I've hit a wall

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by PaulHS, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. PaulHS

    PaulHS Member

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    No, not a physical wall! This is the Fuel Economy forum. :D

    But as far as improving my fuel economy numbers, I seem to have reached my limit at 60 - 62 mpg per tank. So I'm hoping for some suggestions.

    I have several problems with my daily commute, as listed below.

    1) I must drive uphill to reach the road, then slightly uphill for a mile before my first downslope.

    2) My commute is seven miles one way.

    3) There are 16 traffic signals along the route. This is by far the most frustrating problem. All but five of these lights are either concealed by trees, bends in the road, or hills and are invisible until about 30 to 50 yards or they are triggered by traffic from side streets so are unpredictable. Occasionally the brake lights of traffic ahead provide a hint of the current state of a hidden light, but seldom is there a way to time a light.

    Positives: The entire route is 35 - 45 mph. Terrain is low rolling hills. I drive a different route home to take advantage of sharp inclines and long declines.

    So is there any hope for improvement? All suggestions welcome.

    Paul
     
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Been there done that. Complained even louder.
    Every year my "MPG ceiling" got higher. Every year I complained that it couldn't get higher.Every year I beat my previous record.

    My suggestion: give your Prius another year to break in and give yourself approximately ten months to improve your technique.
     
  3. PaulHS

    PaulHS Member

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    Tony,

    I appreciate your advice, and will certainly take it. PHriuS currently has 7700 miles. He has passed the 5000 mile breakin and I realized a quantum improvement in FE. (approx 4 mpg). Improved technique and summer weather have yielded another quantum leap (approx 10 mpg).

    One of the things I was hoping for is technique tweaks that have resulted in quantum improvement. Has this happened for you?

    Paul
     
  4. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    The only thing that has caused my mileage to go up is time.

    If you're pulsing and gliding, if you're timing the stoplights, if you're anticipating traffic patterns, if you're light on the brake and even lighter on the gas, then you're doing all the right things.

    My response was not as flippant as it sounds. For three years I wanted better mileage and I wanted it immediately. I wanted the silver bullet. I wanted the secret.
    And I feel that I eventually figured it out: there is no silver bullet; no secret. Rather, there's time and patience and experience and trail-and-error and then there's improvement. When I post my 70+ tanks I point out that I've been trying everything I could think of for four years. If you had told me four years ago that I could hit 70 I would have laughed. Then I would have gotten frustrated to no end that I couldn't do it. It's not that I can't do it, it's that I couldn't do it yet.

    Here at PriusChat and at CleanMPG I posted threads exactly like the one you've started here: tell me how to improve my mileage. Of course, the experienced guys would give me a world of advice and a whole slew of tips but nothing would work. I had to have been doing something wrong. But it wasn't that I didn't understand or that I wasn't trying, it was that I needed time to try things, experiment and perfect the little things.

    Let's take golf, for example. I'm not a golfer but I heard something on an infomercial once: if you normally average three puts per hole and you bring that down to 2, your game will improve by 18 strokes. Heck, if you bring your average down to 2.5 puts per hole you're still going to see a 9 stroke improvement. Just by improving that one aspect.
    But now that you know the secret, how does that help you? Information is passive until acted upon. Knowledge is wasted unless put to use. The only way to perfect your golf game and your mileage is to work and practice and perfect the little things.

    Next year you will - without realizing it - be better at timing the stoplights on your route by watching the actions of the cars in front of you or timing the group patterns of the oncoming traffic. You will develop a lighter feel for the gas. You will realize that a 6/8 SoC will improve your high-speed cruising and therefore not focus so much on stealthing. But all these things take time and practice.

    I don't waste time writing long responses unless I really want to explain something or I'm really passionate about what I'm saying. In this case, it's both. If you're going to get frustrated, this is the right thing to get frustrated about. But don't fret so much that you grow an ulser about it. Tune in the classical station, laugh at the people in their idling cars and be happy that you are more than doubling the average vehicle's MPG.
     
  5. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    A commute of 7 miles? Ride your bike and get about a thousand miles per gallon. :)
     
  6. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Paul, how much time does your commute take? What is your tp? (Try boosting to 44psi.) Is your upper grill blocked? (I leave mine blocked all year.) An EBH would help for your 1st 5 minutes.

    Many of us would like to be stuck in your place.
     
  7. rusty houndog

    rusty houndog mountain rider

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    By simply changing oil to Amsoil 0-30 and adding some Slick50 my mileage has gone from approximately 45-48 to 50-52. I drive some very nasty mountain roads. There are lots of rocks to dodge and lots of dirt to breath to say nothing about the altitude changes. The altitudes vary from 6500 ft to 9300 ft. and their are lots of very steep parts. I've put on over 10K miles since February when I bought it used at 21K miles.
    Certainly not 62mpg but for a mountain rider it does OK.
     
  8. PaulHS

    PaulHS Member

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    Thanks to all for the pointers.

    JimN - My commute is generally 20 minutes. If all the stars are in alignment, that can be cut to 15. The first 5 minutes are a killer. Tire pressure is 42/40, upper grille is blocked, and I have an EBH, not yet installed. Guess I'd better get to that!

    rusty houndog - Use a different oil. Duh! I've been having a long senior moment - completely overlooked the idea of a better oil. Thanks!

    hyo silver - Wish I could do that. At 58 yrs old, the legs can't handle biking any more. Besides, you're risking your life biking on the roads around here.

    TonyPSchaefer - I *was* looking for magic pills, wasn't I? Thanks for your response. I count it as sage advice.

    Paul
     
  9. Sheepdog

    Sheepdog C'Mere Sheepie!

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    Their are some pills but not everyone likes them.. I took one and calmed down about the mpg a bit. The car boosted from 50 to 57 seemingly overnight when I stopped obsessing so much.

    I am learning that it takes time. more than I want to allow sometimes. The EPA expected mpg is what 47 to 49? I get that easily and in fact it has always been better than that.

    I was told my mpg would get better at 5K. It did. I am told it will jump again at 10K. Cannot wait! Well yes I can.

    I enjoy my Prius every day. It isnt just a car to me.
     
  10. bestmapman

    bestmapman 04, 07 ,08, 09, 10 and 16 Pri

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    Hi Paul,

    I was just like you about 6 months ago. Keep working, I have a similiar situation as you. Right out of my driveway, I have a 300' hill and have to navigate several 500' hills on my commute. Currently I am going for a kilo(1000 mi.). I am at about 85 MPG after almost 500 miles. Attached is a pic a day or so ago.

    Keep working and learning.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Sheepdog

    Sheepdog C'Mere Sheepie!

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    Mapman that pic is awesome.
     
  12. abq sfr

    abq sfr New Member

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    Every time I see a pic of the mfd with someone with fantastic mpg... the temperature always reads between 60-80. What do you do when the temperature is reading 100?? Not drive??? Or take the other car????
     
  13. bestmapman

    bestmapman 04, 07 ,08, 09, 10 and 16 Pri

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    Turn on the A/C when it gets that hot. Sheesh MPG isn't that important.
     
  14. PaulHS

    PaulHS Member

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    I am totally, I mean totally blown away by your mileage and picture! Talk about feeling inadequate, that's me.
     
  15. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Many on PC (including yours truely) recommend the, 'accelerator-shoe- removal' technique too. Also known as, 'big toe' driving. You get a better feel, for how hard you're mashing down on the gas, driving with only a sock between your skin & the gas peddle. It helps you get into the P&G mode with better ease.
     
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