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Why Prius Owners Contest Consumer Reports' 44 MPG Rating

Although Consumer Reports rated Toyota Prius as one of its top ten pics for 2015, Prius owners say they get higher miles per gallon even driving in mountainous areas. How is this explained?

Earlier this year in late February Consumer Reports announced its top 10 pics for the year and even after 3 years Toyota Prius is still one of the top ten picks in the report. You can read John Goreham's coverage on the subject here. However, on Facebook, in Plug-in Prius Owners Group Toyota Prius drivers discuss the Consumer Reports' MPG rating and Chris Durst who started the discussion writes "I don't think I could get that bad of mileage if I tried. Just in mixed mode I get 51 to 55 and in plug-in I get 80 in winter and 95 in summer."

Here are some experiences and opinions shared by Prius drivers.

Douglas Stansfield explains it from the point of view that mileage ratings are estimated on the conservative side. "The MPGs are always estimates on the low side. If you drive more than 50 miles each way to work, your numbers would go down, but I'm very glad you are getting good results," he replies to Durst.

One other driver explains that Chevy Volt and other Plug-ins are rated in the same way. "It's the same thing with the Volt and other Plug-ins Chris. On my Volt, I get about 203mpg, gas up about 4 times a year. But they go with EPA-like ratings here that are based on fixed percentages of drive patterns, which for plug-ins, usually biases the results far lower than they should be, Eric Cote replies.

The truth is even the EPA rating is much higher than what the Consumer Reports gave to Toyota Prius. And Chris points that out in a reply, writing "Even the official EPA sticker on the car had way higher numbers than what they listed in Consumer Reports. 43 miles per gallon on a highway? I drove through the mountains in West Virginia over the weekend in sport mode, and got 48 MPG. By the way, the Prius did great in the snow last week. Went down a unplowed road (by accident) with 7" of fresh snow and made it (had to do a U-turn as I didn't want to press my luck and was getting lost. Finally got back to the main road in Massanutten and found our Condo. Others weren't so lucky."

EPA rates Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid complained MPGe at 58. Tires are one of the key factors to get the most optimal MPG performance of you car. In fact, according to, "You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer."

Also see: The 2016 Toyota Prius will top 60 MPG.

What mileage are you getting on your Prius?

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I average about 44-46 mpg and 2 mpg worse in winter on my 2010 Prius (level) 5, but it comes with 17" wheels, and that's at least a 2 mpg penalty. I've had to replace the tires and the current ones aren't as good as the stock ones (mpg-wise) that came with the car. (commute is about 37 miles each way)

With my 2006, I get over 50 mpg on the highway in the summer. In January in Canada it goes down to 21 mpg around town. I still get over 40 mpg on the highway in the winter. I live in a small town so in town trips are often no more than 5 minutes, which doesn't give the catalytic converters time to warm up to where they are most efficient.

I get 70-95 MPG on a usual tank in my Plugin Prius.

I have a 10 year old Prius and I get 49-50 mpg in summer and 45mpg in the winter. I drive 80% interstate and 20% in city. The worst milage I have ever had was 43mpg in -22 below zero. I doubt the newer Prius can't keep up with mine. I will say I drive the speed limit and take excellent care of my Prius- but she is 10 years old.

Heck, after purchasing my 2005 Prius ten years ago, I averaged 46 to 48 MPG combined mileage. Now at 284,000 miles, I'm averaging 42 to 44 MPG. BTW, I've had no major maintenance or prime mover battery replacement/repair -- just the standard 5K scheduled maintenance. The accessory battery and brake pads were replace around 200,000 miles.

Ive had my 2014 Prius Two 1 year this month and I have gotten 52-56 when warmer and 46-50 in the dead of winter at close to 0 temps. I drive no more than 5 over and generally accelerate easily, its been the best car Ive ever owned! I commute 80 miles a day with about half on the freeway.

I find that the people who play down the Prius usually have some other agenda, but hey its the internet, theres a million websites with a million opinions and none can be fully trusted :)

I have the 2004 car of the year' Prius. I travel about 50 miles a week, mostly under 40mph, I get 36mpg year round. I drove fully loaded with gear on a 285 mi. freeway run and got 56mpg. Time for a plug-in.

My Prius...2006 w/ 148K miles: 46-48mpg consistently. gone thru 3 starting batteries + replaced traction battery (under warranty) at 125K. only service is change the oil & tires (4th set). still has original brakes

My Wife's Prius...2009 w/109K miles: 47-49mpg consistently. still has original brakes. recently purchased 3rd set of tires + 2nd starting battery. still has original traction battery

My 2007 Prius has gotten 42mpg consistently, during the six years I lived in San Francisco and the two years I have lived in Napa. One comment that might make a difference, is that I ALWAYS have the A/C on.
I like that air movement around in the cabin, whether it be cool air or warm air.

I have a 2005 Prius and I have 338,000 miles on her. I have had to Replace the Starter Battery and the other things which were replaced one waterpump was replaced under warranty. I still get an Average around 50 mpg. Its never made me walk and she still looks and runs like new. I service every 5000 for an oil change at my toyota dealer since i bought her. She is a great little car. My next car will be a Prius but I believe I will get more than 500,000 miles on my current one. It still only uses a quart of oil about every 2000 miles, she is a great car! Best Regards Michael

When one purchases a vehicle based on known driving patterns a Prius is not necessarily your best choice and ultimately you are still a slave to the internal combustion engine. I have a 35 mile round trip commute. I drive a 2014 Volt. On days where the temp is under 45 degrees I get 28 to 30 miles per charge at a cost of $1 per full charge based on my home electric rate. When the generator does kick in for the last 5 to 7 miles I use less than .05 of a gallon of fuel for a total of 600 miles per gallon. Fully depleted battery / all generator mode puts me in the 39 to 40 MPG range.

Consumer Reports has not published a detailed description of their 44 MPG test protocol with enough detail that others could replicate their results. Their highway numbers are spot on and easily replicated. But their 44 MPG test remains a black hole and there are ways to 'game the system.'

Anyone can replicate the well documented EPA tests. But no one can replicate the Consumer Reports protocol and statistical analysis suggests the CR test has a built-in bias against high mileage cars.

Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

In my experience, Consumer Reports has it right. I drive a Leaf and a 2010 Prius, and we live in Ohio. The Spring average for the Prius is 44 MPG in suburban driving of mostly very short trips (usually 2-5 miles) with some commuting of about 14 miles. In winter we take a huge hit - January averages are about 36 MPG.

We neither hypermile nor hoon the car. We just drive it like a normal car. I've never calculated an annual average but I'd guess 42 MPG.

When my wife drives, she gets about 44 or less. When I drive it, I get over 50. It's mostly about driving style--the more aggressive and less attention paid to good hybrid technique, the worse mpg you're going to get. It's just that simple.