Tips For Optimal Toyota Prius Gas Mileage
Earlier this week I worked with a customer who was researching the 2018 Toyota Prius. She asked me, “Does the Prius really get 50 mpg?” I responded by saying those are EPA estimates, but they are relatively accurate. I let her know that the real secret, that final little boost in mpg, is made or lost based on your driving style. I promised to give her some of my top Prius gas mileage tips, and I’m paying it forward and passing them on to you as well. Here goes...
Take advantage of the ECO mode
Toyota Prius engineers equipped us with different driving modes. I call them situational buttons. They are ECO, Normal, PWR, and EV. ECO mode is designed to be most optimal during city driving with lots of starts and stops. With ECO mode, throttle response is toned down, and heating and A/C are optimized. This function works to give you better fuel efficiency. I recommending keeping it on at all times if you’re a city driver.
Speaking of PWR mode
The PWR mode works in an opposite fashion and improves throttle response. This is the perfect thing to use for pulling out into heavy traffic, accelerating up to cruising speed on a highway on-ramp, and going up steeper hills. There are different schools of thought on whether PWR mode negatively affects gas efficiency. My advice is to use this button situationally but not all the time.
Speaking of EV mode
When you’re driving in a mall parking lot looking for a spot. When you’re in stopped or stop-and-go traffic in construction or due to an accident. When you’re cruising below 25mph. These are all times that are perfect to use the EV button. EV stands for “electric vehicle” and uses only electric for up to ½ mile. This should give you better mpg when you have it activated. Let’s see just how long you can draw out that ½ mile so you can optimize this feature.
Slowly start and coast a lot
This next one is asking you to alter your driving style if you have done it this way your whole driving life. Prius cuts off the gasoline and switches to electric when you take your foot off the accelerator and coast toward a stop sign or red traffic light. So if nobody is behind you waiting impatient, simply start your coast to these stops sooner and utilize the electric. You can also take your foot off the gas when going down hills. Let your momentum and gravity do their jobs without burning fuel.
Another tip is to slowly accelerate when the light turns green. No need to waste fuel with a fast acceleration. Slow and steady wins the gas race.
Try some of my other suggestions and see how you do
- Try and keep your speeds under 60mph if you can. Gas mileage starts to take a dip when you reach 60mph, and really plunges when you get above 70.
- Keep optimal pressure in all your tires.
- The lighter the better. Prius engineers have been known to cut weight to keep mpg high (can you say no power driver’s seat, no spare tire, and no rear wiper?). You can help your stats by removing any unnecessary cargo/items/junk from your cargo area that might weigh you down and sink mpg.
- Avoid cold starts. Let your car warm up for a couple minutes before going somewhere. To minimize more cold starts, try combining some of your errand runs and make them during the same trip.
- Keep your air conditioning fan as low as you are comfortable.
- Analyze your mpg consumption screen. This gives you a bar graph in 1-minute increments to show how you’ve been doing with your mpg. Look at the moments you got really great gas mileage and try to replicate those situations and driving styles. Try to improve dips in the gas mileage by changing those situations (maybe you remember you were racing up a hill when you got 17mpg.)
What do you think of my suggestions? What other tips do you have? Thanks for reading.
Jeff Teague is a Toyota news reporter at Torque News. You can reach Jeff on Facebook and Instagram (click here). Twitter at @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories. Jeff also shares Toyota news videos on his Youtube Channel at Toyotajeff.