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At which highway/freeway speed to drive to get best mpg

  • 50 mph

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have noticed for the past week with driving between 55 and 50 mph has returned a consistent 50-52 mpg. This is on moderate hills stop and go traffic on highway 101. I have also notice that keeping your momentum is very important especially in stop and go traffic. I tend to hang back and refrain from using the brakes. People do get annoyed with slow accelerations and hanging back to keep a cushion about 6-7 car lengths in front of me.

But the key is keeping your momentum… fast take offs and abrupt or constant braking do nothing but hinder gas mileage and add to the chain reaction of stop and go traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote from The Matrix:
But we already know what you are going to do, don't we? Already I can see the chain reaction: the chemical precursors that signal the onset of an emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason. An emotion that is already blinding you to the simple and obvious truth....
 

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slow and go traffic going 40-50 puts me (in the summer) up around 60 range
 

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Speed for best mpg

I have driven most of the last 21,000 miles on my Prius at speeds between 55 and 60. This returns the best mileage, around 56.8 mpg, with some in town driving included. When I kept up with traffic at 65-70, my average was about 52.4mpg for the first 35,000 miles. I stay to the right whenever possible, and leave plenty of room ahead of me, so that I can adjust speed with the gas pedal instead of the brakes. You are right in that it does indeed frustrate some other drivers, who seem to think that the space ahead of me is wasted, even though all traffic in that lane is going the same speed. The exception to this practice is when I use the HOV lane, and there I go between 65 and 70 if the traffic allows. If the speed goes over that, I usually get out into the regular lanes and slow down. It isn't worth a ticket to me to be in the carpool lane when traffic is doing 75-80 in a 65 zone.
I calculate my mileage myself, and use the MFD, which is usually a little higher, just as a ballpark figure of what I'm getting.
 

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My experience is that slower is better for gas mileage, but I find on my commute it is rarely practical to go much slower than 70. In unscientific experiments driving up and down the boring part of I5, around 50-65 mph, 5 mph is worth 3-5 mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmmm... The differences I see here range anywhere from 2mpg - 5mpg based on environment and road conditions and what not. Now depending on whom you are talking to, 2mpg may seem pretty minimal but now 5mpg that's a lot to someone who drives a lot and needs that extra 5 mpg :p
 
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