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Hybrid Drivers Provide Real-World Mileage Data

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the what-about-all-those-batteries dept.

Technology 1167

Jason Siegel writes "Hybrid cars seem like the answer to rising gas prices, increased pollution and growing dependence on foreign oil, yet EPA tests have failed to produce reliable mileage estimations for consumers. Dependable fuel economy figures are now available at GreenHybrid.com, where hybrid owners have logged over 5,000,000 miles of driving information in real-world conditions. Unlike government tests and individual accounts, the database analyzes thousands of actual experiences to provide true mileage statistics." Read on for the rest.

The hot-selling Toyota Prius averages 48 miles per gallon among over 150 cars from across the country, with most drivers achieving between 45 and 51. The V-6 Honda Accord Hybrid delivers 30 miles per gallon while Ford's Escape Hybrid SUV averages 28. All hybrid owners are encouraged to post their data for these and other cars on the Internet's largest hybrid mileage database.

Reliable fuel economy figures are increasingly important as consumers explore their options in an emerging hybrid car market. Hybrids, like the new Lexus RX 400h, pair combustion engines with electric motors that recharge while driving to improve gas efficiency. "Until lately," said GreenHybrid creator Jason Siegel, "consumers have associated hybrid vehicles with a small niche of fuel-conscious environmentalists, but today's hybrids offer the best combination of high performance, great mileage and luxury features of any cars on the market."

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MPG science (5, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483822)

You know, I'm starting to wonder if some of those gas saving tips like "start and stop slowly" have been backed up with real world testing. I just spent the last three weeks testing the hypothesis that "driving smoothly" (ie, starting up slowly and anticipating stoplights, etc. saves a lot of gas. Here was my test. By the way, I have a 2004 Honda CR-V that gets a rated 24 MPG Highway:

  • Fill up tank with gas (til the auto stop turns off)
  • Drive smoothly for the whole tank (tried to never let RPMs go above 2500)
  • At end of tank, calculate gallons to fill back up and miles traveled
  • Drive through another tank of gas, but this time very agreessively.
    Basically, I floored it when taking off and took the car to the max.
  • Make same MPG calculation at end of tank.

You know what I found, I got 25 MPG in BOTH cases. In fact, I got slightly better milage when I was agreessive. Granted, this was not completely scientific, but it made me wonder about doing more accurate testing. I expected to see a 5-10 MPG difference. To follow up, I drove the last tank at a normal "in-between pace".

I was talking to someone at work about it and they thought that maybe today's engines are tuned so well and change with different environments that it doesn't make a difference. It only makes a difference if you are stopped a lot like in traffic jams.

Anyone in Central Indiana want to join me for some more scientific testing?

Re:MPG science (5, Interesting)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483846)

One thing that does make a difference is how fast you drive on the highway. I know I get much worse mileage driving at 80-90 than I do at 60-70.

Re:MPG science (1)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483874)

Ok, that is what I've heard a lot of people say as well. I thought I had the same intuitive feeling about "driving smoothly" as well, until I measured it. Maybe you should measure it sometimes. Of course, driving faster has other incalculable impacts such as paying for tickets, higher insurance and accidents.

Re:MPG science (0, Troll)

Lord Prox (521892) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483978)

As a driver in LA I can tell you from countless hours on the 405, 605, 91, and other freeways that the mileage you get at 80mph is nearing an order of magnitude better than 2.5 - 7 mph that you normally get in SoCal. Smooth or not smooth, that best mileage is in 5th gear not at idle. If the Feds want to improve fuel economy and air polution that could start by reducing the number of people (cars) on the road. [reportillegals.com] Please note: This is not a troll, just my opinion from living and working in SoCal. YMMV

Re:MPG science (5, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483878)

Which is exactly why the speed limit when from 70 to 55 durring the oil crisis. Someone will correct me, but wind resistance is cubed every time you double your speed. Our old '84 caddilac with trip computer got 25mpg at 64mph, but got 17-19mpg at 70mph. Closer to 28mpg at 55mph.

Re:MPG science (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483882)

Throw in a turbo charger and it just DRINKS gas.

I've got a '96 Eclipse GSX (Turbo and AWD, no not riced out just stock) and driving from home to the mall on the Mass Pike I can either make it in 1/4 of a tank if I go 65 the whole way or 3/4 of a tank if I drive like an asshole (115+ MPH). I usually just drive to and from work, and how I pull out of my driveway really changes if I need to get gas every week or every other week.

Re:MPG science (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483911)

And that fits well with theory. Air resistance is proportional to the cube of the velocity. That's why they spend so much time making the cars aerodynamic. It's why we've lost a lot of style. Aerodynamic considerations have forced most cars to conform to the same basic shape, with only subtle variations.

Re:MPG science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483922)

With a hybrid, they are lucky to get up to 80-90 in 10 miles.

Re:MPG science (5, Informative)

cornjchob (514035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483960)

I know I get much worse mileage driving at 80-90 than I do at 60-70.

That's because most transmissions in production cars have their highest geared tuned so that the engine's in its RPM sweet-spot around 60-70mph; after that, the amount of gas per RPM starts to increase considerably more.

I'm curious as to just how high the grandparent kept his RPMs when he got similiar gas mileage driving timidly and agressively. Also, where has anyone heard stopping slowly increases mileage? Maybe in a car with regenerative breaking, but certainly not in a good ol' ICE powered car. If your foot's not on the gas, only idle gas is going to the engine (unless the computer is doing something, but it shouldn't affect that much). Unless I'm missing something, I can't see how slowing down gradually will increase anything beside the frustration of the driver behind you because you're not getting to a stop light quicker :-P

Re:MPG science (1)

w98 (831730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483994)

I drive a 1998 VW Passat and get 27mpg pretty constantly when I drive 70+mph. If I use cruise control about 60mph-65mph, I get an average of 31mpg-32mpg.

Re:MPG science (1)

brad3378 (155304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484019)

Aerodynamic drag is the main reason why hybrids often have better fuel economy numbers in stop & go traffic than during a steady speed highway cruise. (Aerodynamic drag quadruples when velocity is doubled)

Probably the best example of this phenomenon is the Ford Escape hybrid that Achieved 38 MPG during a 37 Hour non-stop driving test on a single tank of gas in Manhattan [prnewswire.com]

Re:MPG science (2, Insightful)

Skater (41976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483866)

A lot depends on how much time you spent on the highway and what the weather conditions were. Also, how often is someone ahead of you at the light? For me, it's rare to be first in line, and you can't accelerate any faster than the car ahead of you does...

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483868)

Not going above 2500 rpm? How did you survive the insane honking drivers in their big lexus SUVs swurving around you to go 30mph because you're still accelerating to 25mph?

Honestly, I wish I could drive going at slower RPMS; that way because I feel more sane. But other drivers seem to take any kind of slowdown as an invititation to zoom past.

Maybe I just live in an insane area. (Washington D.C. Metro area).

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483962)

No, you're just a jackass. Who wants to spend more time commuting than they have to?

Get a Segway, pansy.

(And RPM already includes the plural - revolutions per minute - so pleasy also stop being redundant.)

Re:MPG science (1)

rharris (849104) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483872)

Does your scientific testing include any sweet jumps? 'cause central Indiana is only a couple hours away...

Re:MPG science (1)

TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483886)

Perhaps it depends on the car. My Honda Insight has a meter than tells you what MPG you are getting (as well as averages over time). I can definitely see a difference if I am "trying" to get good mileage, versus if I am in a hurry and pay no attention.

I am not so sure that acceleration speed is much of a factor, but anticipating stops and coasting to those stops definitely helps increase mileage. Of course, a hybrid car like mine uses these coasting periods to recharge the electric battery, so these gains might be specific to hybrids.

Re:MPG science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483890)

My understanding is that gasoline engines are actually at their most efficient at high throttle angles. Jackrabbit starts are not the gas-wasters that we were taught in those cheesy 70s public-service commercials.

Re:MPG science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483893)

I have recently backed off agressive accelerations and have begun driving the speed limit in my Toyota Tacoma and found that I'm getting an extra 30 miles to the tank. That's ~2mpg.

Re:MPG science (2, Insightful)

ShaggyZet (74769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483912)

I've actually heard that it may be better to accelerate quickly, if you know you're going to get to your target speed and stay there for a while (As opposed to stopping at another red light in 500 yards).

I'll second the driver that said higher speeds make a huge difference. The Utah desert at 95-100 gave me terrible gas mileage, but it sure was a fun way to get to Vegas.

Hondas (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483932)

For some reason Hondas seem to get decent mileage even with leadfoot drivers. With other cars, flooring it to accelerate definitely cuts into gas mileage. Just my non-scientific observations.

Try this... (1)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483944)

Drive so that you minimize your braking.
And shift 4200-4500RPM when accelerating.
You'll see a noticeable increase in city mileage.
If you mix city and freeway, keep it at 65 on the freeway.

Before you do any of this set tire pressure to max recommended.

In the 98 Civic and 94 E-150 van I get 20% better mileage if I drive as I've recommended above.

How to measure tank fills? (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483957)

Those hybrid folks have some kind of MPG meter, although my wife's Chrysler has a similar readout.

For ordinary cars, you have the tank fill method, but I wonder if that is only accurate to about half a gallon. I try to get the same gas nozzle and park the car the same way because I figure if the car is tilted one way or the other you will get a different air bubble in the tank. Also I figure the shutoff is the same sensitivity. Even so, on a 10 gallon fill, my guess you are accurate to 5 percent (about 1 MPG in your case).

Do you get pretty much 25 MPG every time, or do you get 23, 24, 26, 25, 27, 24 -- that is more my experience (without changing any variables)?

The Green Hybrid site is slashdotted, but I wonder if they have data on non-hybrids -- comparing the Corolla or Camry against the Prius, comparing hybrid and nonhybrid Civics. In addition to the real-world data on the hybrids, it would be interesting to see real-world numbers on everything else and correlate it with EPA. That way I can see how I am doing with respect to drivers with other driving patterns and make some guesses regarding my real-world mileage from the EPA numbers of a car I am thinking of buying.

The other thing that could be done is that all cars have this OBD-II plug right under the steering column. Someone should come up with some kind of data logger that you could drive your car around -- to work, to Grandma's, whatever your personal drive cycle is -- and compare predicted mileage against actual mileage and make predictions of what you would get in another car model. I understand that if you are buying an 18-wheel truck, you can get fuel use predictions based on the truck route you want to cover, and this is a big, big factor in the economics of a truck purchase. I guess the technology exists in principle to do this with cars, but the usual people who sell cars don't even want you to know this.

Re:MPG science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483984)

You want to get better gas milage? What you want to do is minimize acceleration (starting and stopping) over a whole trip. As opposed to staying below some threshold of maximum acceleration. You might want to accelerate agressively in some instances if it'll get you out of stop and go traffic. It also might mean gunning it to beat the occasional red light. This doesn't mean speeding (much) on the highway. You just want to drive in the car's sweetspot. And as one might expect, beating the red lights will also drastically cut down on your trip time. If you can't beat a light you want to keep as much speed as you can for when it turns green. But if you can beat it, that's what you want to do. It's pretty tricky to do consistantly in heavy traffic, as people will just cut you off if you don't do it right, and then you'll stop. Basically, I try to drive a block ahead, know how the traffic flows, where a lot of people decide to turn left, or turn right when I want to go straight. And keeping an eye on the walk/don't walk signs helps with timing the lights.

I've had a lot of time in traffic to think about this. So if it's a trip I make frequently, I try to minimize stop lights, and schedule things so as to avoid driving in a rolling parking lot. Doing this I can get upto 30 MPG out of a 1991 Plymoth Acclaim. My record was 32.3 MPG for a trip between Portland and Seattle, but the weather was a big help in that.

Re:MPG science (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483991)

I used to do high-milage vehicle chalanges. There were two major driving styles used.. constant engine RPM, and coast/burn.

All the top competitors were coast/burn drivers.

The theory goes like this:

There are two points of engine efficiency.. at full throttle, and when it's off. No matter what engine speed you are at, you are always using a specific ammount of gas to overcome the engine friction, and other running requirements. this ammount is mostly the same across the RPM spectrum.

At full throttle, you have the largest % of engine power going to movement, and the smallest % being used for engine upkeep.

This is why I think the hybrids made so far are stupid.. they use the engine for coasting, and maintaining speed.. they should use the electric motor for cruising, and then bring the engine up to a good speed to re-charge ever 10-20min or so.. depending on how much battery is there.

Unfortunately, the charing process is not efficient enough for this to be very usefull.

Re:MPG science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483995)

As it is, you have a large systematic error in your test. You are relying on the auto stop (during fill) to gauge the volume of fuel. This is not very accurate. Perhaps drive 10 tanks smoothly then 10 tanks aggresively? That way any error in the volume gets divided by 10 over the 10 runs.

Re:MPG science (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483996)

"I just spent the last three weeks testing the hypothesis that "driving smoothly""

I did the same but it made a difference in my case. I used to drive 70-75 mph on the highway, and accelerate pretty quickly before. I averaged 28 MPG on my 16 mile commute to work which was about 2/3 highway 1/3 city. After I kept it at 65 mph on the highway and drove less aggresively I average 32 MPG. I drive 2000 Saturn LS with a 2.2L ecotec engine and manual transmission.

Re:MPG science (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484005)

Define agressively.. I just bought a car that provides a semi-realtime MPG display. If I floor it while accelerating (as normal.. yes, I enjoy acceleration), and average around 90MPH, I get around 17MPG. If I accelerate softly to the same speed, I get around 21MPG. If I accelerate softly and travel at ~65MPH, I get 29MPG. I have yet to try accelerating hard and then traveling at 65MPH because I have a hard time not going fast after accelerating fast. I need to move to Germany.

On a side note, I tried driving with the windows down rather than running the A/C to see if my milage improved.. It didn't. I think the excess drag played a role.. That probably varies from vehicle to vehicle. It's too damned hot here to even think about driving with the windows up and no A/C.

I'm not really sure where to shift in order to get the best milage either.. I'm used to driving a V8 with lots of low end torque.. now I've got a highly tuned V6 which wants high RPMs.

Re:MPG science (1)

YoungHack (36385) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484012)

I did a test like this with one of my cars, and I did find the conventional wisdom to hold. I could drive about 15% farther when I was smoother and less aggressive.

But... (4, Interesting)

TheOtherAgentM (700696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483823)

If you have to pay $5000 over the sticker price because of demand, are you really saving money? The demand is ridiculous.

Re:But... (1)

rambomon (882784) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483867)

You get $2000 back in taxes, so in the long run, yes you do.

Re:But... (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483936)

Tax break or tax deduction? I think it's a tax deduction which cuts that down to about a third or so. so 5000 - (600 to 700) is still a premium.

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483880)

I wish someone would bite the bullet and produce these things for real. I suppose its getting to that point, but its been slow. I think if either Toyota or Honda had sunk the $ into truly mass producing these things 5 years ago, that they'd have locked up the market and there'd be a lot more of them on the road. I know the marketing research numbers have never really supported these vehicles, but apparently that was a big miss.

This technology has really been around for a long time, along with true hybrids which use the gas engine to only drive a generator. I suspect it would have been adopted much earlier if the ar makers had just "done it".

ah well.

Re:But... (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483939)

Uh, they did, and they have locked up the market. Haven't seen a GM hybrid even on the drawig boards, have ya?

Re:But... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483891)

There are many dealerships that do not add a markup. If the one near you does, just say "Sorry, but I refuse to pay your luxury tax. You have lost any future business from me." and go somewhere else.

Call all the Toyota dealers near you, even 200-300 miles away, I can almost guarantee that you'll find one in stock, at MSRP. (I only had to wait 2 days for mine. And it wasn't even 'ordering', it was calling all the dealers on Saturday, getting on their 'lists', and getting a call back on Monday saying they had 2 in stock that met my requirements (Blue, Tan, or Green, 2004 Packages 7 or 9, which are now called 5 and 6.) I drove a Blue package 7 Prius off the lot a mere 2 days after starting my search. (I could have had a top-of-the-line package 9, but it was in 'Tideland Pearl', which I mistakenly thought was green, it's more of an olive drab. So I picked the lesser-package 7 in blue, because I actually liked that color, and the extra features weren't important enough for me to want to wait.)

Re:But... (3, Funny)

barzok (26681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483931)

Call all the Toyota dealers near you, even 200-300 miles away, I can almost guarantee that you'll find one in stock, at MSRP
Who the hell pays MSRP?

Re:But... (1)

Trizor (797662) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483897)

That will be payed off in a certain number of years depending on feul efficency over the non hybrid model and fluctuations in the cost of gassolene. The higher price for hybrids will also go down over time as they become more mass-produced. So wait a little before buying one, unless you must have bleeding edge driving technology.

Re:But... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483979)

I did this calc a couple of years ago, and, depending on which cars you use, came up with 200,000-400,000 miles to even out the extra cost of the hybrid. That's pretty much never. And yes, I included the tax advantage.

With the increased price of gas, it will be lower, but still not great.

Re:But... (2, Insightful)

thundercatslair (809424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483903)

You are right, where I live you have order them and wait months for them to come in. To save $5000+ in gas you would need to drive so much. The only reason to really buy them now is if you are really concerned for the environment and have to own a car.

Re:But... (1)

jj_johny (626460) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483906)

That was a great comment - the article is about gas mileage and your comment is about demand causing dealers to ration the cars by raising prices. Here is what the web site can help you do: use real world figures to calculate your real world gas costs based on how far you drive. What it won't help you do is see if a high gas mileage car is really worth it. Nor will it help with your hellish commute or that you want to get a nice green car but make up for it by the way you live. But.... that the way it works here at /.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483910)

> If you have to pay $5000 over the sticker price because of demand, are you really saving money? The demand is ridiculous.

Perhaps it is the SUPPLY that is ridiculous. Greater supply could satisfy the demand and lower the price. Why blame the consumer for liking a product so much that it is in short supply? Isn't that what makes markets work?

Re:But... (1)

sirwnstn (848727) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483929)

Your right, but I'm hoping other car companies besides Toyota try to cash in on this demand. That way, hybrids will get cheaper for the rest of us. I've heard that sales in California for hybrids have doubled in the last year. (But of course, that's doubling a small number) Anyways, I'm a cheapskate, and if rich folks buying these things at outrageous prices will make it easier for me to get a fuel efficient car later on, I'm all for it. ;)

i dunno (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483824)


poop (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483826)

it's good with mustard!

Re:poop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483841)

how do you know this?

Yikes! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483839)

Slashdotted before the first comment!

I guess they didn't have enough charge in their electric batteries... Wait for it, once their done braking there should be a little bit left! Oh wait, they didn't fill up on gas because prices are so high... oh well.

nyudlink: here [nyud.net] .

Re:Yikes! (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483963)

And here is the link to the Toyota-/. sponsorship deal TOyota&/. [slashdot.org]

Accord hybrid (5, Informative)

damiam (409504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483849)

Before anyone gets confused, I just want to point out that the Accord hybrid is not supposed to be super-efficient like the Prius. It's the top-of-the-line Accord, and the hybrid power is mostly used to increase performance while retaining similar fuel economy to the slower models. It's quite zippy; IIRC it has better 0-60 times than a V6 Mustang.

Re:Accord hybrid (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483861)

>> IIRC it has better 0-60 times than a V6 Mustang

What doesn't?

Re:Accord hybrid (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484008)

I just wish they'd release a 4-cylinder version of the Accord. It would still have enough speed (just like the gas 4-cyl accord, but it would save more gas). BTW. Even though I am a huge Honda fan, I like Toyota's hybrid technology better. I like the fact that the gas engine kicks in only when needed and the motor runs all the time vs. the other way around on a honda.

Re:Accord hybrid (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484017)

IIRC it has better 0-60 times than a V6 Mustang.

That's not exactly a performance mark that's hard to reach.

seems sort of a waste (4, Informative)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483850)

Turbo-Diesel owners have been seeing numbers in this range, or better, for years.

Seems what the market needs is a diesel/electric hybrid to get numbers that will impress any diesel owners.

Otherwise most TDI Volkswagens have been able to outshine these numbers for years. Plus you can't run a Prius on used cooking oil [greasecar.com] .

Re:seems sort of a waste (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483905)

The problem is some states won't allow privately owned diesel vehicles. I want a 2005 CRD Jeep Liberty but MA won't allow them. Oddly enough Jeep unveiled this very same vehicle in Boston, go figure. CA doesn't allow privately owned deisel vehicles either. It's like nuclear technology, deisel just has a bad stigma attached to it despite improvements over the years in both technologies.

Re:seems sort of a waste (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483964)

CA doesn't allow private diesel vehicles? Can anyone confirm? (too tired right to figure out a good way to google this) (and yes, a smart-ass answer with a good google query would be appreciate as much as a normal response).

I was thinking of going diesel for my next car, but I am in CA.

Re:seems sort of a waste (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483937)

Not only that but there is no massive toxic battery to deal with when you go TDI. Hybrids will be an even greater enviromental disaster than a traditional ICE. At least greenhouse gases are absorbed by the earth's ecosystem in a short period of time. These batteries will be hazards for thousands of years.

Re:seems sort of a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483971)

The fundamental problem with diesel is that, after all these years of technology improvements, it's *still* a dirty car. Diesel owners can claim all they like about recent advances in emissions methods, but the facts are quite stark: the _majority_ of smog in many major US metropolitan areas is due to diesel engines alone. Not exactly green.

Re:seems sort of a waste (5, Informative)

Leibel (768832) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483987)

Quite agree. The Peugeot turbo diesel option (same Bosch direct injection technology) keeps setting world records. Their 307 just got 3.49 litres per 100km's (or 81.16 mpg in old money) according to this [drive.com.au] website. They averaged 1,700 Km per 60 litre tank! Why add all the complication of hybrid technology, or why not couple an engine like this with hybrid technology?

Re:seems sort of a waste (3, Informative)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484011)

The one thing diesels tend to do poorly on is emissions, and California's emissions requirements are one reason automobile manufacturers are investing in hybrids. But even in the non-diesel arena, raw mileage isn't everything when it comes to this sort of thing: the Honda Insight gets much better mileage than the much heavier pre-2003 Toyota Prius, but the Prius has lower carbon emissions because the (very heavy) planetary gearing transmission lets it balance the load on the gasoline engine so that whenever it runs, it does so in the sweet spot to minimize pollutants.

Better fuel required (3, Funny)

BaCkBuRn (621588) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483863)

And ./'ed within 5 seconds... They should switch to a premium unleaded/apache method :)

Re:Better fuel required (1)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483948)

You'd think anything that claims to be

the Internet's largest hybrid mileage database.

outgh to be designed to handle the traffic [rimshot].

Anagram of Slashdot: Shalt DoS (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483871)

Coincidence? I think not!

need independent testing (1, Insightful)

hb253 (764272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483879)

People who buy hybrids will be inclined to submit exaggerated mileage claims in order to make themselves feel better about spending more money for a hybrid. This is the same phenomenon as people on a diet who under report/underestimate their calorie intake.

Hybrids will only make economic sense if gas prices reach $5 or $6/gallon (in the US). As it is now, the return on investment is awful. Only buy a hybrid if you want to feel good about yourself.

Re:need independent testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483924)

If people are inclined to exaggerate, why didn't anyone claim really good gas mileage ? None of those hybrids get better than a 1982 Diesel Rabbit. If the fuel prices get really high, you'd have to ditch that oil-guzzling hybrid and drive a tiny diesel. Even the Honda Airwave (not sold in the US yet) gets 45 mpg on a non-hybrid gasoline.

Hybrid is the tailfins of the decade.

Re:need independent testing (1)

rambomon (882784) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483945)

carbon dioxide emmisions are also a factor. ad hominem.. bah

Re:need independent testing (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483981)


My dad commuted in a 1992 Escort and got 46mpg in the winter and 38 in the summer (because of the AC).

The hybrid is mostly a marketing gimmick. It is obviously a lower-emission vehicle, but emissions and fuel economy totally different goals.

Personally, getting a warm fuzzy feeling about emissions isn't worth $5,000 to me. If I needed an ultra-efficient car, I'd buy a Toyota Echo or maybe a Civic.

Re:need independent testing (5, Interesting)

pycnanthemum (175351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483999)

Putting the flaming comment about people lying to make themselves feel better aside, the ROI for a Prius is decent. A Prius starts at about $20K so if someone "downgrades" from a larger, lower mpg car like say, a Nissan Maxima SE, s/he could feasibly save a lot of money.

We are getting 50mpg instead of 20mpg, and we no longer have to buy premium gas...we are saving $1200 a year, not counting the lower loan payments for the car we traded in.

I would go on, but I am starting to feel way, way too good about myself :-P.

P.S. - I paid under MSRP for my Prius and got it in a week.

In defense of EPA estimates (4, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483881)

EPA estimates have never been really useful indicators of real-world results, nor were they intended to be.

What they do provide is a car-to-car comparison that is consistent regardless of driving style, load, weather or other conditions. When you compare EPA mileage statistics, you're comparing apples to apples.

Hybrids throw a monkeywrench into the mix, so we'll probably see an adjustment to the EPA methodology at some point.

Re:In defense of EPA estimates (1)

fruity_pebbles (568822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483980)

The knock with EPA estimates of hybrids' mileage is that the EPA estimates apparently don't provide a valid comparison of hybrid vs. non-hybrid mileage.

Data accuracy (2, Interesting)

orion88 (834423) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483884)

While I'm all in favor of gas economy, I have to wonder how much more unbiased fans of these cars are than (potential) opponents of them. As it is in the government's best interest for us to keep buying gas, they have an incentive to understate fuel economy in very efficient cars. This is not to say that they actually do it; merely that they have a reason to. However, fans/drivers of the cars might be rounding their numbers or interpolating them from memory, for example. This is not a scientific study, and it is important to remember that.

Re:Data accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483920)

As it is in the government's best interest for us to keep buying gas

Um, how exactly?

Cruise control helps a lot (3, Interesting)

dreamer-of-rules (794070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483885)

I get about 8-10 mpg improvement by using the cruise control at any speed. I have a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid and get about 38-41 mpg on average.

Re:Cruise control helps a lot (1)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483985)

I tried that, but every time I get it up to 25 and set the dang thing, there's another stop sign. sheesh.

It's all about the image you want to sell... (1)

templest (705025) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483888)

"consumers have associated hybrid vehicles with a small niche of fuel-conscious environmentalists, but today's hybrids offer the best combination of high performance, great mileage and luxury features of any cars on the market."
Exactly. Just change the image of what you're trying to sell so that it appeals to the largest demographic possible and voila! Instant profit.
The "Small Environmentalist" niche wasn't bringing in the bucks so here you have it.

Anyone remember when Marlboro was a wussy cigarette brand?

My 1978 Mini gets over 55 mpg (5, Insightful)

sirket (60694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483895)

I have a 1978 British Mini (the old ones) and the gas mileage is anywhere between 50 and 60 mpg. Here we are almost 30 years later and we are getting- lower gas mileage?

Granted the Mini does not weigh anything and lacks AC- still. The 1 liter engine kicking out 55HP (in my slightly modified engine) is more than adequate to move such a light vehicle. Add to that a suprisingly roomy interior (it will seat 4 people comfortably despite being only 10 feet long) and a car that will corner like a go kart and you have to ask yourself what the auto industry is thinking. Not to mention being able to park _anywhere_ :)

We have materials today that Alec Issigonis (the guy who created the Mini back in the 50's) could only dream of- lighter, stronger and easier to shape- and yet cars today are far heavier. We get worse gas mileage- sure the cars are more powerful but then again they have to be. I realize some of this weight is the result of safety improvements and the like but it just feels like there has to be a middle ground.


Re:My 1978 Mini gets over 55 mpg (5, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483952)

The answer is simple: Americans like Big and Cheap. Look at any city in the US. Every town is full of the same giant strip malls *full* of Big Box Stores, filled with fat people eating giant portions of fast food from their gas guzzling, crappy Ford Explorers. I'm American. Sadly, it's true. Almost the whole country is now like this.

Hibrid drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483899)

For both Windows and Linux?

it's all abotu style... (1)

ryusen (245792) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483902)

The Prius get's 45 MPG average? nice.. now if only they coudl design the body so that owners might actually be able to pick up chicks .p

Re:it's all abotu style... (1)

inkswamp (233692) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483942)

If you are actually interested in the type of women who require a guy who have a certain type of car before being interested in him, you have bigger problems to worry about than gas mileage.

Crabs, for instance.


Re:it's all about style... (1)

ryusen (245792) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483989)

haha nice one well, i personally am not interested in picking them up, but it does boost the ego, when a girl passes by and thinks your car is hot. even told my gf "this is my new "penis compensation chick-maget."

GreenHybrid Server (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483904)

Really sorry, guys. Slashdot sent me so many referrals the whole server went down! I won't be able to get ahold of my host for 2 hours, so please sit tight. Very sorry.

Jason Siegel

That's all? (1)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483914)

I drive an old Nissan 240sx, which is a mid-grade sports car. It has gobs of torque, adequate horsepower, and handles like a knife in the back. I try to drive fairly responsibly, although I frequently yank the hell out of second gear. I get ~25mpg in town, and ~30mpg on the interstate. That means I've already got the hybrid Accord beat. Granted, mine is essentially a two seater (a third person can sit sideways in the back two "seats" for short distances), so someone with a hybrid Accord who does most of their driving with three or more people in the car is more efficient overall, in theory. But still.

The Insight is impressive, with most users at GreenHybrid.com reporting 60+mpg, but until the cost of Hybrids comes down significantly, I don't feel nearly as guilty about my little gas guzzler.

Now, let the endless jokes about the fuel source of their webservers commence.

Hybrids not the answer (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483916)

The amount of energy used by an average automobile over its lifetime (manufacture, operation, maintenance and disposal) that comes from the gasoline used to drive it is only a fraction (around 1/5 to 1/3) of the total.

A hybrid does reduce the total energy consumption of a car over its lifetime compared to a conventional car, but not by all that much. It still takes all the same materials and manufacturing processes to build, and poses the same disposal problem once it wears out.

The answer is a combination of fewer, longer-lasting, more-efficient cars, and less driving.

What's the point? (1)

geneing (756949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483918)

I have Toyota Corolla 2000 and get 38 mpg (+- 1 mpg depending on weather). And it doesn't need a ton of lead for the batteries, that you would need to dispose of when the car is "retired".

So, what's the point of having a hibrid?

By the way Honda Civic gets even better mileage.

Honda accord numbers don't seem right (1)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483919)

I have a 2004 honda accord V6 EX model, pretty much top of the line and I get consistent 30mpg highway and about 26 in the city. I can't imagine how a hybrid would get pretty much the same while claiming "fuel economy".

Hybrids are a nice interim solution... (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483921)

Hybrids are a nice interim solution, but they are nothing more than a more efficient version of the internal combustion engine. A big heavy hybrid SUV is still a gas guzzler.

It's great to see people jumping on the hybrid bandwagon, but only if it leads to truly green solutions using renewable energy. If people think hybrids are the ultimate solution, they will be sadly mistaken.

Is it a myth? (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483923)

Is it a myth that if you go above 55, your fuel consumption stops being linear to your speed? Here's why I think it is: back when this myth was invented, cars were not as aerodynamic as they are now and that's why it may be true for cars that were built way back when.

Re:Is it a myth? (2, Informative)

Daverd (641119) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483974)

Below 55, your gas mileage gets better the faster you go. After 55 it starts to drop off. There's a neat graph here [fueleconomy.gov] .

My 1992 Geo Metro.... (1)

CmdrTostado (653672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483935)

...is not a hybrid, is not expensive, and gets 46-53 m.p.g. I have checked it on about 20 tanks. But, no tax refund.

Buy a motorcycle already! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12483953)

Only in the US do people treat motorcycles as weekend, sunny day only play things. The UK weather is piss and that country is as bike nutty as it can get.

My pitiful, air-cooled 750cc 4cyl bike gets 47-53MPG and I can give a corvette a damn good race. i can filter past miles and miles of logjammed cars choking on their exhaust fumes and ride in HOV/commuter lanes at will. I do all my grocery shopping by bike and carry even small machine tools on the back (table saws, sanders etc). I and others like me ride year round in all weather and even in Wisconsin and Chicago winters. Think about it. how much time is your 4-place car/suv running around with only the driver's seat occupied?

48 miles to the gallon? 30 miles to the gallon?? (1)

matth (22742) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483956)

My 2000 Saturn gets 40 miles to the gallon! How is this an improvement?!?!

30 MPG - WTF? (1)

Dethboy (136650) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483959)

I had a 1969 bug that got 25-28mpg. In 36 years that can't do better than 2-3mpg better?

That's utterly pathetic.

Half-measures are stupid (2, Insightful)

Sirwar (659041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483965)

The cost savings is almost non-existant. I can get(I HAD one) a standard civic that gets me 30-40mpg, and without the extra initial cost. $5000 = 2000 gallons of gas at $2.50/gal. 35mpg * 2000 = 70000. So if you drive 18,000 miles per year, you start to break even around year 4 of owning the car.

Conservation? The amount of energy and oil in the plastics and other materials used in the production of a car, and where does the OLD car go? Its SO wastefull to buy a new car. Not to mention it still uses gas to operate and oil to lube. Conservation my ass.

I can't believe anyone wants a hybrid....

VW Jetta wagon TDI (4, Informative)

ender_wiggins (81600) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483966)

I get 42mpg in my daily drive, but not batteries to keep charged!

subversion and containment (1)

archimedian (817694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483969)

oy, here's a bitterly ironic vision for all those excited by hybrids as harbingers of social change vis a vis fossil hydrocarbons: Toyota sticks a finger in the US auto industry's eye by proofing and popularizing the technology. This, kiddies, is called subversion. Then Toyota and the rest of the automotive powers-that-be channel the upswell of interest in hybrids into cars that don't improve on current fuel efficiency standards. Presto: Containment!

Less Cars (1)

a3217055 (768293) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483975)

Everyone should have motorcycles and have less cars. Even though motorcycles are less efficient they take a lot less petrol/gasoline to run. People in America worry about cars, ther are so many cars here. Let's say there are 300 Million people in this coutry. Out of which 20% own cars and 80% own more than one car. And on average each car gives 20 mpg, and each person drives there car 20 miles round trip to work 5 days a week. So just in a week we have 300x10^6x0.2= 60x10^6 people own cars 60x10^6*0.8*2=96*10^6 cars. 98*10^6*20miles*5days/20mpg=490 MILLION Gallons of petrol/gasoline. No wonder gas prices are high, just make people live closer and ride motorcycles. Over all less gas. Anyway all the high gas prices are due to the Gentoo guys who live in their parents' basements and ride there SUV's to their Gentoo meetings... .. Ok maybe not .... But a lot of these high gas prices are due to speculation of how certain crude oil depedent companies due etc. and how the big boys in the market play. But my next secondary mode of transportation is a hybrid ( once i figure out how to get rid of my mom's SUV... shoot they know I use Gentoo ... ) and primary is always the chick mobile my bicycle ( the pedal love ...you can come too )

One of the most useful things about the Prius... (4, Insightful)

tsangc (177574) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483983)

...is the visual display which tells you the target mileage given your current acceleration.

I drove a 04 Prius for a few months and found that the display which tells you the fuel economy you're getting is very helpful. After about a day you realize that speeding up hills eats at your economy and braking appropriately helps too.

If all cars had this feature, fuel economy would be increased. Regardless of the fact the Prius has a hybrid engine, low rolling resistance tires, etc, this simple display is a big psychological factor.

Most people never realize their driving habits affect fuel economy because it only hits them every two weeks at the pump. By that time they never link it to how they brake or accelerate. By closing the feedback loop, you start to change your driving habits.

Only expensive cars seem to have this feature, yet it's ridiculously simple to implement off a modern ECU. I wish they'd make it standard equipment and not a luxury feature.

Hybrids long-term costs unknown (3, Insightful)

DocJohn (81319) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483986)

The problem with hybrids isn't their short-term fuel efficiency (which we didn't need 150 folks to document, out of tens of thousands sold). The problems are:

1. Premium cost over traditional fuel combustion engine (ranging from $3,000 - $5,000 over the same non-hybrid car).

2. Long-term reliability and replacement costs of hybrid system (especially the batteries). 5 or 10 years from now, are these cars going to be proven as reliable as their traditional combustion-engine brethern? Or are they going to be visiting the shop more often to fix issues in their hybrid systems, replace their batteries (which do have a pre-determined lifetime), or whatever??

The answers will come in time, but not from the data of 150 measly vehicles.

PS - The dork who compared a 40-year old car to a modern vehicle just doesn't get it. Modern vehicles meet modern safety standards, including such luxuries as airbags, enhanced structures that help prevent serious bodily injuries, and a little more leg room. Yes, if I built a go-cart, I could probably also get 50-60 MPG. But I wouldn't be stupid enough to drive it on I-95.


Keeping track of miles (1)

cluening (6626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12483990)

I bought a brand-new VW Golf in March of 2004 (yeah, I know, it isn't a hybrid). When I did I decided to keep track of every fillup I did in the car to find out exactly how it has done. I then whipped out a couple perl scripts to do some analysis. It's generated some interesting (for some definitions of "interesting") graphs and tables for me to stare at. Have a look at its webpage [wirelesscouch.net] for an example.

Is it just me (3, Interesting)

ashpool7 (18172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484014)

or are those numbers pretty piss-poor for hybrids? I remember when the Insight was pimped as having 70mpg and the Prius 60. Nobody comes close to those figures now. 30 mpg for a V6 Accord? The normal Accord gets only 7 mpg less (ajusted from vendor inflation [fueleconomy.gov] . Hybrid:37 Normal:30). The variance in the Escape is less than that.

How can these cars be touted as environmentally friendly when you could easily increase your gas mileage by driving a 4-cylinder instead. That way, you get the gas savings and you aren't throwing away a huge battery full of toxic waste when you're done.

Calling the Ford, Lexus, and Honda Accord "environmentally friendly" hybrids is disingenuous. They aren't helping the gas problem whatsoever.

Happy Hybrid Owner (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12484018)

I have owned a Honda Civic Hybrid for almost three years. I'm very happy with it. I get between 40 and 44 miles per gallon, measured at the pump. I do mostly city driving.

I don't find the EPA estimates for my car that misleading (48 city / 47 highway), thought the highway may be a bit low for my car, and the city a bit high for my car. But I live in a hilly city.

I think the reality is that people used to never care about gas milage, and now they are paying attention. There are big variations depending on terrain, speed, driving style, and even between different cars.
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