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Advanced Techniques: Pulse & Glide (P&G), Driving

Advanced Techniques: Pulse & Glide (P&G), Driving
Fuel Economy short-path zen:
- Gliding (lightly pressing the gas pedal so that no arrows point into or out of the battery on the "Energy" display) is better than coasting
- Coasting (foot off the gas pedal) is better than braking
- Braking is better than stopping

It may be counter-intuitive, but you maximize Fuel Economy by *minimizing* use of the big traction battery (the thing whose charge level is shown by bars on the "Energy" display). Conversions between forms of energy always incur losses by turning some of the energy into heat. Moving energy into and out of a battery is no exception. (So why does the Prius have a battery? Because, even with the conversion losses, it's still more efficient to use an electric motor for acceleration than to carry around a much larger internal combustion engine that spends most of its time near idle.)

The Prius internal combustion engine, like all engines, is most efficient near full load, so you *do* want to accelerate briskly away from a stop. Combining the above leads to the "pulse and glide" strategy: ideally, accelerate quickly away from a stop, then glide all the way to the next stop. This ideal is usually impractical or impossible, but approximating it can improve MPGs in all cars.
Aug 24, 2012