Driving for Economy Tips, Please!!!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by Brian, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. TJ

    TJ New Member

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    My first two tanks were around 50 mpg. My third tank is currently at 56 mpg with about 400 miles on it. I live in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, where the weather has never gotten very cold by east coast standards and not hot enough yet for the AC. So. Cal has some interesting aspects, i.e. it's freeways. They seem to either be going 70 mph or 30 mph.

    When the traffic is at 70, I stay in the slow lane and range between 60 and 65, taking the small rises and falls into account. My mpg will range from 40-90, with an average around 57.

    When traffic is heavy, I leave the slow lane for a more consistent speed. Even then the speed will range from 5 to 40 mph as the drivers hit their brakes and gas pedals like pinball flippers :) This is where looking and anticipating are key. If done well, my mpg will vary between 40-99, averaging around 80.

    So why is my tank average around 50 with such good mpg on the freeways? The city streets. From home to the freeway and freeway to work, and then back again in the evening. Speed limits on the streets in my area range for the most part from 45-50. These are the hardest parts for me to get good mileage. I accelerate as best I can to get good mpg, but I don't want to hold up traffic, so I give up mpg to be a better citizen. Of course I anticipate stops, so my SOC is almost always green.

    Anyway, that's my story for mpg. I think the variations we see in the MPGs reported are largely environmental, i.e. where we live and the local culture of drivers. I think I'm doing about as good as I can for my conditions, but will always look to improve.

    The reason why my current tank's mpg is so high is because it includes a freeway ride to San Diego for the Prius meet last weekend and a freeway drive to Los Angeles for the AB2628 press conference. Very few surface streets.

    I wish I didn't live in an area with 45-50 mph streets :(

    Later,
    Tom
     
  2. Brian

    Brian Member

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    I also live in Orange County, but it just doesn't seem to be good. Maybe I should install an EV button because in my track, there are 4 speed bumps, and 4 stop signs both ways to and from my gates. When I start off it would be good because it is mostly down hill. But then the opposite back. I can see that the mpg goes down when going through the track. The good thing is once I am out of the track; I have a nice 45mph down hill drive for about a mile. That ALWAYS makes the battery green after leaving the track, from only 4 bars.

    What do you guys think, should I add the EV button? I really don't need to go fast in the track; it isn't a real big deal.

    Thanks
    Brian
     
  3. mookie60

    mookie60 Junior Member

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    Something else I've seen on other similar threads, but not this one, is the average trip time. Most of my driving is simple daily commute to work, 15-20 minutes each way, with mild stop-n-go driving with top speeds between 30-45mph.

    Generally speaking, those first 2 "five minute" bars are always the shortest of the commute, with the first always shorter than the second. With the same style driving, the first minutes are typically around 25mpg, the second around 35-40mpg, then averaging around 50 for the last 10 minutes of the trip.

    This indicates to me there is still a 5-10 minutes warm-up period, even with the "thermos".
     
  4. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Brian,
    Your decision to add an EV button should NOT be based on your current mpg.

    Be patient, you're on what, your second tank of gas and you've driven maybe 5000 miles in your lifetime? It takes time for the car to break in, time for the engine to break in, time for you to learn to read the road, the car, traffic, etc. You're more than likely not nearly as smooth on the accelerator or as predictive of traffic as us old experienced drivers.

    Only on my last 3 tanks have I broken 50mpg (albeit in a lot cooler weather). This weekend, go out for a drive--a real drive, pack up your girl friend or a buddy and head out on some back roads or side roads and just drive your car. Log some miles, play with finding the sweet spot coasting with NO arrows on the Energy screen. See how high of mpg you can squeeze out of 5 minute bars. Let your girlfriend or buddy take a turn at the wheel and see what they can to and trade notes.

    Have some fun...the mileage will improve...repeat that out loud, the mileage will improve...I CAN'T HEAR YOU....THE MILEAGE WILL IMPROVE!!!
     
  5. Brian

    Brian Member

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    Ok, efusco. My friend and I are going out to the toll roads and out for a ride. I will do what you said and hopefully it will improve!!!
    Thanks for the advise!!!
    Brian
    THE MILEAGE WILL IMPROVE!!!
    LOL
     
  6. Wolfman

    Wolfman New Member

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    I'm currently at 384 miles on my current tank of fuel. I'm sitting at 57.5 mpg according to the computer, and I still have one segment over the 1/2 tank mark. This is with an 03.
     
  7. Brian

    Brian Member

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    Well, my first tank was at 37 mpg overall, and now on my second tank, after going for about an hour and 1/2 drive, my second tank is at 44mpg!!!! So efusco's advice really worked. I found the "sweet" spot where there are no arrows and coast. It seems to work quite well. Thanks for the advice everyone. I now know that the mpg will just keep climbing now!!!
    Thanks
    Brian
     
  8. eak354

    eak354 Member

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    For those who've had the car for around 6 months, was there really a noticable improvement in mpg over those break-in months? i've driven mine 1100miles, and have yet to break the 50mpg barrier. averaging about 40-44 mpg so far, mostly city driving. i'm not complaining, those are great figures, but i guess the EPA estimates just make me expect more, like the rest of us do. :|
     
  9. dbiltcli

    dbiltcli New Member

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    I notice an improvement after 3,000 miles ( 4,800 total now). I was getting about 48 MPG before and now am getting about 55 MPG. Could also have something to do with the slightly high temps here in central NJ.
     
  10. seanwachob

    seanwachob New Member

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    I think the type of driving you do has more to do with the milage you get than the style of driving. My commute is a 5 mile 15 minute trip on local streets. I get around 48MPG when driving carefully (cruise control, stealth mode when possible, AC off, etc) and about 45MPG when not paying attention to driving style. I think the ICE stays on pretty much all the time for the first 5 minutes to heat up the engine to keep emissions low, and I only see about 30MPG during that period, then 50-55 in each graph bar after that. It all averages to around 45 (30+50+55/3). The freeway entrance is right next to my office though and if I take the freeway home late at night, that warm up period is spent using the energy to run at freeway speed so my first bar is around 45-50 along with the rest I see at 65MPH. If I had to make 5 minute trips all day, I would probably see an MPG value of around 30MPG. If I had a half hour freeway commute in congested traffic moving 30-45MPH, I'd probably see MPG values around 65. This is definitely the best car for anyone who has a long, slow, freeway commute.
     
  11. Brian

    Brian Member

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    I am wondering just how fast/slow am i supposed to get up to speed from a stop. Say the speed limit is 35mph. Should I take about 10 seconds to get to speed or more like 20sec. Something like that.
     
  12. Wolfman

    Wolfman New Member

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    Neither. I apply ~ 1/2 throttle and accelerate quickly to the posted speed limit.
     
  13. rflagg

    rflagg Member

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    You want to accel. "briskly" once the ICE kicks in - if you can start off slow, and get up to say 8-12+mph before the ICE kicks in, that's all the better - but then once it kicks in, the faster you get up to speed, the less the ICE will be in use, hence the less gas that'll be needed.

    -m.
     
  14. ken1784

    ken1784 SuperMID designer

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    Japanese folks found that it is better not to use battery power when you accelerate.
    So, please watch the energy monitor screen for the optimum acceleration indicator and accelerate not to use the battery power which means no yellow arrow from the battery.

    Regards,

    [email protected]
     
  15. Brian

    Brian Member

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    Ok, that all sounds good, I would let the ICE turn on and then just take my time getting to speed, now I will a little faster.
    Thanks
    Brian
     
  16. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    First, Welcome, Ken, to PriusChat, I've really enjoyed your contributions over at the 2004YG and look forward to your involvement here.

    Second, I've tried this technique a couple times and find it VERY hard to attain...and have essentially given up on it. That said, I think the philosophy behind it is pretty sound and thus I try to minimize the arrows to/from the battery whenever possible realizing that loss of energy in the process of conversion is important.

    That said, I think that energy loss is minimal and you're probably talking about ten's of a mpg improvement. I think that the no arrows improvements in Japan may be more due to the very conservative driving technique necessary than to any savings in energy transfer...but that's PURE speculation on my part. Wayne Brown, Dan Krousle, and a slew of very aggressive Japanese enthusiasts are doing a lot of testing and experimenting in this matter and it may pan you to be a major breakthrough. It's worth a shot and certainly won't hurt your mileage.

    I have become less aggressive, of late, with my 'brisk' acceleration. I tend to accelerate at what I'd call a modest rate of speed and I then read the terrain to determine when to back off the gas. IF the road ahead is all up hill I stay on the gas until I reach my desired speed. If the road is level I back off at about 5 mph before my desired speed, get into stealth/hyper-stealth and try to gingerly accelerate to my desired speed while keeping the mpg readout at the 99.9 level. If downhill I do essentially the same, but then keep the pedal depressed such that no arrows show at all on the Energy screen on the downhill so that I continue to accelerate (when safe to do so) and then carry that momentum as far as I can.

    I don't have any idea if my technique is the best..it probably isn't, but I'm seeing a lot of improvements since I quit using CC and accelerating 'briskly'. My current mpg readout this tank shows 58.7mpg at ~150 miles into the tank and I'm in very hilly terrain with about 7 miles of my 12 mile commute at 55mph+.
     
  17. Brian

    Brian Member

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    While I was out today, I would excelerate pretty fast from a light and sure enough the MPG actually went up. By 1 mpg!!! I would have thought that it would take up more gas but I was wrong.
    Thanks
    Brian
     
  18. mookie60

    mookie60 Junior Member

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    how can we define "brisk" acceleration? while using cruise control, lets say at 60mph, then cancel and let the car decel to 30 or 40 mph (i forget what the cutoff speed is for the cruise). when the cruise is reset by tapping the stalk upward, the car accelerates to the original speed.

    to me, this level of acceleration used by the cruised control could easily be considered "brisk" - so that's what i use as my guide. [/quote]
     
  19. suirpintx

    suirpintx New Member

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    Hi Everybody....Now have 5400 miles on a 2004 PKG#6 Green Rocket. I
    live in Kerrville, TX and most driving is on Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Kerrville a 55-60 mile trip via Interstate. I am using maximum recommended tire pressures and drive using cruise control set
    at 68-70 MPH.....65 MPH during night driving. My fuel average for the 5400 miles driven is right around 45 MPG. That is pretty much what the
    trip computer has calculated as well..........the only time I find a large increase in my miles per gallon is with a nice TAILWIND helping push me
    down the road (it's always nice to have the wind at your back pushing).
    I just did my first oil change at 5000 miles and used pure synthetic 5-30W
    and plan on using pure synthetic for the entire time I am driving the Prius.
    I am a firm believer that the Prius II should run on electric-only from zero
    up to 40 MPH using average acceleration in city traffic.....however it does
    not seem to work out that way for some reason. The control unit or some
    other component in the computer set-up should be rethought and adjusted
    so this new automobile could make the most out of this technology.........
    As it now stands the Prius II in a LOW SPEED, LOW DEMAND setup is not using its electric-only capability as it should be (40 MPH and under). I hope to hear of some change and or adjustment forthcoming.....This is what I was expecting when I signed the check and strapped in.
    Let me hear from you guys/gals.......GREEN IS GOOD FOR SAVING $$$$
    AND ALL OF NATURE..................................
     
  20. Ralphmc

    Ralphmc Mr Hybrid

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    I had a thought about this, this morning; maybe this could be a gadget to improve our guess work on the acceleration...

    In the 80s I was driving in Germany, and had such cars like the Audi 80, and smaller. They had a little gauge on dash that revealed the "under pressure" in the crank shaft. This was equal (or almost) to the amount of acceleration you were telling the engine to do by depressing the accelerator.

    If we had such an electronic indicator then we could judge easier how much energy force we are asking of the motor/ICE for acceleration.

    The less you pressed the pedal the less the gauge would be moved, it would help improve the mileage (KM/Liter) quite a bit already then.

    This would be a gadget for CostelDave... :)

    Thanks Ralph
    ---------------------------

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