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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Default New to the whole hybrid thing...

As my s/n is ALTenglvr I love alternative energy. I heat my house with waste engine oil hey i get it free from a friend who is a mechanic... It sure beats spending tons for home heating oil! I would love to have solar panels but they are pricey, ANYWAYS!! I currently have been bitten by the Prius bug. But i have heard some things about them... So i have questions being im new to the idea. My cousin owns one and its had a few recalls none he would explain in depth but i know one had to do with a battery pack??

He also claims the Prius requires a special tire because they have alot of weight over the front axle? Is this true?
So the chevy volt caught my eye but i dont know about spending that much on something that new without all the bugs to be worked out. There is one thing that does concern me that i have witnessed while on the road, so i will be blunt about it. Why is it that every Prius i come across always goes slower than posted speed limits? Do they lack power because they are heavy? Or does the electrical end not have enough power to keep it going at highway speeds of 55-70? My cousin does mostly highway driving and claims to get 26mpg. I thought it would be higher but i do like his car for the looks and for how quiet it is. I looked at a little honda thingy but its too small for me. Im 6'1 244 pounds and the prius is somewhat comfortable.

I would like to know more about it but i dont have the time to stop in at a toyota dealership to speak with a salesmen and mechanic. I found out on my current ride that i should have talked to the mechanics first and salesmen second.
I appreciate any and all help!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 09:46 AM
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Default Re: New to the whole hybrid thing...

Here's all the info you need...
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-15-2011, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: New to the whole hybrid thing...

Hey, ALTenglvr82787,

No, the Prius doesn't lack power because of too much weight (which it isn't really) nor does it have a wimpy electric motor. The top speed of the Prius is 106 MPH (& that's NOT going down hill). In fact, Al Gore's son was clocked by police in California at that speed while he was trying to get his drug laden Prius away from them. Most likely the slow Prius drivers you have witnessed are only trying to get the best mileage possible by NOT driving like a Jack-rabbit & they may also be using the common "pulse & glide" technique known to assist Prius drivers to get the most mileage out of their cars. The faster you drive, the more you waste gas, just like in a normal car.

Your cousin is getting horrible gas mileage if he is only getting 26 MPG. In normal around-town driving (that usually includes some combination of highway driving too), it's not unusual to get 38-42 MPG in the cold winters with the heater blasting & some pre-driving, warm-up time. In the spring & fall (summer too, if the A/C is used gently) that MPG number is more like 46-48 MPG. Many times on 200- 300 mile trips with average terrain (gentle hills, but NO steep ones), I've come almost home with a reading on the dash of between 56-58 MPG, then on my last 5 miles of up-hill climb to my home it can knock only about 1 MPG off that. There are even some people who can get up to 60 MPG out of their Prius without too much trouble.

I almost forgot about the tire question. No the Prius doesn't REQUIRE "special" tires. They should however be of the proper load rating for the car (as with tires for any other car). I believe for the Prius it has to be a load rating code of 86 (or higher if you choose). The one thing you would WANT to do (as far as a "special" tire) is to get a brand & model tire that is rated as a Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tire. These help you get the best mileage possible out of any car (including the Prius) & if you pump up the tire pressures to 42 PSI for the front & 40 PSI for the rears (assuming you have tires that are max pressure rated of 44 PSI or better---stamped on the tire sidewall), you'll also get some terrific MPG as well as less tire wear than leaving them at the 35 PSI (F) & 33 PSI (R) specified on the door pillar (& you're doing nothing dangerous or illegal by going above the pressures specified on the door pillar sticker, as long as you don't go above the max pressure stamped on the tire sidewall). I highly believe your cousin is getting such crappy MPG out of his Prius because he may not be using LRR tires or he may be running the pressures at or below the door pillar label #'s [just one tire being low can cause a serious drop in MPG---more noticeable on the Prius because of the real-time digital readout it gives (calculated by the car's computer based on the "open" time of the #1 cylinder's injector nozzle), than on other cars where the owner has to wait until he re-fuels to manually figure MPG's by dividing miles driven by the total amount of gallons of gas added at the re-fill].

I hope some of this info has been helpful to you. Do a search on this site or over at for LRR tires-current list (if you don't get the Current List, then all of the tires on the old list from a few years back have been dis-continued.

Ken (in Bolton,Ct) 2005 Pkg #4 (AM)
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: New to the whole hybrid thing...

I agree with Ken's comments above regarding 26 mpg. Your cousin must be driving with low tire pressures and hot rodding around town or on the highway. Or perhaps, he has found the elusive route that is always uphill. Most Prius owners try to take that route, but on the otherside of the road (the constant downhill side).

If you want to maximize your mileage in town, driving at 41 mph or below with the cruise will yield the best fuel economy, because the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) runs less below 42 mph and when the cruise control is on. Try accelerating briskly (with our 2002, I floor it) to 30-35 mph to get ahead of the other traffic, click the cruise on, then click up one mph at a time to the speed limit (most surface streets are 40 or 45 mph in Phoenix). Getting ahead of the traffic minimizes the amount of time the ICE runs, decreasing your mpg, and allows you to accelerate more slowly optimizing fuel use without holding up the other drivers (which irritates them to no end). Also, anticipate the next stop light and coast as far as possible (usually up to 1/2 mile) by clicking the cruise down, one mph at a time, clicking when the ICE starts running and maximizing the time the electric motor is powering the car, exclusively.

I drive the same route on surface streets everyday, and someone I know at work asked me one day if I drove a little white car. They said they drove behind me one day, and couldn't figure out what I was doing, taking off like a shot at every light, then starting to slow down halfway to the next traffic light. They said it was kind of annoying, but I seemed to also hit almost all of the lights green, all the way across town. I explained that I was using that technique to get 53.5 mpg. Now, whenever our paths cross on the daily commute, I find them in my rear-view mirror all the way to work.

Wind resistance is the real culprit at highway speeds. On the highway, 55-65 (or even 45, if you aren't in a hurry and/or don't have to worry about getting rear-ended), again on cruise, will yield good fuel mileage. We have a Tundra, which is a huge vehicle compared to a Prius, and different speeds make a remarkable difference in mileage. Driving the same route, Phoenix to Tucson, on I-10, which is extremely flat, at 75 mph, it gets 16.5 mpg. At 55 mph, it gets 23.5 mpg. On the same route, our 2002 Prius gets 41 mpg at 75, and 46 at 55 mph.
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