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Valuable Gas-Saving Tips for the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Owners all over the country are thrilled with their 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gas mileage. Find out how they are doing it, and most importantly, how you can do better at the pump as well.


America’s best-selling and hottest Hybrid is the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, and recent sales show no signs of slowing down. In fact, August sales for the popular gas-saver were up 174.4% compared to the previous year.

But why are sales skyrocketing for this specific Hybrid?

For one, the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid is an excellent value, as it is priced less than $1000 more than its equivalent gasoline AWD RAV4. Also, it has great acceleration, providing 219 net Hybrid horsepower. It is available in LE, XLE, XSE and Limited, so there is a good variety to choose from. And, of course, there is that amazing fuel efficiency.

I recently wrote a story where I showed a majority of new RAV4 Hybrid owners are getting more than the EPA-rated 40 mpg listed on window stickers. I made a mental note that I needed to follow up on this and see how they are achieving these results.

Also found in my very unscientific study were a few people who had not yet been successful in getting the gas mileage they were hoping for. They were seeing under 40 mpg.

Here are some tips and suggestions to help us all save money on fuel at the pump with our Hybrids, including the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid.

Watch your current mpg display to help you get better

This first point will save you money for sure, and it could also become addicting. Your car has a “current miles per gallon” meter on your multi-information display that can now be used as your guide. It will show you exactly what you are getting real-time.

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to adjust your driving style and adapt to find ways to keep your meter above your average miles per gallon. In other words, watch the bar and make it go higher. Every time you can raise your current mpg meter over a stretch of several miles, it will be a victory in your pursuit of better gas mileage.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid mpg multi-information displayCoasting is your friend in a RAV4 Hybrid

One of the basic principles of a Toyota Hybrid is the fact that the gasoline-powered engine cuts off and your car runs solely on electric power every time you take your foot off the accelerator. This is very true on city streets where you find a lot of stop signs and traffic lights.

Based on this concept, I suggest if there is no car behind you that you take your foot off the gas pedal sooner than you normally would and let your car coast to a red light or stop sign. The longer you drive without using the gas, the quicker you will see your average miles per gallon start to increase.

You can also apply this to when you go down hills as well. Let your momentum and gravity guide you without your foot on the gas. Again, this is a time when you don’t normally need to use gasoline. If it is a steep enough downward hill, avoid using the gas at the bottom for as long as possible and allow that momentum to spare gasoline from being used. Another point for savings.

RAV4 Hybrid does not need you to fast start

I know we all want to “win that race” when the traffic light turns green. Many of us, including me at times, get antsy at a red light and want to step on the gas as soon as we see green. The goal is to get up to speed as quickly as possible, right? And to beat those drivers next to us. Let’s change that mindset please.

When you drive your RAV4 Hybrid, try to slowly accelerate from a stop. The harder you push down on the gas pedal the more you will needlessly expend fuel in your tank.

ECO mode is your RAV4 Hybrid friend

Some people already know there are different driving modes in a Toyota Hybrid that allow us to achieve various goals. Normal mode drives in, well, normal mode. You should be getting good gas mileage on your own this way.

Sport mode gives you a more aggressive throttle response and more precise handling. Sport is ideal for pulling out into heavy traffic or accelerating on to a highway to get up to cruising speed fast. It also causes you to get worse gas mileage.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid Energy Monitor

Although it is suggested mainly for city streets, ECO mode is the mode I suggest you live in for almost all your 2019 RAV4 Hybrid driving. You can really utilize ECO for any Toyota Hybrid you own, including the Prius.

ECO, short for Economy, takes a little bit off both the accelerator and the air conditioning system while you drive. For most drivers, you will barely notice much difference at all in throttle or air response. In turn, however, your vehicle will give you better gas efficiency and you can see better overall mpg results.

What in the world is EV mode?

This is the quirkiest button you will find in your car. But it is also one of the most effective in cutting down fuel costs at low speeds. Electric Vehicle is what EV stands for, and it is perfect when you are driving in places at lower speeds, such as your subdivision or a mall parking lot or stop-and-go traffic on the highway.

You can only use the benefits of EV mode for up to one-half to one mile, depending on conditions. Then your car will need to build back energy to allow you to use it again. But I still urge you to give it a try. Just push the EV button while in your neighborhood or a parking lot and keep your speed under 20, and you will see positive things happen to your mpg.

Take advantage of radar cruise control in RAV4 Hybrid

Especially on the highway at cruising speeds, try to incorporate your 2019 RAV4 Hybrid dynamic radar cruise control into your routine. This system will monitor you and cars in front of you and will slow your vehicle down so you are a safe distance behind them. This also helps with gas savings.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid Silver Sky Metallic profile view

See if you can keep your top speed below 75 mph while you drive. This includes normal driving without using cruise control and also setting your radar cruise at 72 or 73 instead of 79. When you drive at higher speeds around 78 and above, you are burning excess fuel and you will see poor results, which translates to spending more money at all future gas stations you encounter.

Tire pressure and weight are important too

Remember, the weight of a vehicle and its contents have a big effect on gas mileage. If possible, try to keep your car clean and free of items that add significant weight. You might empty out boxes filled with heavy things, sandbags, luggage and anything else you can think of.

Also, keep your tires filled to the recommended pressure found in your owner’s manual. Not doing this can adversely affect mpg as well.

Hypermiling is a funny word used with Hybrids

A lot of Hybrid forums use the word “hypermiling” to describe their incredible fuel efficiency. Prius owners and enthusiasts use hypermiling all the time. Basically, hypermiling is anything that can be done to increase mpg. It can be taking full advantage of the tips I mentioned above. Or maybe you have suggestions of your own that are working. Use what works.

Time for our final thoughts on miles per gallon

I believe the tips given will help you save money in the short term and in the long run. These are pearls of wisdom I have collected both from Toyota representatives and from personal stories and anecdotes from drivers all over the world. They work. They really do.

However, the most challenging part in all this is that most of these tips require us to change our current driving styles either a little bit or drastically. This is the toughest thing do to, and the reason why some of us will never achieve the gasoline savings we are hoping for.

My sister Jamie has a saying that it takes 21 days to change a bad habit or behavior. We often joke about this at get-togethers by just saying “21 DAYS.” She is right, though.

I challenge you to try incorporating even one or two of my gas-saving tips for a few weeks, even though it will seem awkward and you will have the urge to “get that lead foot out” again. See if you get positive results and let me know.

Compare all 2019 RAV4 Hybrid Trim Levels so you can choose the one for you

I would love to hear from you now. Do you own a Hybrid vehicle and what type of gas mileage are you seeing? What do you drive? Also, do you have any helpful hints that have worked for you that we can all learn from?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story.

Bookmark Jeff Teague's Toyota News and Reviews at Torque News Toyota. Please subscribe to Jeff’s “Toyotajeff” YouTube channel for Toyota news, reviews and how-to videos. Follow Jeff on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter him @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories.

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Arun (not verified)    September 25, 2019 - 9:39PM

All the above are valid tips. Have tried everything except for the radar cruise. I am getting about 48mpg on my new Toyota Rav4 XLE hybrid. Very happy with it.

Dave (not verified)    September 26, 2019 - 12:40AM

Most Prius drivers drive exactly as you describe. That's why many of the heavy footed gas-only drivers hate us. I am impressed with 48 mpg for that large a vehicle.

Dave (not verified)    September 26, 2019 - 4:21PM

I have an XSE we bought last May, one of the first ones out, and have been getting 32-33 mpg pretty regularly. My wife and I take turns driving it each week and while I'm a leadfoot, she is much more sedate. We keep it in eco mode most of the time but sometimes I'll put it in sport for a day or two. Still we don't see a lot of variation in the MPG. That may be because the flow of traffic is usually 78- 84 on our commute. I'll try some of the tips listed here and see how much it improves

george (not verified)    December 4, 2019 - 12:32PM

my 2019 rav4 hybrid only gets 29.0. i try and coast as much as possible and sometimes get lucky to 34 mpg but usually stuck at 28-30mpg. my car rarely stays in ev even when I am in eco mode and below 25mpg.

Kate (not verified)    December 7, 2019 - 8:04PM

We religiously do all the above with our 2019 RAV4 Hybrid (except cruise control so far) and average about 35mpg, no matter how careful. We love the car except for this. Really frustrated and disappointed. Any chance something needs adjusting?

Katrina (not verified)    December 28, 2019 - 12:20PM

Bought a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid LE in November currently 1300 miles. Commute is hwy/city 20 miles a day. Best I have seen is 36 mpg average. Took a 140 mile round trip all highway miles and got 34 mpg. Used cruise control at 70mph the whole way. I have yet to see the 41/38 touted by Toyota. I do love the RAV4 but I am disappointed in the mpg. This is the first vehicle I have owned that does not meet or exceed the listed mpg for the vehicle.

Abe (not verified)    January 10, 2020 - 1:55PM

I just purchased a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid Limited in late December. Commuting from around Southern California, and up the coast to San Francisco, I averaged 35 MPG. I have been carefully watching the MPG meter since I started, and while EV mode does help, I noticed that even mild acceleration drops the MPG down to below 5, even at normal city speeds (25 - 40 mph).

I'm in San Francisco now, and with ~1000 miles logged the average MPG is 34.1 and falling. I try to use a very light foot to stay in EV mode whenever possible, even when going up hills (as long as no-one is behind me). This doesn't seem sustainable for everyday driving. I used to have a 2015 gas Civic, and I was averaging just about the same MPG.

Any tips? With my Civic, I had to wait roughly a year before the advertised MPG was achievable. Based on the above comments, seems like people are getting 40MPG+ from the start. What am I doing wrong?

Dan (not verified)    January 11, 2020 - 12:30PM

Atkinson engines used in Toyota hybrids actually get better mileage by accelerating rather briskly to cruise speed and then try to maintain your speed by utilizing "supercruise mode". Something you may want to read about.

Betty Anderson (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 12:56PM

I have a new 2019 Rav4. Although I love it BUT I can’t seem to get it over 36.6 city. Maybe I got a lemon?

Katie (not verified)    January 19, 2020 - 6:48PM

I feel defrauded. No matter how carefully we drive, we never get more than 34 mpg on our 2019 RAV 4 hybrid. We would not have bought if we had known the mileage was so misrepresented. Is there a consumer agency we could get in touch with to register a complaint?

Judy (not verified)    January 21, 2020 - 12:54PM

In my initial 5K 2019 RAV4 Hybrid driving I was getting 35-44 mpg. Then we went on a trip from Santa Barbara to Lake Tahoe, followed by the 5K service. Now I cannot get out of the 35 mpg range. I'm a former 15 year Prius driver who maximized the mpg in that car, pulse and glide, etc. I need help to get back to the initial good mileage. Any ideas?

Debby Weber (not verified)    January 30, 2020 - 11:31AM

2020 Rav4 hybrid, I only get 35 mpg. Eco button on, or Eco button off, it never improves. Even on the interstate with cruise control set to 68, I drive very conservatively, and even crawling from 0 to 20, and then gradually increasing to city speeds of 35 mph, I never even come close to the 41 advertised. Very very disappointed.

Joe Scattergood (not verified)    May 9, 2020 - 8:19PM

I was getting high 30’s in the winter months and then learned about winter and summer blend gas. In April the fuel changed in my area and I’m now getting 44 mpg around town driving 40 tp 45 mph.

Katie (not verified)    June 4, 2020 - 2:16PM

No matter how we drive and try to take advantage of any tips given, we're stuck at 34.1 or 34.2 mpg in our RAV4 hybrid. How can there be such discrepancies between the same cars? I feel so defrauded and wish we could turn the car in before the end of our (foolish) lease. Any recommendations?

Erika (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 6:20PM

Your gas mileage depends on the way you drive the vehicle, as well as what kind of terrain and weather conditions you are driving your vehicle in.

Things that negatively affect your gas mileage:
- Driving on a lot of hills.
- Driving in a lot of stop and go traffic. Although hybrids are supposed to handle this type of scenario better than a gas vehicle.
- Living in an area where it's cold a lot.
- Accelerating fast

I am a former Prius owner and now a RAV4 Hybrid owner. I did just purchase the RAV4, but so far am getting 42 MPG. This was mostly highway/freeway driving, little to no hills, and maintaining the speed limit. I follow a lot of the advice in this article.

It really helps to change your driving habits for sure. Coasting is your best friend, and if you "learn" how to drive a hybrid, you can save even more on gas. After you step on the gas to get up to speed, let up on the pedal a little, while still maintaining speed. This will turn off the gas and you'll be driving on the battery only. With practice, your gas mileage WILL increase. I am not sure what the name is for this method, but Prius owners use it.

I live in Washington state. It is Summer right now, but it is highly likely that during the Winter, my gas mileage will change. I didn't notice it too much with my Prius though.

"Learn" how to drive your hybrid and you should see good results. Hope this helps :-)

María (not verified)    June 26, 2021 - 1:02PM

Our 2019 is been driven a cross country as we speak. It was giving us 40.5 but now, last couple days nothing more than 38... bummer . I thought it would give us 45!

Gale (not verified)    September 6, 2021 - 12:25PM

I bought a brand new 2021 RAV4 XSE Hybrid and 2 weeks later I drove it from WA to FL and maintained 40-42 mpg almost the whole way there. From about TN to FL the mileage dropped gradually to 37.9. The whole trip I had the AC running and very windy cross winds and rolling hills to flat terrain across the upper states. I noticed the mpg would start to drop if I went above 75 mph. I have only driven in the standard mode so far. Also, I have crossbars and nothing was loaded on top of them for the cross country trip, but inside the vehicle was completely loaded with the back seats folded down. I used cruise control occasionally to give my achey drivers knee a break and think most of the time I got better gas mileage when not using it. Although, it seemed like I was getting gas mileage occasionally when using cruise control.
When I first test drove a RAV4, I noticed the mpg quickly rose from about 37 to 42. I was a bit timid at first getting used to the size and feel of it because my other car is a Mazda Miata. So a couple of months later when I bought my RAV4 I was more comfortable driving it from the start and it took me longer to get the better gas mileage. I am generally an aggressive driver; heavy on the gas pedal and a little fast around the corners. I basically had to relearn how to drive. Of course, it’s not nearly as fun as driving like a little sports car driver and more like an elderly person, but I really am enjoying this vehicle. As I improved on how to accelerate and brake the first 2 weeks before my trip, I noticed my Toyota app showed me where else I needed improving. I drive too fast going around corners; something I’ve not read anywhere on the forums.

eugene (not verified)    January 17, 2023 - 2:13PM

I feel bad reading about folks having problems with RAV4 hybrid mileage. I get 45-51 in the summer and around 35-40 in winter in Chicago. Here's what maximizes your mileage.

1) Pump your tires up to the max ! There is probably a few MPG right here. The stock tires on my RAV4 hybrid allow inflation up to 50 PSI. Go to the max! If ride is too hard, back off a couple PSI.

2) Put it in ECO mode.

3) Accelerate to the max level allowed in ECO and stick there until cruising speed is reached. Going into POWER on acceleration will KILL your mileage.

4)Once you reach cruising speed under 50, back off on the gas and let electric take over.

4) Speeds over 60-65 mph can hurt your mileage, over 70 hurt big time, over 80 mph is like draining your gas tank right there. Unfortunately unlike a Prius, a RAV 4 is not a very aerodynamic beast. Brick-like objects don't get good mileage at high speed.

5) Where you really gain mileage is when you are cruising under 50 mph and the ICE turns off and you are in a very low power drain electric drive mode.

6) Avoid cycles needless of acceleration then regeneration when cruising at constant speed. Unfortunately cruise control can do this on hilly roads. When stopping, a long coast down is ideal.

7) Anticipate stops and slowly coast down for max efficiency. Brake smoothly to maximize regeneration when stopping. Avoid panic or aggressive stops as this energy maxes out regeneration and is lost to brake pad heat. For high speed braking start braking early and gradually to regen all energy. Check your regen gauge to make sure your not maxing it out.

8)Don't get as obsessed with this as I am!