Winter heating vs mpg...

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by Capecodbeachfront, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Capecodbeachfront

    Capecodbeachfront Junior Member

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    Very obvious to me that my 2013 Prius V (3000 miles) does not like winter here in upstate NY. The first 5 minutes or so give poor mpg. Not a problem because I know it will improve as we get warmer weather. But I would like some help figuring out the heating controls with some consideration to improving mpg.
    First: Is there an advantage to letting the gas engine idle for a minute or so before driving... to get engine up to a better operating temp? I have seen recommendations BOTH ways?
    Second: Should I use the AUTO heating setting or just go to manual? I normally drive in the "normal" mode... no ECO or Power. I do know to not use the defrost if at all possible.
    Third: Setting the temp? Will there really be an impact if I set temp to 78 vs 72? Since on a cold day here it is never likely to get to either 72 or 78 in cabin does it really make a difference?
    Fourth: I had considered getting 3rd party heated seat cushions that plug into 12volt. Will the drain on the battery be a huge mpg killer?

    Still getting adjusted to the 'battery' side of mpg. Does a cold battery really make me use the gas engine more thus poor mpg?
    BTW I had considered using foam noodles to vent block the grill but decided it was just too extreme... so far. then again another 5 mpg might be fun?
     
  2. jhinsc

    jhinsc Senior Member

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    Grill block will help a lot with maintaining temps for both heat and a few more mpg's. What I do (keep in mind I have milder temps 20's-30's as lows) is start and drive very moderately without warm-up. But my highest speed is 25-30 for the first mile or so - I might do different if I was getting on a 60 mph freeway immediately. Auto heat will work fine since it won't kick on the heat until the ICE is warm enough. But until it's warm enough it won't turn off at stops until it's fully warmed either. I have heated seats which I use, especially coming home from work on a cold day where my v sat outside all day, and I keep the heat turned OFF for a few miles. That way if I come to a stop the ICE will shut down and not idle waiting the light to turn green. Setting temps at 72 or 78 shouldn't make that much difference. I usually set mine at 70 to start, and then turn down to 68 because of the amount of heat it's putting out.
     
  3. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    ECO mode decreases the blower speed. Keeping the temp set as LOW as possible will decrease the use of the ICE. It does make a difference where you set the controls. I use 68 when its heating, auto mode.
    For the most part you want to avoid short trips, that's where to crappy MPG comes from. On longer trips your MPG shouldn't be much worse than warm weather
     
  4. Northernguy

    Northernguy Junior Member

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    Starting to think that my Prius v is the wrong car for our Wisconsin weather. We are approaching our 55th. day of minus degree weather and it's killing my miles per gallon. In summer time I have no problem averaging 42-46 mpg; but this winter, I'm closer to around 33. Makes me think I may as well have purchased a fuel efficient vehicle, with a cheaper sticker price; and on top of that, I really could use my Rave 4 with all wheel drive. If six months out of the year I'm dealing with cold temeratures and poor gas mileage, than why buy a Prius that shines in warm weather? On the other hand, maybe I'm just taking my crappy weather frustrations out on my poor Prius v, which has run flawless since I purchased it.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    is your commute 5 miles one way? what are you averaging per tank this winter?
     
  6. CLUBGUY

    CLUBGUY Member

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    "with cold temeratures and poor gas mileage"

    Yes cold temps affect the Prii mileage....but I would not say it's poor..!! It's certainly less than when warm temps prevail; but a lot of cars would like to approach 30+ mpg city....
     
  7. Colin

    Colin Junior Member

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    There's an older thread on the regular prius forums about using a block heater and timer setup.

    Measured effect of engine block heater on my MPG | PriusChat

    The guy did see a measurable improvement but I don't think it would ever pay off the block heater and timer. But maybe a combination of grille blocking and the ebh would be the ticket for you.
     
  8. jonb505

    jonb505 Member

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    Last summer I had a job very close to home. 6 minute commute each way. 900 feet elevation gain/loss. No highway driving, average speed around 20mph. My fuel economy was terrible . 36mpg was about the best i could average per tank.
    4 months ago i changed jobs. Now commuting 45 minutes each way, 70% highway(same 900 feet elevation change over a much larger distance). Winter temps have been low 25f, high 40f on average. New commute i'm averaging 45 mpg this winter. With the weather warming up the past couple weeks(40-55 degrees f) i'm averaging 47mpg! Keep in mind highway driving on this commute I never exceed 55mph(max speed limit) so I'm sure that helps. Plus I cheat a little bit and have my tires pumped up to 44f/42r. ^Helps to have super smooth pothole free local roads and highways at those pressures.
    As for cold starts and heating, i've experimented with shutting off the climate control until i get onto the highway running eco vs normal, but now i just run it in normal mode, and leave climate control on auto. I find when the engine is running to provide cabin heat/warmup it also will charge the battery sometimes so its not always idling uselessly wasting fuel. That bit of extra charge it provides the battery will save using some gas later, so it seems to balance out and doesn't make a noticeable difference to a tank average from my observations.
    Before I lived in such a pleasant coastal climate I also had one year of severe winter driving in Central Alberta. My v saw as low as -31 deg f in the winter months. Even then I was surprised how often in town once the engine warmed up(sure it took awhile) it still ran in ev mode fairly often.
    So in my opinion short trips are the worst thing for mpg in the prius(maybe any car) and cooler ambient temperatures would be second. If you can avoid the former and make adjustments to cope with the latter, surely your mpg will improve. (y)
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    on the other hand, you're now using a lot more gas.:cool:
     
  10. jonb505

    jonb505 Member

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    Haha i guess your right, but the new job pays much better so I still come out ahead. :)
    On that note I work in construction so in another month i'll be changing to a new job site. Could be back to a 5 minute commute on the next job. :cool:
     
  11. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    You might want to suss out what that "cheaper car" is getting for MPG in the same conditions. No where near the EPA estimates, for sure.

    That said, its the short trips that are killing you, lack of a block heater, etc.
     
  12. AEROENGR

    AEROENGR Junior Member

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    I bought my Prius C last July and averaged between 60 and 65 mpg during the Summer. In September I began tracking my daily fuel mileage (see attached chart) which consists mostly of a ten mile trip to and from work. The trip is 5.5 miles of suburban driving and 4.5 miles on the Merit Parkway, which I drive at about 50 mph. It takes about 24 minutes each way. As we all know, temperatures this Winter have been well below normal. I have data on that too. During September, I averaged about 64.5 mpg (as shown on the MFD) on the drive to/from work. During January, it dropped to 48.5 mpg, and in February, it was 49.9 mpg. Just wanted to provide an example of how Winter temperatures and driving conditions have affected my fuel mileage. I think a conventional gasoline-powered car would have gotten less than half the mileage of the Prius C under these conditions. By the way, I'm running on the OEM tires and have been operating frequently on snow covered roads without any problem.
     

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