With the ever-increasing prices at the pump ($5/gal where I am at) and a growing global awareness of environmental concerns(mainly air quality and those who believe in climate change), every drop of fuel saved makes a difference. Toyota's iconic Prius hybrid already stands out as a fuel efficiency leader. But what if we told you there's room for even more savings? Here are ten tried-and-true strategies to extract the best MPG from your Prius.
Pulse and Glide
Master the art of 'pulse and glide.' Gently accelerate to your desired speed, let go of the accelerator, and allow the car to coast. This simple technique reduces fuel consumption and takes advantage of the Prius's hybrid capabilities.
I would practice this mode of driving by myself, as it may annoy passengers (ask my wife) and other drivers on the road. Be alert to your surroundings before executing this "hypermiling" technique.
Engage EV Mode (if equipped)
The Prius's Electric Vehicle (EV) mode (if equipped, sorry, gen1 and gen2 owners) lets you drive short distances using just the electric motor. It's perfect for slow city traffic or navigating parking lots without burning a drop of gasoline.
If you own a Gen 1 or Gen 2 Prius, upgrade your hybrid battery to the Nexpower lithium replacement. Its added battery capacity allows for more EV drive time once the vehicle is fully warmed up and in prime operational mode.
Mind the Air Conditioning
While it's a relief on sweltering days, the air conditioner can drain fuel efficiency. You can use it judiciously and consider the vent setting a more efficient alternative.
Some skeptics will say that Prius is using the battery and the car is off, so how can this play a role in diminished fuel economy?
The answer is simple. If you use power from the battery, it will get recharged from the gasoline engine.
There is one caveat to this. In hotter climates, you must run the air conditioning to help keep the battery cool. So, I think you should plan carefully to keep the a/c off in warmer temperatures.
Monitor, Learn, Adapt
Your Prius comes equipped with an energy consumption display. This real-time feedback is invaluable. Learn from it and adapt your driving habits for optimal efficiency.
I always use mine to monitor how much throttle I need to get the best bang for my buck. Prius will adapt as you learn how to drive the car best.
An efficient shape is one of the Prius's strengths. Enhance it by removing unnecessary external items, like unused roof racks, which can increase drag.
When I hear Prius owners complain of low MPG, the first question I ask is, what modifications have been done to the car?
Anything added to the car that did not come with it will affect the fuel economy. Be aware of this, and you will help your vehicle stay ultra-efficient as long as possible.
Prioritize Tire Care
Tires play a pivotal role in fuel efficiency. Regularly check their inflation levels, and consider upgrading to low rolling resistance variants for even better results.
A good brand of tire is also vital. Make sure you choose a tire that is built around low rolling resistance. The tire will roll more effortlessly on the pavement, and over the lifespan of the tire, it will add up to savings in your pocket.
Embrace smooth driving. Rapid accelerations and hard stops aren't just hard on your vehicle; they're hard on your fuel efficiency.
Easing into that accelerator is critical for optimum fuel economy. Traffic is where Prius can really excel. Smooth acceleration is a tiny part of it, but over 10 gallons, it all adds up.
The Need for (Moderate) Speed
High-speed driving significantly increases aerodynamic drag. Whenever feasible, try to keep your speed below 60 mph.
55mph where you can is undoubtedly the best option. Yes, highway speeds are 80mph now, which kills mpg, but if you are not in a rush, enjoy the drive and slow your roll.
Efficient Route Planning
Avoid traffic congestion and frequent stops. Efficient route planning ensures that your engine remains at optimal operating temperatures, enhancing fuel efficiency.
Just like any other vehicle, a well-maintained Prius performs better. Regular oil changes, air filter replacements, and general engine care can significantly impact your MPG.
While the Toyota Prius already boasts impressive fuel efficiency figures, applying these strategies can help owners achieve even better results. Remember, every mile counts not just for your wallet but for our planet, too. Happy and efficient driving!
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The store, which is located in the Chongqing-JIEFANGBEI Starlight Plaza, features a 3D ground painting that combines the Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai and Chongqing landmarks.
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.