short trips mpgs

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by djphill, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. djphill

    djphill Master of The World

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    Does anybody have any advice for driving short distances. Its like a 10-15 minute drive to and from school everyday and i consider myself lucky for getting 47 mpg. Does anybody know anything that could help push my over that 50 mpg mark.
     
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    You're in LA so you won't have much of a winter factor to the extent that some do. If you have a garage you might consider an engine block heater (EBH) which will preheat the engine fluids so the core temp will be closer to optimal when you start. Many people have indicated improvements with this because the ICE will not be needed as much and their cars will stealth sooner.

    You might consider blocking the grill if you're up to it.

    Otherwise, my advice is that you be aware of the drive and constantly try new things, tweaking every day. I hold strongly to the belief that there is no MPG silver bullet since everyone's route, behavior, traffic patterns, terrain, etc is different. You can read a lot of advice here on PC but in the end it's the application in your specific situation that will determine what works and what doesn't.
     
  3. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    I also live in LA, Tony P. pretty much has nailed it, although the heater idea is a bit extreme, well for LA, as the core temp at night is around 65 or so....

    Master the Pulse and Glide techniques... Stay off Freeways, I did a run to NoHo Toyota one day, stayed on city streets, got 55.6 that trip, normal back and forth to work, up and down the "2" and the Los Feliz hills gets me a 47.6 last fill up, but it gets better the more I practice!!

    Also there is going to be a LA get together on Sept 27 Sat AM in Griffith park.

    NEXT PRIUS EVENT IS Saturday 9/27/08.
    LOCATION: Griffith Park/ Mineral Wells Picnic Area
    TIME: 9:30 am
    PLAN: Prius members to meet / greet, welcome new members.
    caravan drive scheduled, BRING A FRIEND.
    COST: The venue is NO COST
    If you'd like to volunteer to bring refreshments (OJ, Coffee, Donuts, etc) please
    email the facilitator at clubofprii(at) aol (dot) com.

    Stop on by!!

    73 de Pat KK6PD
     
  4. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

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    You're actually doing pretty well for short trips. I agree with Tony about the block heater. I use mine year-round when I have somewhere to plug in.

    I personally would not block the grill year-round, however, without some way to monitor engine temperature (i.e., add-on instrumentation). There really is no benefit to it in the summer; once warmed, the ICE has no trouble staying there in warm weather.

    And I agree that learning how to optimize your driving will help. Route planning, for example, is a key part of my strategy. If you find a different route, perhaps even a slightly longer one, that nets you 60 MPG, it might be worth it -- though be careful to avoid any that increase overall fuel consumption.
     
  5. carz89

    carz89 I study nuclear science...

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    I feel your pain, it sounds identical to my commute. Like JimboK mentioned, 47mpg for a 10-15 minute commute is very good, but I understand the desire to do better.

    My commute is 4 miles, 10-15 minutes, with numerous traffic lights. For the first 1.5 years, I was getting about 47-49mpg, trying really hard to P&G when possible, driving with a very light foot when I couldn't P&G.

    Then I bought a scangauge (actually, 2 of them daisy chained so I can monitor 8 parameters). I woke up to the fact that the engine warmup cycle kills your MPG, which occurs in the first 10 minutes of your commute. I did a lot more research on the Prius warmup cycle and the 4 different stages of operation. I don't have the link handy, but a simple Google or PriusChat search should get you the info. The stages are very temperature dependent. The really frustrating part is trying to get from stage 3 into stage 4. You need to stop the car for about 5 seconds, or fake it into a faux stage 4 by exceeding 34 mph. The ability to achieve these tripwires may be easy for some, but is difficult on my commute due to the location of the stoplights.

    So, after installing scangauges to monitor parameters that cannot normally be seen, and after learning about the stages of operation, I was able to employ some tricks of the trade to increase my fuel economy up to 52-55 mpg. For example, as soon as I get into stage 3 (163 degrees engine coolant temperature) I'll intentionally slow down to open up enough of a gap to allow me to speed up to over 34mph, even though it means laying on the brake up ahead (the traffic religiously sticks to 30mph). Or, if traffic is slowing to a crawl, I'll take the opportunity to intentionally stop for at least 5 seconds (I'll pull over if necessary).

    I think the engine block heater would be a huge benefit. That is probably my next endeavor.

    Buy your scangauge, try these tricks for your short commute, and you should see a similar boost of about 5mpg. Good luck!
     
  6. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Consider that you're now getting 2.13 gallons per 100 miles versus 2.00 gallons per 100 miles. That's a difference of about one fillup every 6200 miles.
     
  7. Neicy

    Neicy Member

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    I keep my top grill blocked year round (but monitor cooland temp with a scangauge) and use a block heater year round. 80% of my driving is less than 10 miles, some I would be walking if my knee would get better. The good news is trips to physical therapy and doctors' visits are longer, and actually are increasing my mileage. Right now at 55.2 and climbing. Woo hoo! BUT it has also taken a year and a half experience to get there, so give yourself some time to learn - you'll get there too!
     
  8. djphill

    djphill Master of The World

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    I know that the difference between 47 and 50 wont do much for me, especially since i don't drive that much. Its just a mental thing... a personal goal. So today i tried a new root that took out the hill that i normally have to go up right after i start up. My average for the first 10 minutes was 76 mpg, but then last 5 mins it somehow whet horribly to 27 (red at every light intense traffic, quick stops). But know i know if i get the right lights and go a little earlier i can get a pretty solid millage.
     
  9. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Your doing fantastic for such short trips. They kill me. Down to 43. Then it takes a few days of proper driving to get it back to 47-49. What kind of gas are you using? Those numbers look like your not running any E10.
    Unfortunately your in the car's honeymoon period. When my 07 was new it got fantastic mileage too. Hit 50+ no problem. 10k later different story.Not so fantastic. Discussed many times hereabouts.
     
  10. djphill

    djphill Master of The World

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    Thats what I was thinking...Too good to be true. I have yet to fill up (just got my car a little over a week ago), but probably at shell or 76. Also i heard that mileage increases over time, which is it then increase or decrease. Also i can contribute my good mileage to the route i take (i use some gas at the beginning and can mostly glide up and down the hills without using much gas). I also feel that if there was a way to reduce warm up time my milage would shoot up. I'm not so much for engine blockers and stuff because its normally between 70-90 yearround.
     
  11. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    We are also driving short trips (often less than six miles each way) and still getting around 48 mpg on them despite *many* steep hills and traffic/lights/turns. The first 2-3 miles are real MPG killers as the ICE will not stay shut off when it really isn't needed. After the first 5 minutes I'm getting tremendous mileage (sometimes 75+)...then it is time to park again.

    Sounds to me like you are doing fine. Look at it this way, short commutes give slightly worse mileage, but if you double the commute the improvement in mileage is slight compared to the higher gas consumption for the longer trip. So the slightly reduced efficiency of short commutes sounds bad, even though it is tremendously positive when you consider total fuel consumption per day.

    For those who can comfortably do so, shortening the commute is the biggest benefit...even over buying a Prius. Your MPG rank might suffer, but the overall fuel consumption and time wasted driving back/forth to work are less. I had a great friend who used to drive 99 miles each way every day to work (for several years), I don't know how he did it. <salute>
     
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