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I have had my Prius 5 weeks. It came with a full tank. I have filled it twice. I am averaging 38mpg. What happened to "50mpg"???
 
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It might depend on how you drive

From personal experience, the Prius will get much better mileage the slower you go, in other words, the more you run off battery power alone. When you are on the highway at 70 mph, or above, that is when you will get your worst mileage because the gas engine will always be on and burning fuel. The awesome thing about a Prius is that stop and go traffic will actually up your mileage because the engine typically will only run long enough to charge the battery.
 

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Marion said:
I have had my Prius 5 weeks. It came with a full tank. I have filled it twice. I am averaging 38mpg. What happened to "50mpg"???
What model Prius do you have? Has it recently been serviced?

What is your driving conditions? How far (miles) do you drive, how long (time) do you drive, how often do you drive it? What sort of terrain (hills, flat, lots of stops, all high-speed highway, etc.)?

What temperature is it where you live? Do you use the AC, heater, or front windshield defroster?

What are your tire pressures?

How much stuff (cargo, people) do you usually drive with? Any roof cargo boxes?


High speeds kill mileage (for any car), as wind resistance increases by a square of your speed...
Make sure that your tire pressures are at the Toyota specs (35psi front, 33 psi rear) at a minimum.
If you don't need to be carrying around extra weight (usual example is golf clubs), then don't carry it.
Note that EPA tests are done at 68-86^F, where you wouldn't have the extra gasoline engine draw of heat or AC...
Only do short trips (<5-10min)? The Prius is still in low-emissions warmup mode, running the gasoline engine... Try combining trips (as short trips in any car leads to lower MPG).
Some dealerships at services may lower your tire pressures at servicing, or overfill the oil, or use the wrong oil type (should be 5W30, dealers like using cheaper bulk 10W30 which is thicker)
 

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Michele ( http://www.priusonline.com/viewtopic.php?p=5535#5535 ):
Thanks for your detailed response. My prius a 2004 model, has under 1400 miles on it now. Living in the LA area, I drive "city" and Freeway in warm weather and have been using my air conditioner infrequently since I bought the Prius. I probably encounter "hills" only a little more than average. I do not carry heavy loads. I have been concentrating on trying to treat my accelerator gently and have only increased my mileage to about 40.5 mpg. There was an article in the local newspaper - turns out that most owners in this area are getting about 34 to 40mpg. That does not make me feel any better when you consider the advertised 50 to 60mpg that is advertised. Marion Mandeson
 

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Hi Marion,
How much "city" driving? The EPA version of city driving is a lot different from the - bumper to bumper stop every block or two for a light - city driving many of us think of when we hear the word.

Anyway, consider not being quite so gentle on the accelerator. Get up to speed relatively quickly by pushing it down 1/2 to 2/3. When you reach the speed you want to travel, let off it completely, then press down just enough to maintain speed (or engage cruise control if in a safe situation to do so).

It really is important to check your tire pressure.

It doesn't take too many short (less than 10 minute) trips to kick your mileage down to the 35 - 40 range.

Do you have any records of mileage from your previous car? It was probably a lot less.

Be sure to review all the great mileage tips at http://john1701a.com
 

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The mileage issue has been a big one on all the Prius discussion boards & groups. The EPA (not Toyota) tested the car and produced the 60/51 figures that Toyota is required to put on the stickers.

Your mileage will be considerably less if you:

1. drive in cold weather;
2. use the cabin heater or the A/C;
3. take short trips;
4. accelerate too hard;
5. accelerate too gently;
or lots of other stuff.

Supposedly your mileage will improve as the car gets broken in (several thousand miles).

Some people really do get 55 mpg. Reportedly some guy in Japan got 75 mpg. His list of mileage tips included such things as "Eat drive-through junk food so your engine never cools off." He got 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas, but in Japan the tank holds more gas because it does not have the flexible bladder.

Spend sime time at john1701a's web page. There's LOTS of both interesting and useful info there on both the Classic ('01-'03) and the '04 Prius.
 

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Marion said:
My prius a 2004 model, has under 1400 miles on it now. Living in the LA area, I drive "city" and Freeway in warm weather and have been using my air conditioner infrequently since I bought the Prius.
Hi Marion.

I was a little anxious about my mileage when I first got my car as well. I'm about to hit 2K and I've already noticed my mileage going up. I was getting about 42 MPG for my commute, which is only 4 miles on crowded city streets with some hills.

Now I'm getting about 48 MPG. I'm learning how to find the sweet spot of coasting without regen (which can sap speed) and the technique that Michele mentioned where you accelerate to speed and then feather the pedal to find stealth at about 33 MPH.

It will get better. That short heat wave we had a few weeks back really kicked up my mileage, too. I'm able to get 54-60 MPG on my twice monthly trips from LA to Orange County, so I know my car is capable of it. Give it a little time and experiment with your driving technique and keep and eye on your tire pressure - as soon as it gets warmer you should definitely check it.
 

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break-in

most Prius owners report that after
a break-in period of a few thousand
miles, their mileage usually seems
to go up. no one can figure if it's
the car limbering up, or the owner
learning how to drive it in a more
fuel-efficient manner, or a combination
of both.

I'll note that whenever my husband
drives my 2001 Prius, he always gets
better MPG (for the same route!) when
driving as compared to when I drive it.
That's why I never complained when
he'd rather take my car compared to
his car... But, now he's got a Prius (2004)
of his own, he never wants to take my car!
Driving style makes a big difference.
 

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Disappointed in Fuel Economy

I'm disappointed in the fuel economy as well - the expectations were pretty high when I bought the car. I have about 11k miles on my 2004, driving here in Mississippi. My drive to work is 25 miles - 15 miles at 55 mph, 10 miles at 65 mph. Out in the sticks - there is no traffic and only one stop sign on the way in.

Tried the higher tire pressure, insignificant change in mpg - just made the ride rougher was the main thing. I'm the only one in the car, so weight is not a big issue (I could loose a few pounds though). Since I'm in MS, the weather is pretty mild.

My average is between 44 mpg and 48 mpg. After reading mrv's post from Toyota, I can see that the EPA's test is not in any world I have lived in.

marion - don't think I helped any, just echoed your complaint. My main benefit is that I had been driving a Ford Ranger and getting about 16 mpg. That and the tax credit makes it worth it. Using it on company trips is great - getting reimbursed 0.37/mile - I make a killing!
 

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EPA Mileage "estimates"

Well, one thing to remember is that the advertised mpg ratings of vehicles are totally inaccurate. I don't know how they come up with these things, but nobody ever seems to get anywhere close to the mileage estimates in any vehicle. I suppose somebody somewhere makes a few financial "donations" to the good folks doing the tests, and *poof*, the tests somehow return ridiculously inflated mileage estimates. I don't see how these estimates could be so far off "accidently", if you see what I mean; It's just hard believe that the consistently incorrect estimates, which always favor the automobile manufacturers instead of the consumers, are "accidental" in any way.

When I look at the blatantly fraudulent claims, oops, I mean "mileage estimates" on the window stickers, I multiply by approx .75 (in other words, I assume I'll only get 75% of what they claim I'll get) and I've found that this is surprisingly accurate).

Just placed an order for a new Prius today, I expect to get in the mid 40s.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I really appreciate all the input. I am trying really hard to drive with the fuel consumption in mind - following your suggestions. So now I'm doing slightly better: 39.4mpg instead of 38.6. Pretty ridicilous. Sure it is better than my 6 cylinder '93 Camry was getting (18mpg) - but so what! I am pleased with the car otherwise - but the mileage is a huge disappointment.
Marion Mandeson
 

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Re: EPA Mileage "estimates"

Panjandrum said:
Well, one thing to remember is that the advertised mpg ratings of vehicles are totally inaccurate. I don't know how they come up with these things, but nobody ever seems to get anywhere close to the mileage estimates in any vehicle. I suppose somebody somewhere makes a few financial "donations" to the good folks doing the tests, and *poof*, the tests somehow return ridiculously inflated mileage estimates. I don't see how these estimates could be so far off "accidently", if you see what I mean; It's just hard believe that the consistently incorrect estimates, which always favor the automobile manufacturers instead of the consumers, are "accidental" in any way.

When I look at the blatantly fraudulent claims, oops, I mean "mileage estimates" on the window stickers, I multiply by approx .75 (in other words, I assume I'll only get 75% of what they claim I'll get) and I've found that this is surprisingly accurate).

Just placed an order for a new Prius today, I expect to get in the mid 40s.

A brief description of the EPA test cycles is here:
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/info.shtml#estimates

<blockquote>
How are fuel economy estimates obtained?

The fuel economy estimates are based on results of tests required by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These tests are used
to certify that vehicles meet the Federal emissions and fuel economy
standards. Manufacturers test pre-production prototypes of the new
vehicle models and submit the test results to EPA. EPA re-tests about
10% of vehicle models to confirm manufacturer's results. The vehicles
are driven by a professional driver under controlled laboratory
conditions, on an instrument similar to a treadmill. These procedures
ensure that each vehicle is tested under identical conditions;
therefore, the results can be compared with confidence.

There are two different fuel economy estimates for each vehicle in the
Fuel Economy Guide, one for city driving and one for highway driving.
To generate these two estimates, separate tests are used to represent
typical everyday driving in a city and in a rural setting. Two kinds
of engine starts are used: the cold start, which is similar to
starting a car in the morning after it has been parked all night; and
the hot start, similar to restarting a vehicle after it has been
warmed up, driven, and stopped for a short time.

The test used to determine the city fuel economy estimate simulates an
11-mile, stop-and-go trip with an average speed of 20 miles per hour
(mph). The trip takes 31 minutes and has 23 stops. About 18 percent of
the time is spent idling, as in waiting at traffic lights or in rush
hour traffic. The maximum speed is 56 mph. The engine is initially
started after being parked overnight. Vehicles are tested at 68 F to
86 F ambient temperature.

The test to determine the highway fuel economy estimate represents a
mixture of "non-city" driving. Segments corresponding to different
kinds of rural roads and interstate highways are included. The test
simulates a 10-mile trip and averages 48 mph. The maximum speed is 60
mph. The test is run with the engine warmed up and has little idling
time and no stops (except at the end of the test).
</blockquote>


I also suggest reading the following article (with plenty of citations
for source data):
http://www.bluewaternetwork.org/reports ... ehood2.pdf
"FUEL ECONOMY FALSEHOODS: How government misrepresentation of fuel
economy hinders efforts to reduce global warming and US dependence on
foreign oil" by the Bluewater Network, 2002


note that the tests were developed
in the 70s, with a ratio fudge-factor
set in the 80s... driving patterns
have changed a lot since the last
time the tests were updated.
 

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MPG in LA

Hi Marion,

I live in LA, Echo Park - lots and lots of hills, and have had my Prius since 2.20.02. I drive about 2-3 miles through some hills on city streets, then drive mostly on the freeway and flat surface streets the next 12 miles to work. The hills are really what kills my mpg. I am still learning how to control my acceleration and make the most of going down hills to regenerate and milk the mpg. I have read that many people don't have full regeneration - that the indicator never turns green indicating a full charge, but the hills around my home really help with that. I nearly always have a full battery when I leave home and when I return home. At first my mpg was in the high 30's, but it has gradually been increasing. I'm getting 48 - 50mpg now, I am assuming (and hoping) it will continue to gradually increase. I've also heard that people have had their mpg go up after taking roadtrips of 1,000+ miles. I'm going on one soon, so I'll find out!

Good luck!
 

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I also get ~38mpg commuting.
My commute is all of 11 minutes long, which means practically all of my commuting is done while the ICE is just warming up, not in it's most efficient mode. That's true for ANY ICE.
At the end of a recent 2 hr interstate trip, my milage was still climbing at 51.2mpg. Average speed was ~67mpg, using cruise cntl, outside temp ~40 F, tires 35/33psi. 2 wks ago a cross county trip gave me 52 mpg.
 

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04preius said:
I also get ~38mpg commuting.
My commute is all of 11 minutes long, which means practically all of my commuting is done while the ICE is just warming up, not in it's most efficient mode. That's true for ANY ICE.
WOW!!! You are the first poster I've seen with mileage as low as mine. (Around 38 mpg for the present tank, though as the weather warms up it is improving and I am near the end of the tank and this average includes some colder weather earlier.) I also have a short commute, around 10 to 12 minutes. -- And I also get much better mileage on those occasional longer drives.

I am so glad to see that it's not just me!

I have to say that, while in retrospect I understand all the reasons and justifications and factors, it was a BIG disappointment, expecting to get 60 mpg city and getting 29 mpg instead in our bitterly cold January (short commute with the heater at full blast).

I am extremely happy with the car. But my previous car (an '89 Civic) got exactly the mileage on the window sticker (measured on a long highway commute in summer) and I wish I had known beforehand what to really expect ith the Prius.
 

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it was a BIG disappointment, expecting to get 60 mpg city and getting 29 mpg instead in our bitterly cold January (short commute with the heater at full blast).
But my previous car (an '89 Civic) got exactly the mileage on the window sticker (measured on a long highway commute in summer)
:shock: Sorry to say that, but your reasoning sounds really absurd to me !! You complain about poor fuel economy for short commutes during winter with the Prius, and talk about your previous vehicle that was achieving EPA estimates... under completely different circumstances. Owning a Prius does not exempt you from using your brain sometimes. The Prius WILL achieve window sticker mileage (and even more) in the same case.

Don't want to offend you, but please be more sensible next time...
 

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Frenchie, I am not complaining. I am saying that I was disappointed because, at the time I bought the car, I did not have enough information to understand the mileage issues.

I had read some reviews of the car, all of which touted the EPA estimates with no mention of real-world mileage. I had previous experience with a car that did get EPA mileage - perhaps because I had measured it on long highway commutes in summer. And my dealer had suggested that I really would get the EPA figures by making jokes about driving for a month between fill-ups.

I knew that mileage is not as good in cold weather, but I had never actually measured my Civic's mileage in winter, or after having moved to town and changed from long highway commutes to short city commutes, so I did not know how great the difference would be.

And then, instead of the touted 60 mpg city, I got 29 mpg on my first tank!

I was disappointed.

Then I began reading these discussion boards and learned the issues involved.

It's a great car, and I love it. I am confident that my mileage will get much better in summer. It is already 10 mpg better than it was in January. And I know now that it would be even better if I had longer trips.

But at the time I bought it, I had no reason to think that my mileage would be significantly less than the EPA estimates, let alone half, and I was disappointed. I even thought that there was something wrong with my particular car, until I began searching the internet and found discussion boards and learned the facts.

Disappointment is a human emotion. If a receptionist tells you you're going to have to wait a half an hour and you actually have to wait an hour, you're going to be disappointed. If she tells you you're going to have to wait an hour and a half, and you actually have to wait the same hour, you're going to be happy. You waited the same hour in either case.

In my previous post, I was commenting on the disappointment that many of us felt when the reality did not meet our expectations. The expectations were inflated, but many of us lacked adequate information before taking delivery on the car, and so the disappointment was inevitable. And those of us with very short commutes in the bitterly cold winter weather of the northern plains were hardest hit.

People who are fortunate enough to read boards like this before taking delivery of their cars will have more realistic expectations. And the longer the car is on the market, the greater will be the diffusion of information to the public. And perhaps by next winter dealers will have heard about the mileage issue and be able to explain it to their customers. (I don't know if the Classic had the same issue. I know only one person who drives a Classic, and she never mentioned it to me. And I had no particular reason to ask.)
 

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Marion said:
I have had my Prius 5 weeks. It came with a full tank. I have filled it twice. I am averaging 38mpg. What happened to "50mpg"???
I received a 2004 Prius in Nov. 2003. It is our third Prius. We are very disappointd with the MPG. Contrary to the advertisements, it gets 15-20% poorer gas mpg than either of our earlier model (2001, 2002) I checked these mileage figures while driving both the new model and older model in tandem, on highways, cities, combined and mountains. In all cases the older model was far superior. Highway: 60.1 in older, 47 in newer. City: 48 in older, 40 in newer. We are very sad that we traded our older model in on the newer. We have done everything to get the mileage up. No luck. I have contacted Toyota about returning the newer one in return for the earliar model. Turns out Toyota sold the older model line to a different manufacturer, so no luck. The dealer said that they would go with me in Arbitration to Toyota to get my money back under the terms of the lemon laws. Toyota said that they are aware of the problem and catching a lot of grief (rightfully so) particularly from the previous model owners who are all disappointed. Toyota said that they have a fix coming out in late summer. I guess we will wait and see. In the meantime, those whom I know who wish to buy a Prius I point them in the direction of a low mileage used older model. As of now the older model was a much better automobile.
 
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