and speeds are slow, you can skip this.

    The reason is while the Prius is warming up, it can not provide torque to move the vehicle, nor can it generate (much) electricity.

    In the first minute or so, the Prius relies only on battery power. Running on battery power is actually very inefficient. When the ICE warms up, it can start generating electricity or providing a motive force to the wheels. So you are no longer drawing as many amps from the battery.

    Overall, this will lessen the warm-up penalty and increase your MPG over your trip. It's less satisfying in the beginning because MPGs will average lower. But at the end of the day it's better.

    Also, perhaps as significant, it may help to increase the longevity and condition of your vehicle.

    Also, if you are starting a long trip, don't start in EV mode. Just let the car warm up in ECO mode. The ICE has to warm up sooner or later. In the case of starting a long trip, sooner is better.
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  16. andino

    andino Active Member

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    I notice that when I'm lazy, I can just drive at 48-52 mph and the can can easily achive into the 60-70mpgs. I think that's somewhere around where SHM is though
  17. Son of Gloin

    Son of Gloin Member

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    It seems to me that the bulk of your article is very well written and thought out ... I may have to send the link to my sister who lives near Wichita, KS; she just traded in a 1998 Saturn with 150K miles on it for a 2010 Prius with about 11K. There was, however, one "tip" you included that, to be rather frank and quite honest, rather surprised and upset me. I refer to the following:

    Park lights, instead of headlights: if you can, keep only the park lights on (since DRL are not available, at least on the Prius sold in EU), instead of the headlights on the whole time; using headlights the whole trip will also be drain on the HV battery; BUT safety first.

    The use / inclusion of DRL -- which I take to stand for "Daylight Running Lights"; am I right? -- in vehicles AND the driving of vehicles with only parking lights on are -- or can be -- at times rather misleading to other drivers at the least, and could be downright dangerous at worst. In the strictest sense of driving "etiquette", parking lights ONLY should be used ONLY when parked! Since one of the fundamental premises of your entire article is "Safety First" -- indeed ... you END the above tip with that reminder! -- I would think this particular suggestion might be left out.

    All-in-all, though ... I find this to be a GREAT ARTICLE; thanks for sharing it with us!
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  18. pakitt

    pakitt Active Member

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    Hi Son of Gloin!
    Thanks for your comments and let me explain what I meant. In EU the use of lights is not the same as in the US, I think - hence the misunderstanding - if I figure out what you mean, I can edit the article to make it more clear.

    All cars in EU have "position lights"; if these are called in the US "park lights" - I don't know anymore, based on your comment - I think I have made a wrong translation... :(.
    Position lights are the lights within the headlight optical group positioned to the front. For the back the LEDs will be turned on on a "low" setting. There are no lights on the sides - EU cars have no side markers.

    The next step in light intensity is DRL - Daytime Running Lights, which are compulsory starting 02.2011 in all EU on all new EU approved cars - since the Prius 3 was certified for EU roads before this date, it will not get DRL as is. Unless Toyota changes it's mind in the future. All cars that get the OK for EU roads after 02.2011 must have DRLs. Please note that I said "OK for EU roads" and not "being sold". Cars sold after 02.2011 can still not have DRLs if the car was approved for EU roads before this date. DRLs are at the front and are dimmer than headlights, but more powerful than "position lights" - typically now are always done with white LEDs, but there is no regulation in the EU about what type of light is used, I think the regulation talks only of intensity and light spread/position.

    Then you have headlights - to be used at night or in bad lighting situation (tunnels, heavy rain/fog, etc.).

    The last step are flash lights, to be used only when no cars are approaching in the opposite direction and no car is preceding me on the same lane/direction), to illuminate to the max the road in front of you (typically I use them on country roads, traffic permitting).

    Some EU countries, like Nordic countries, have since years, the regulation that headlights need to be on at all times. When headlights are on, position lights are also on, on all EU sold cars.

    There are also fog lights, but these need to be used exclusively with fog or heavy rain in no-traffic roads, since they are stronger and have a different beam orientation as the DRLs.

    On the Prius I can choose therefore during normal driving to have either all lights off, or keep the position lights on, or the headlights + position lights.
    Depending on the ambient light conditions, one can keep the lights off, or keep the position lights on, for extra visibility to other drivers/pedestrians, etc. On cars with DRLs, these will be always on; headlights will need to be used only during the night, in tunnels (especially if not lit), or in cases visibility is not optimal.
    So, in my case, I can use position lights, instead of headlights, if the visibility conditions are good.
    E.g. If I have a car accident during the day and my lights are off and the visibility conditions were normal, I will not be fined or considered guilty because I did not have my headlights turned on.

    So, I tend to keep the parking/position lights turned on, during the day in city traffic, since I don't have DRLs, and I think it is better than no lights at all. But I will keep the headlights turned off to save energy, since I am also not compelled to do that by law/regulation.
    If the conditions are not optimal, I need to turn on the headlights in any case.

    Those with DRLs simply have no option, since DRLs are on always in any case.

    I hope this clarification helps. If that is the case, then I need to understand how my text is not clear or misleading so that I can rephrase it. Please let me know.
  19. giora

    giora Active Member

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    Thanks for the write-up.
    I would probably add (to point 2?):
    If you predict you will have to use the brakes - use them early for max regeneration (more chances that the charging area of the HSD is only partially filled).

    Giora.
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  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Pakitt, based on your description, position lights are what we call parking lights, yes.

    In NA, there's no rule as to what the manufacturer can use as DRLs. These are the versions that I've seen

    1. Reduced intensity high beam - This is the most popular but requires a dual-lamp setup. The high beams are used as DRLs and are illuminated at reduced intensity (somewhere between 60-80% of full power is ok). The idea is that the lights are rarely used anyway (except on dark country or mountainous roads with light traffic and no street lighting).

    1a. A subset of the above is for single-lamp setup such as the 1st and 2nd generation Prius. These will use the low beams as DRLs. The rear lights are not illuminated and they may or may not be at reduced intensity (since they're low beams and are aimed down so intensity doesn't affect oncoming traffic)

    2. Indicators. Some vehicle with indicators in their bumpers (like the 4Runner) may use them as DRLs. They cover is amber and not clear (like it is on the 3rd Gen Prius) and are usually brighter than standard indicators. I like these since they can be bright but not blinding to oncoming traffic

    3. Fog/driving lights. A few manufacturers will use the fog/driving lights as DRLs. They're most likely driving lights if they are used since fogs would have a better beam spread than those lights.

    4. Dedicated DRL light - Some vehicles have a bulb dedicated to DRLs (the Acura MDX comes to mind). They're designed into the vehicle and are on only for DRLs and are not used for any other purpose.

    5. Full headlight - Some manufacturers (most notably European ones) will use the equivalent of the headlight position on the light switch as DRLs. This means your low/dipped beams as well as parking/position and taillights are all on.
    1 person likes this.
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