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Discussion Starter #1
We purchased a Prius for stop-go local newspaper delivery service in mid-2000.

Drove 27000 miles in 10 months (~100 miles/day) - got exactly 37 MPG. We no longer have the car.

Cannot disclose details.
 
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If you only got that kind of mileage in stop & go driving, you apparently have a lot of problems, particularly if you can't disclose the details! I can easily get 50 to 75 MPG in stop and go driving on my 2002 Prius. You need to drive it like a golf cart which would make sense for delivering newspapers. Did you trade it in for a golf cart????
Maybe you bought one of those 199 dollar Zappy Electric Scooters! Lets have the details Please!!!

regards,
Don
 
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You obviously have never delivered newspapers (or played Golf) or you would know that you can't "drive like a Golf Cart". USA ToDay (or any morning paper) requires that the papers be delivered by 5:30AM. We have 450 home delivery afternoon papers and they have to be delivered by 4:30PM. Golf Cart style driving would take much longer than deadline requirements would permit. In addition it would take a pretty big Golf Cart to hold 450 papers - especially on Sunday. Gimmie a break !

BUT - when we purchased the car we were told "drive it like any other car" not like a Golf Cart. If those were the pre-conditions we would never have purchased. Can you "drive like a Golf Cart" on the Freeway?

I can't disclose the details, because this was the object of a lawsuit (which was settled) but I can tell you the the Cheasapeake Bay Foundation (in nearby Annapolis MD) has 2 of them, and with very careful driving they get about 38MPG. They like the car, however, because of low NOx emission rates. (They also have a Honda.)

My opinion (as an Environmental Engineer) - this car is not "electric enough". It basically operates as a gas vehicle with electric acceleration assist. The Gas mileage increase (3-4 MPG) over say, an Echo, does not justify the complicated power plant (which can only be repaired by specially trained mechanics) and the very-expensive-to-replace battery.

Have you replaced a battery yet ?
 
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Ok, it sounds like you were disappointed with your Prius, but without being willing to give details, we can't help here. Besides that, since you don't have the car anymore, we also can't help. But I wonder what you found that gets anywhere near 37 miles/gallon driving a paper route? Certainly not an Echo (mileage only near Prius on the highway).

Also, unless you drove more than 100,000 miles, you didn't need to replace your battery either (if anyone did, Toyota did). But I guess those are details.

There are many people (including me) happy with the Prius. Nobody should be disuaded from buying one because one person is unhappy but unwilling to discuss "details".

Others owners who are having MPG issues should ask about it here (preferably under the Prius section rather than this Comments section). Often (but not always) a simple solution can be found such as raising tire pressure to between 40 and 50 psi, avoiding useless idling to warm-up the engine, combining trips to avoid trips less than 10 min., checking alignment, etc.

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R. S. (from NJ) I agree with your analysis. Just for the record, back when I was 14 years old (1944/1945) I had a paper route with 140-150 customers, in about a eight block area in Lancaster Pa. I handled the afternoon paper and started about 3:20PM and finished by 4:30PM. I carried them all (150 papers) on my Schwinn 26 inch Bicycle. Was no problem and had no problem with polution. About the only difference was the papers only averaged 16 to 20 pages back in those days!

Regards,
Don
 
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Kenneth, it's not clear from your post whether you are happy with this result or not, but maybe because you don't have the car anymore, you are not. If you were disappointed in the fuel economy, I think you had unrealistic expectations. If I understand paper delivery correctly, you have a small distance between stops and have to move quickly from stop to stop to complete the route in time. A conventional car would deliver very poor economy in this situation. Do you have any figure to which the 37 m.p.g. can be compared? I would guess that a car of similar size, such as a Corolla, would get below 20 m.p.g. Constant acceleration and braking is just like the "jackrabbit starts" we're all supposed to avoid for economy. Also, with continual changes to the power demand, a conventional car would put out a lot of polution, much more than when driving steadily. The Prius is able to keep polution down even in this situation. You did a great service to the environment usind the Prius for this application - it is the perfect choice. Please consider going back to a Prius!

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May I jump in here with an observation? My 2002 Prius is getting much better mileage in highway driving than around town, contrary to what Toyota claims. I'm not complaining, but it was a surprise to me in view of advance expectations based on reviews and other publicity. So 37 mpg under conditions described by Mr. Roberts seems pretty good to me. Maybe we should all be asking whether Toyota's claims are a little bit misleading in this respect?

Are others on this forum getting results similar to mine?
 
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Henry, my 2001 Prius gets better mileage on the highway also. I average
about 42.0 to 43.0 mpg on the highway and about 38.5 to 40.0 in city stop
and start traffic. I do not have cruise contol and have wondered if it made
a increase in mileage in any ones car. Any comments would be appreciated.
 
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My experience has been a lot better mileage in city stop & Go driving. By city driving, I also mean Urban driving or in areas where speed limit is from 25, 35, or 45 MPH. This would include a lot of driving at < 42MPH stealth mode. I can sometimes get 2 or 3 bars in a row at 100 MPG. I noticed from your email address that you are probably from the Phila. area. My best tank was back memorial day weekend when I got 613 miles out of one tank. This included a trip from Ephrata PA to New Hope, & back or about 175 miles on routes 322, 30, 202 via Downingtown, Exton, King of Prussia, Norristown, & Doylestown (lots of cross traffic lights and gridlocked traffic on the Friday before Memorial day). The other was a combination of back road mountains with some interstate 81 from Ephrata to Montrose Pa Via US222, PA61, PA 895, PA 443, US 309 to 81, and 309 & PA29 Again from WilkesBarre to Montrose. That trip was about 320 miles on Monday which was Memorial day and the rest was all local driving during the Memorial day weekend. The temperature was mostly in the Low 80's and I did have the AC on normal while driving fast, however usually opened the windows in the city driving. I have since found that the AC runs very infrequently on normal setting if the outside temp is in upper 70's or low 80's, however when it gets up in the 90's, it's a killer in stop & go driving. Also, I rarely drive with the windows open when going above 45MPH. I try to not use the AC in Stop & go Traffic with the windows open unless it's in the 90's and unbearable. I currently have just over 10,000 miles on my 2002 which was delivered December 14, 2001. As of 8/27 with 9834 miles, I had used 208.444 gallons at a cost of 256.05, and average of 47.1781 MPG. I believe this mileage is slightly higher than John 1701A milage, but PA was very mild last winter compared to Minnesota.

regards,
Don
 
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Discussion Starter #10
For City driving, I suggest you go to John's web-site and check out his Owner advice number 1, and also owner advice number 2. Excellent pointers on how to maximize MPG in city Stealth driving!

regards,
Don
 
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Re: "Maybe we should all be asking whether Toyota's claims are a little bit misleading in this respect?"

Let's keep our claimants straight here. The EPA (motto: your mileage may vary) makes the claim that city mileage exceeds highway mileage. (52/45 city/highway.) The problem is that the "city" driving they simulate is very different from the city driving most people do. Most people don't have their real city mileage in their face as they drive and most people who do a lot of driving (thus care about mileage) do mostly highway mileage, so the bad real-world city mileage gets buried in the average.

Not to let Toyota completely off the hook, they do report the EPA's findings (but maybe by law they have to?).

The consumption display is a great teaching tool that probably contributes its own 2-5 MPG to the overall results of the car, but it does have the drawback of calling attention to all those times when conditions are not ideal for efficiency.

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Rodney, your mileage is about like mine, except I do have cruise control and am getting better highway mileage: typically 45-50 mpg.

Don, yesterday I drove from Allentown to Philadelphia and back (115 turnpike miles) on a fresh tank of gas which already had about 15 miles of city driving (mileage in the 30s). When I got home the readout said 46.4 mpg. Cruise control was set at 65, with several passing bursts up to near 80. I'm aware of stealth techniques in city driving and know how to use them, but usually I "just drive it." I have to admit, though, that I love to show off that 340 lb.-ft. of torque when I'm first off the line at a stop light.

Robert, I was referring to Toyota's mileage claim from their 2002 Prius brochure, to wit: city/highway/combined = 52/45/48 ("Preliminary mileage estimates determined by Toyota. Final EPA mileage estimates not available at time of printing. See your Toyota dealer for details.") Window sticker information says "Results reported to EPA indicate that the majority of vehicles with these estimates [i.e., 52/city, 45/highway] will achieve between 44 and 60 mpg in the city, and between 38 and 52 mpg on the highway." I've never seen any EPA figures for the Prius, and wouldn't believe them anyway. Consumer Reports tested the Prius at 41 mpg overall.

Again, I want to state that I'm not complaining. I love the car!
 
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Robert, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that nobody is claiming anything, or, if they are, they shouldn't be? All the EPA does is to run some tests and report the results after a bit of fudging. This is not a claim about what an owner can expect. At best, it allows you to compare one car to another in roughly similar circumstances. Information given to me privately by Ken shows that in this case this works very well indeed.

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READ THIS!!!! (Re: Prius REAL mileage)

Ken has been good enough to disclose a few details to me privately and has given me permission to publish them to round out this thread. Thanks, Ken!

Ken was seriously mislead about what mileage to expect from the Prius in a delivery situation. I think anyone in any of the Prius technical discussion groups could have sounded an alarm. The figure he was given was absurd (I'd be going to far to give it or to state the exact source, but take it from me it was ridiculous). Although Ken would like to help out on environmental issues, he has to justify the choice of delivery vehicles financially. Using the figure he was given, this was possible for the Prius based on savings in fuel cost. The real economy figure or 37 m.p.g., however, meant that the Prius was more expensive to operate than the other cars used. This is the source of Ken's discontent and the reason he is no longer using a Prius. To recap, the car cannot be justified in this application on financial grounds alone, but Ken was mislead into thinking it could.

So, having explained why Ken is no longer using the Prius, what can we learn from 37 m.p.g.? Ken's other delivery cars are Chevy Cavaliers. They get 15 to 18 m.p.g. on the newspaper delivery circuit. The Prius, then, got more than twice the fuel economy. Is this in line with expectations? The sticker city fuel economy for the Cavalier is about 25 m.p.g., depending on model year and transmission. For the Prius, it is 52. Whoa! Ken's figures are exactly in line - a tad more than twice the economy! We often hear of people who are disappointed in the Prius mileage. Only rarely do they know the mileage their previous car achieved in the same driving pattern. In Ken's situation, the actual mileage is well below the EPA estimate, but the difference is entirely explained by the driving pattern when references to another car.

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Re: READ THIS!!!! (Re: Prius REAL mileage)

Ken has a little more to add, which follows together with my replies:

Yes - EPA mileages are generally over-stated.

But there are 3-4 separate issues:

1. Over-statement of mileage - defense "everybody does it". 50% of 50 mpg is 25 mpg, and 50% of 25 mpg is 12.5 mpg. The're both 50% but I buy gas by the gallon and not by the percent.

Reply: EPA mileages are not really over-stated, they just may not apply to your situation. Modern driving habits are more agressive than when the tests were devised, so arguably everyone's situation leads to poorer fuel economy than the EPA tests would suggest. Even so, my cars prior to the Prius gave me, in summer, marginally better economy than the EPA sticker figures. With the Prius, I'm getting 48 - 50 m.p.g. in mixed driving.

2. Battery life and replacement costs. This is still unresolved. Toyota should guarantee something, or provide for the purchase of extended electrical system coverage. Like a GM new-car extended warranty, for which I gladly pay money and select the mileage and time frame.

Reply: The battery is warranted for 100,000 miles and the taxi in Vancouver has racked up 150,000 miles on the original battery. Replacement cost is, I think, around $7,000 but will fall with time. There is no argument that to some degree Prius owners are putting themselves at some risk to show their committment to the environment. In a worse case scenario, if the Toyota system proves expensive to manufacture and service and the simpler Honda system wins out, we might be stuck with a historical oddity.

3. Very poor tire mileage. The solution here might be a different tire inflated to 60 psi. 13000 miles is not good, and the unique size makes replacements a little pricey (no mass market).

We're all unhappy about this and wish that Toyota could find a better tire for us.

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Ken,

When the dealer said you'd get 60 mpg, he was apparently giving you Toyota's upper figure for city mileage that I cited in my reply to Robert. In the event, this was a vastly inflated estimate, and since you bought the car with that kind of expectation, I'm not at all surprised that you were disappointed, to say the least. Clearly we have here a concatenation of misleading claims promulgated by an overzealous salesman creating false expectations and subsequent disappointment---I'm trying to avoid strong language such as "lies," "hype," etc., etc.---so that what ultimate emerged was indeed a worst case scenario.
 
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Re: READ THIS!!!! (Re: Prius REAL mileage)

Graham:
Very well satisfied with my Potenza Tires. Had them rotated at 6,000 and now have 10,183 miles and looks like all four are wearing perfectly even and about 80% of the tread is left. Never had the alignment checked unless they didn't tell me! Have been running 42/40 since day one and have no complaint whatsoever on the JDH4201 50psi tires. Will know more in a year or two but would guess they will probably go 30 to 40 M miles. Anybody know what they cost as opposed to the higer priced brands others are switching to???

regards,
Don
 
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Re: Tires

Don, I take your point. I am not as dissatisfied as others, but I'm still coming from tires that last 60,000 miles and up so the Potenzas are not great. They're also not cheap. I think you can say goodbye to the best part of $100 per tire. Since used tires are an environmental problem, many people think the Prius tires should be long-lasting. Overall, I think the tires are an area of dissatisfaction.

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Prius MPG

Hi.. I am just browsing the topics here... It is interesting to say the least. I drove a Prius the other day. And I liked it alot. I have driven and Insight, and a new Civic Hybrid also.
There is no question which I would buy. The Prius is a much nicer car to drive and it has a very high tech feel to it. I found it significantly more powerfull than the Civic HB.
I am a pizza delivery guy, and I do a lot of stop and go driving and I don't have time to baby the gas pedal, I currently drive an 89' Honda CRX HF, and I average about 38MPG city, 48MPG highway beating the heck out of it everyday. Car has 190K on it.
My only concern about the Prius would be the battery replacement. The salesman said that there are 12 batterys. And that each cost about $85.00 so one needs to figure in the $1000 into the cost of ownership. I could live with a $1,000 repair if I could get the mileage quoted. but if the batterys are going to cost the $7K I have seen posted.. FORGET IT!!
I would never recover the money. I am ALL FOR helping out with the enviroment.. but only to a point. That kind of hit in the wallet is WAY too much. I realize it is a very clean car SULEV and all. But I drive over 40,000 miles a year. and the batterys last 150K? So in less than 4 years I am looking at a $7K repair bill??? NO WAY. I'll stick with my Honda CRX.
If I was looking at a new car I would have to look at a new VW diesel. They are getting 45 City 49 HW and I would not have any battery or hybrid powertrain concerns. The Diesel is definatly not a SULEV car. But saving $$$ in my pocket is my first concern. I really like the Prius A LOT. but for me there is just more too it then the enviroment, and the MPG.
 

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Prius MPG - pizza delivery

kens97sto171, if "saving $$$ in my pocket is [your] first concern", forget hybrids for a few years. You are driving a fuel efficient car already so nobody's going to think you uncaring about the environment. If you switch to a diesel, be aware that they are rather dirty in the US because of the type of fuel available and this offsets their fuel economy.

A taxi driver in Vancouver has passed 150,000 miles in his Prius, but your concern about battery replacement is not without justification. In four years, when you come to it, we hope the cost will have gone down, but that is only a hope and we can't be sure. If GM/Ovonic get rough in court with Panasonic, things could go the other way. If GM wants to kill hybrid cars, this would be one way to go about it.

In general, it is best to assume that anything a salesman tells you about the Prius is wrong. The Prius has one battery, consisting of 38 7.2V modules, each module having six 1.2V cells. Its current replacement cost is about $5,000.
 
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