3 Tips To Maximize Your Toyota Prius Fuel Economy On A Road Trip
Ah, the open road. Ever since I learned to drive, I have enjoyed countless hours behind the wheel, watching all types of scenery pass by my windows. As I grew older and more aware of what I was driving. I started to realize that if I could gain a couple more miles per gallon, I could get myself that roadside alien jerky I keep hearing about.
Now that I am a seasoned driver with many decades of experience, I have learned a thing or two about maximizing fuel economy. Especially when it comes to a Toyota Prius. What I am about to tell you does require some research and planning, so be aware you will have homework to do before you set out on the road.
If you do these things correctly, you should easily maintain your maximum MPG all day you are driving.
Tip:1 Proper Tire Inflation
Inflating your tires to at least the minimum required spec is necessary to gain the most miles out of your tank. The higher the pressure, the less contact patch you have on the road and the less resistance your Prius will have fighting against it.
Be careful with this tip and consult your local tire shop before going above the recommended tire pressure. Too much tire pressure will cause your Prius to not have adequate traction in wet weather, and that can be disastrous.
I worked for a tire shop for 10 years before I became the automotive expert I am today. I know what safe tire pressure is for my Prius and my keen awareness of the road. You are not me, though, so you will need to find what works best for you and your car.
Expect to gain or maintain optimal fuel economy with slightly overfilled tires. That way, you can feel comfortable about ordering the large fries when you make your pit stops along the way.
Tip 2: Research Your Highway
Believe it or not, our roads have varying weather conditions all year round. Some streets I drive on are guaranteed to have the wind in one direction all the time. Studying when that wind is at its peak will help you know when the prime time is to travel.
Now, can you avoid all lousy weather? Probably not. In my driving experience, there is never a completely perfect time to travel, so you have to keep that in mind. However, if you know a massive snowstorm is coming, it may be a good time to rethink your travel plans.
Tip:3 Take It Easy
Ever see a sign on the road that says Speed Limit? I see them all the time and then wonder why other cars on the road keep passing me. The thing is, those signs are there for more than one reason. Maintaining a moderate and obtainable speed is something you should pay close attention to.
The faster you go, the more wind resistance you will build. The more drag on the car, the harder it has to work to maintain your ludicrous speed (get the reference?) That means you are dumping more fuel down the cylinders.
Staying at or below the speed limit will help ensure you get the most out of every drop. I once did a long-term study on driving in my Prius. I decided to stay safely in the right lane, and if traffic was scarce, go 65 miles per hour instead of 70. The results were terrific. My best MPG to date was that tank of fuel at 60 miles per gallon.
Speed can kill in several ways. First, your gas mileage, and second, you. We have all seen the reckless drivers on the road trying to make up for the lost time. The math behind speeding does not work. You would have to go double your speed and maintain that speed to make sense, which is both dangerous and illegal.
I hope you can take these tips and use them to help keep your wallet happy while you road trip. If you find that alien jerky, let me know, I hear you can get it somewhere in Utah, maybe? Anyway, be sure to follow me on YouTube - The Hybrid Guy, for more help on your Toyota Prius.
That is all for today; I am off to have another adventure. Remember Today's Adventures are Tomorrow's Stories.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.