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Premium Member
2,439 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got this info hot off the presses... Thanks for the fax, Dianne!
Long-distance fax call at that! Just to note that this info is being sent
out to dealers... Hopefully I transcribe this 4-page document correctly
(no typos!), as Dianne asked...

page 1:

University of Toyota
Hot Sheet
The Latest Automotive Information for You and Your Customers
February 2004

Prius Fuel Economy: Explaining the EPA Ratings

The 2004 Prius is attracting a large audience that may be new to hybrid
technolgy. Although this vehicle offers remarkable engineering,
outstanding packaging and very low emissions, prospects may be most
impressed by the fuel economy figures. Therefore, it is important that
all sales consultants understand what the EPA-estimated mileage figures
mean and how they should be used. It is equally important that customers
understand this as they make their buying decision.

The EPA mileage figures posted for all vehicles, including Prius, are
estimates. The EPA-estimated ratings for Prius are 60 mpg city, 51 mpg
highway and 55 mpg combined. However, many factors, including weather,
tire pressure, terrain and vehicle load, will affect fuel economy. For
these reasons, Prius drivers may not achieve the EPA estimates in
real-world driving -- just as other drivers may not achieve their car's
EPA-estimated fuel economy. The EPA fuel economy ratings are intended for
comparison only, which means the serve as a useful guide for comparing the
relative fuel efficiency of different vehicles. And, compared to other
midsize cars, Prius is capable of achieving truly impressive and superior
fuel economy.

This Hot Sheet will help you and your customers better understand the EPA
mileage figures. It includes a detailed look at the EPA mileage test, a
discussion of factors that reduce fuel economy and tips for improving

page 2:

Understanding the EPA Tests

* Mileage figures listed on the Monroney label come from the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is an independent federal agency.

* Manufacturers are required by law to use EPA-estimated fuel economy
ratings on every Monroney label and can rely only on these ratings in
advertising that quotes fuel economy figures.

* The EPA tests reflect a portion of real-world driving conditions, but
actual driving is highly variable. The EPA results serve as a guide by
which all vehicles can be compared.

* The EPA tests are conducted in a laboratory that simulates conditions to
allow repeatable results.

* The city miles-per-gallon (mpg) test simulates an 11-mile trip with 23
stops and an average speed of 20 mph.

* The highway mpg test simulates a 10-mile trip with no stops and an
average speed of 48 mph.

* Both EPA tests simulate driving on a level, dry, straight road.

* Both tests are conducted at 68-86 degrees with the vehicle's air
conditioning turned off.

* On the Monroney label, the EPA states "Actual mileage will vary with
options, driving conditions, driving habits, and vehicle's condition."

* Beginning in 1985, EPA results were adjusted down to better reflect
in-use experience from the early 1980s. These adjustments continue today,
but may not reflect your individual experience.

page 3:

Factors That Reduce Fuel Economy

Outside the controlled conditions of EPA tests, many factors can reduce
vehicle mileage. The list below covers some of these factors. Remember
that many vehicles, when driven in real-world conditions, will not achieve
the EPA-estimated fuel economy figures. Nevertheless, Prius is capable of
outstanding real-world mileage that is superior to every other midsize

* Numerous short trips will reduce any vehicle's fuel economy. Every time
a vehicle is started cold, it uses more fuel while warming up.

* Cold weather can reduce any vehicle's fuel economy by 20-35%

* Fuel economy suffers at speeds higher than about 65 mph and drops
significantly above 70 mph.

* Low tire pressure can reduce fuel economy significantly

* The air conditioner and defogger (which automatically turns the air
conditioner on in Prius and most other vehicles) use additional energy and
decrease fuel economy.

* Passengers and cargo add weight and decrease fuel economy.

* Hilly terrain can cause the vehicle to work harder and use more fuel.

* Windy, snowy or wet weather can cause the vehicle to work harder and use
more fuel.

* Rapid acceleration and heavy braking can also lower fuel economy for all

page 4:

8 Techniques to Improve Fuel Economy

Although you may need not drive in any particular manner to get good fuel
economy in Prius, if you want to get the best possible fuel economy, try
the following tips:

1. Plan ahead; try to combine several short trips in order to minimize
cold engine starts.

2. Accelerate at a moderate pace.

3. Monitor the flow of traffic to plan your moves well ahead. If traffic
is slowing, use moderate early braking or coasting instead of hard braking
to enhance fuel economy.

4. Monitor your highway speed. Fuel economy suffers at speeds higher
than about 65 mph and drops significantly above 70 mph.

5. In slow-and-go traffic, accelerate to the desired speed, then lift off
the throttle to maintain that speed under electric power. You may be able
to sustain speeds in the 20-40 mph range in this way without the gasoline
engine running.

6. Regularly check and maintain proper tire pressure.

7. Don't carry unnecessary loads. Excess weight reduces fuel economy.

8. Use the air conditioning and defroster only as needed; both reduce
fuel economy.

Legal University of Toyota fine print here (fine print = smudgy in my fax)

University of Toyota
Toyota Product Education
P/N 00622-04004-V

Premium Member
2,439 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

26 Posts
Based on various postings here and on PriusChat (not my experience, I am still waiting), it appears that the Prius is more sensitive to driving habits than conventional cars. So driving habits that cost 10% of the MPG in a conventional car may cost 20-30% in a Prius.

This would be particularly true with the short trips since the "phase 1" warm up mode has the Prius running between 25 and 30 MPG.

187 Posts
You know what makes me laugh is Ford used the public's misconception about EPA estimates in order to tote their hybrid as being better at achieving "advertised" fuel economy - Ford licensed their hybrid technology from Toyota and it's two generations old compared to the Synergy drive in the 2004.
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