May 18, 2006 at 10:16 pm
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database on GreenHybrid.com.
I just had to share… My mileage for my latest tank of gas? 37.3mpg! That finally bumps my lifetime miles per gallon (LMPG) — the big green number at the top — to nearly 31mpg.
This is for my 8th tank of gas, and includes trips hauling a 5 gallon can of deck/fence stain, various terra cotta pots, two big bags of potting soil, a wrought iron bird feeder pole and other items at various times.
My ‘06 Ford Escape Hybrid was at 2,788 miles on the odometer at fill-up time, so I’m not even officially ‘graduated’ at 3,000+ miles yet!
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May 18, 2006
That’s very cool.
Please pardon my ignorance, but I has also wondered this when reading an older post about how your gas mileage was gradually improving.
Is the improvement based solely on modifying your driving habits or is there also some sort of “priming” that makes hybrid engines run more efficiently after some time?
(This is, of course, counter to conventional wisdom, but hybrids also flip the highway versus city mileage, so anything’s possible!)
May 19, 2006
Lee: The primary factor in a new hybrid’s improving fuel economy is definitely that the driver (me) gets “broken in” — trained in the habits that lead to better fuel economy, by virtue of having an instant miles per gallon and cumulative MPG display showing how jackrabbit starts or highway trips at 75+ adversely impact fuel economy.
However, the common wisdom in the various hybrid owner’s groups is that the engine runs a little rich the first 3000 miles or so, and tends to favor running the gas engine over going into Electric Vehicle (electric only) mode, so fuel economy as the vehicle nears and exceeds those first 3k miles has been observed to improve.
From my Ford Escape Hybrid’s owners manual:
ESSENTIALS OF GOOD FUEL ECONOMY
Your best source of information about actual fuel economy is you, the driver. You must gather information as accurately and consistently as possible. Fuel expense, frequency of fill-ups or fuel gauge readings are NOT accurate as a measure of fuel economy. We do not recommend taking fuel economy measurements during the first 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of driving (engine break-in period). You will get a more accurate measurement after 2,000 miles-3,000 miles (3,000 kmâ€“5,000 km). [Emphasis mine]
– , p. 279
The biggest change to my driving habits is I drive in the right-most lane of traffic now unless I need to pass a hazard (eg. gravel truck spewing rocks) and I drive the speed limit. I used to run at least 5 over the speed limit in my Corolla and cruise in the fast lane on the highway except to let faster traffic pass me. I also
look further ahead and “read” the traffic and traffic lights. If I know for certain I’m going to hit a red unless I accelerate briskly, I ease off the accelerator, coast in and brake gently. And I coast as much as possible — Huebner at NW Military Hwy to Bitters is my favorite coasting area. Start at the top at the speed limit and I can have my foot off the accelerator, picking up speed through momentum, until the uptick in the road before the bank and shopping center on the right. Anyone can coast any vehicle, but the bigger the better — more momentum — and the Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires that are stock on the Escape Hybrid make her *love* to coast long distances.
May 20, 2006
Thanks for the info.
Most, if not all of those driving habit changes would save gas in a conventional car as well.
I have noticed my gas mileage decreasing slightly in my Civic over the years, but I think that has to do with the 100k+ miles I’ve put on it… and maybe a little engine neglect on top of that.
Still, my last tank took me an extra 20 or so miles more than usual because I drove to Austin and back one time.
I’m sure I could easily squeeze some additional miles out of it if I change my driving habits.
I probably commit every fuel-guzzling sin there is: jack rabbit starts, speeding, short trips, et al.
It’s just that my car doesn’t report to me how well I’m doing.
I think I’m going to keep a pen and notepad in the console for recording these details to see exactly how inefficiently I’ve been driving.
May 20, 2006
You might look into a
if you’re really interested in seeing the real time impact on fuel economy that various driving habits have.
Scan Gauges have the added benefit of also reading the various error/trouble codes modern vehicles throw (same thing the auto mechanic gets when they hook up their equipment to a vehicle.)
Scan Gauges are popular with non-hybrid owners, as well as hybrid owners who saved some money by not getting the usually pricey GPS navigation systems (which are almost always bundled with the hybrid-specific energy management/real-time fuel economy displays.)
Worth a look if experimenting with better fuel economy is an interest of yours. The Scan Gauge can be moved around to different vehicles and to my knowledge requires no professional installation, assuming one can find the right port (usually accessible somewhere under the driver’s side dash, without any panels having to be removed.)
I’ve been tempted to get one for our ‘92 Corolla, especially since Justin really misses the hybrid’s realtime fuel economy display when he’s in our other vehicles.
May 22, 2006
Nice piece of hardware, that.
Thanks for the recommendation.
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