Corolla vs. Prius MPG: 4 yrs of data - short trips

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by A Prime Factor, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. A Prime Factor

    A Prime Factor Formerly "I want my PHEV"

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    After two years of Prius ownership, and tracking mileage from every tank, I can now compare to my previous car, a Corolla, for which I also have two years of mileage data.

    First some background. I live and work in a small city, and so my trips tend to be rather short. All trips over 12 miles are out-of-town trips for me. I do take some longer highway trips from time to time, and those do account for many of my miles driven, but there are many more short trips. If I had to guess my average trip length, I'd say 3 miles.

    I live in Wisconsin. We have long, cold winters. I live on a big hill. All these adverse conditions existed throughout both the Corolla and Prius ownership periods.

    Corolla mileage was calculated with gas pump and odometer. Prius mileage is gas pump and odometer for overall, since MFD got reset between fill-ups sometimes, but MFD for individual tank data, since the amount the tank will hold varies a lot. Corolla was in good mechanical condition, except as noted below. Prius was brand new.

    1994 Corolla
    1/13/2006 - 1/2/2008
    Overall average 25.8 MPG
    Minimum 18.7 MPG
    Maximum 40.1 MPG

    2008 Prius
    1/18/2008 - 1/11/2010
    Overall average 41.7 (41.2 first year, 42.3 second year)
    Minimum 31 MPG
    Maximum 57.1 MPG

    Note that the Prius' worst tank beats the Corolla's average, and that the Corolla's maximum is under the Prius' overall average. The Corolla's low minimum came at a time when the thermostat was faulty, and often ran cold even when it shouldn't have. Normally, I could get at least 21 MPG.

    Those high tanks are of course from long highway trips taken in the summer time.

    So, as we know, short trips hurt mileage, but the Prius can still beat what would otherwise be considered an economy car. Even in the cold winter.
     
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  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Good data.
    EBH use ?
     
  3. PriusRos

    PriusRos A Fairly Senior Member - 2016 Prius Owner

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    I think you are one of the few people who have tracked your previous car's gas mileage as well as your Prius's. There are probably many people out there who are disappointed with their Prius's mileage (especially in cold climates) because they were expecting a lot more -- but they didn't really have anything to compare with because they didn't keep track of their other cars' mileage.
     
  4. A Prime Factor

    A Prime Factor Formerly "I want my PHEV"

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    Over the last six months, my FE improvement program has consisted of:
    Installed ScanGauge
    Added engine block heater
    Blocked lower grill
    Took driving lesson from Wayne Gerdes

    Exactly! That's why I posted this. Maybe next time someone comes along with that complaint, we can point them to this thread and say, "So, where's your data?"

    I firmly believe everyone should track their mileage no matter what they drive. After moving closer to work, my already short trips got even shorter. I only noticed when I got fewer miles on a tank. Then I started tracking, and then struggled with the deteriorating thermostat. Knowing what it normally is, and noticing if that changes, can help you spot problems.
     
  5. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    My previous car was a 1.6L Ford Focus. Very average for Britain - for a long time the Focus was the top-selling car (1998-2008 I think) and the 1.6 petrol the most common variant. I picked up a habit from my parents of recording every tank of fuel: date, mileage, amount purchased, price paid, and I've now done it for 7.5 years.

    We don't have a bladder in the fuel tank, so most fill-ups have been consistent. Occasionally there's a vapour lock or badly-adjusted pump that cuts out too early or too late.

    All figures in miles per imperial gallon (about 1.2 US gallons):

    Focus, 8/2002 - 3/2008: average 37.9, lowest 34.9, highest 43.1
    (I have excluded very short fills, which happened a lot in the rapid price rises of late 2007/early 2008 as I tried to catch dips in the price ramp.)

    Prius, 3/2008 - 3 Jan 2010: average 56.5, lowest 49.0 (been very cold these last few weeks), highest 63.9. Excluded one short fill that gave a 71.3mpg result. Since I reset it last March the MFD now shows 60.5, but I calculate 58.1 for the same period.

    I haven't taken any extra steps to improve mileage beyond inflating the tyres to 40psi front, 38 rear. I did think about grille-blocking in the last few weeks but mostly I worked from home, with snow on the ground.

    On average I seem to be using one-third less fuel. That's pretty good in my book.
     
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  6. DetPrius

    DetPrius Active Member

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    All right, you you guys got me curious. I owned an 88 CRX Si for 20.5 years, from birth to death, and tracked mileage from day one as I have for every car I have ever owned.:D

    Original EPA numbers (I still have the original papers including window sticker): 29/36.
    Lifetime MPG: 39.9
    Number of fillups: 1087
    Average gallons/fillup: 9.01
    Tank size: 11.9 (same as my 2010 Prius)
     
  7. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    My 99 Corolla has consistently averaged 30-32 mpg in largely interstate commuting and road trips. Most of the tanks outside that range have been operator-error anomalies--e.g., where I underfilled my tank, so the previous tank appeared to have better than real mileage.

    My 2010 Gen III Prius II is thus far averaging about 43 mpg, again mostly in highway use. However, I got it in November, and thus have been mostly been driving in cool to cold weather, so I'm not ready to declare this an accurate overall number.

    However, as it stands now, the difference between EPA Hwy estimates and my actual mileage is bigger, in percentage terms, for the Prius, which is particularly disappointing because the EPA testing procedures appear to have improved since then. I do drive relatively fast on interstates--most of where I drive has a speed limit of 70 and traffic flow of about 74, which may explain why both cars underperform the estimates. So far I have not become a slow driver.


    So, it seems like I averaged about 3 mpg less than the EPA highway average in my Corolla, and 5 MPG less
     
  8. CharlesJ

    CharlesJ Member

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    I had a 1982 Audi 4 cyl diesel. The seats fit my but perfectly;):D and had an average for 200K of right around 40 at least; should have remembered my logbook better or even kept it:eek: Very easy to work on except the fuel control system. It was getting old though and didn't want to invest too much for upkeep. I like my Prius:D Modern stuff inside;):D and so far better FE.
     
  9. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    My previous car was a manual '96 Honda Civic, mostly used to drive the 15 miles to work. MPG was remarkably constant around 38 - 40. I average 60 mpg in the Prius, but driving patterns are different, with more city driving.

    All in all, most drivers report that the EPA ratios hold up across cars
     
  10. A Prime Factor

    A Prime Factor Formerly "I want my PHEV"

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    Oops. Forgot "increased psi from 42/40 to 44/42" on that list.
     
  11. mike lipke

    mike lipke New Member

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    You have to wonder what a well designed prius could do with a small diesel engine instead of a gas engine.

    Say, why don't we have that?
     
  12. geognerd

    geognerd New Member

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    Another Corolla vs Prius comparison.

    1996 Toyota Corolla base, 3-speed auto
    6/11/1998-3/3/2007
    Overall 30.2mpg, Max 37.2mpg (Aug 2001), Min 21.3mpg (Jan 1999)

    2007 Toyota Prius
    4/2/2007-present
    Overall 52.6mpg, Max 61.2mpg (Jul 2007), Min 39.0mpg (Dec 2008)
     
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  13. PriusRos

    PriusRos A Fairly Senior Member - 2016 Prius Owner

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    When I owned my 1996 Infiniti I-30 (up until June 2006) I didn't keep a written record or Excel Spreadsheet like I started to after acquiring my first Prius, but I did do a quick calculation every time I filled up. I was averaging around 23mpg - however, that was also when I was doing a lot more highway driving commuting to and from work. Now I take the Metro to work. My lifetime 3-year average on my last Prius was around 43mpg, on my current 2010 it's around 45. My day-to-day driving now consists of short, hilly, stop-and-go trips, although I suppose about half my overall miles are highway. Maximimum tank FE has only been 50mpg; minimum was 37 - and that was because of short trips and very cold weather.
     
  14. steve3008

    steve3008 New Member

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    1994 Corolla
    1/13/2006 - 1/2/2008
    Overall average 25.8 MPG
    Minimum 18.7 MPG
    Maximum 40.1 MPG


    The numbers for the corolla seem low. I drive a 95 with the 1.8 and I got mid 30's living in town and now living in the country enjoy 36-40 with extremes from 30-43.

    I want to get a hybrid but the battery cost is my big hang up.
    My corolla has 225 on it how many battery packs would I use during that time span?

    Steve
     
  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i want my PHEV, how many miles did you put on each?
     
  16. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    About the same with the diesel costing considerably more and requiring higher lifetime maintenance because of the complicated emissions control systems.

    The Prius is an Atkinson cycle engine. The way it is controlled on the Prius, thermal efficiency is similar to a diesels.
     
  17. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    One, most likely.

    Tom
     
  18. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Doesn't sound that low... Unfortunately, Consumer Reports doesn't have figures online for Corollas that old but for an 01 Corolla w/1.8L engine, they got 20 city/41 highway, 29 mpg overall and 35 mpg on a 150 mile trip.

    Here's the version of this list I could find on archive.org: ConsumerReports.org - Most fuel-efficient cars.
     
  19. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Steve, bare in mind that the OP is also only getting 42 MPG with his Prius whereas many people here (myself included) are getting 50+ every tank (my average is 53 to 54). Obviously MPG's are affected by many factors, so I don't think the overall comparison is out of place.

    Most likely the original battery will make 225k miles. Most of us haven't hit that sort of mileage yet but plenty of taxis have racked up that many miles on the original battery.

    In any case the cost of replacement batteries has fallen a lot and there are now plenty of S/H and reconditioned batteries on the market too (especially in the US).
     
  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Yeah esp. since the 2001 model had VVT-i and a 4-spd automatic.

    A 1994 Corolla would've had a 1.6 litre 105hp engine mated to a 3-spd auto (5-spd manual standard)

    or

    a 1.8 litre with 115hp, and a 4-spd auto (5-spd manual standard).



    Probably on the original battery. A Prius taxi can cover those miles in 2-3 years.
     
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