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Here is some interesting (bad) news about the EPA Mileage Estimates and Hybrids in particular. Not that this isn't anything we don't already know. I'm perfectly happy with my 2003 model (currently averaging 43mpg over the last 17,000 miles. This was 46mpg just before our long Michigan winter), but we definitely aren't getting anywhere close to the estimates. New info seems to be suggesting that the EPA estimates are even more "optimistic" for Hybrids than for traditional vehicles.

In other news; I was listening to NPR the other day and the EPA is getting complaints about how inflated the mileage estimates are on nearly ALL current vehicles. They are thinking about changing the methods of testing. YEAH! I for one would like to be able to purchase a vehicle and know I could expect something at least close to what the sticker says.

Here are the links:

http://www.wired.com/news/autotech/0,25 ... _tophead_1

http://hybridbuzz.blogspot.com/
 

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I drive conservatively with an eye towards high mileage. My commute is 62 miles round trip with several shorter trips during the day. My commute is 75 percent highway with about half of that being back country roads. All of my commute is mildly hilly. I currently have just over 4000 miles on the car. I am running 42/40 psi in the tires. Temeratures are in the 70s.

Tank before last I filled up with 10.7 gallons for 637 miles which equals 59.5 MPG. My last tank, I refilled with 12, yes 12 gallons for 603 miles which equals 50 MPG. On that tank I completely ignored mileage but drove somewhat conservatively, except when demonstrating the acceleration capabilities of the car. My current tank is showing 61 MPG after 185 miles.

These numbers are substantially higher than the EPA estimates and there are factors that caused them to be lower than they could have been. Just driving it like I used to drive which is to say, agressively, would get me figures in the mid 40s for my conditions. I also expect to get better mileage with time and synthetic oils when the time comes.

I believe the true value of this car is that it empowers us to get great mileage. None of my past vehicles gave significantly better mileage when driven conservatively. Actually, the true value is in it's emissions, which are just incredible. In summary, EPA estimates are not inflated but driving styles and environmental conditions can cause your mileage to vary. I think they may say something like that right on the sticker. YMMV

Ray
 

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Based on what I am seeing, with my just drive it! driving style, in last week's 50's temps, after the initial 5-minuite warm-up period I believe the only thing wrong with the EPA tests is that they were done at ideal temperatures, over a long enough course to minimize the effects of those first 5 minutes.

Toyota's big mistake was releasing this car in the fall, so most current owners got theirs in winter.

There ain't no flies on this car. We just don't always have the ideal conditions under which the EPA tested it.[/b]
 

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I drive about 80 miles a day on my commute to my job in downtown Baltimore. I have been thinking about getting a hybrid for my commute travels. But the actual mpg I have seen posted for hybrids doesn't seem very positive. About 2/3 of my drive is fast moving freeway ( ~ 70-75 mph ) and about 1/3 is slower with some stop and go. I am getting about 24.5 mph on a 2001 Vet ( 6 speed ), 21 mpg on a 1999 Olds ( my beater ) and I previously got about 26 mpg on Toyota Celica ( automatic 1996, nice but slow & totaled ). It would be nice to get 50 mpg for this commute. The EPA needs to get realistic, real world numbers for fuel mileage so consumers have a real benchmark to make their puchase decisions.
 

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Texel,

The EPA uses the same tests on every vehicle. As a result you can compare different cars. Your mileage will differ from the EPA results as you do not drive the same as they do. I have had no problem exceeding the EPA values on both Hybrids and non-hybrids. Likewise if you drive 75 mph on the freeway don't expect to get the EPA results. Have fun, Rick
 

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Texel, for the first 5 minutes of your drive you'll probably get around 25 mpg in winter, 30 mpg in summer. Then, with the engine warm, you'll probably get around 50 mpg on the highway and 55 to 60 in the city streets with stop-and-go. In winter if you run the cabin heater you'll get much less, but still probably much better than your other cars. Have you ever tracked the mileage in those cars in winter?

On the other hand, you will never pay for the difference with gas savings. Over the life of the car, a good used economy car will cost you less to operate than any new car, including a hybrid.

High mileage is not the reason to buy a Prius, it's just a bit of frosting on an already great cake.

For the EPA to be truely "realistic" it would have to test every car under a hundred different kinds of conditions because each of us has different trip lengths, road & traffic conditions, driving styles, etc.
 
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