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70+ !! Miles Per Gallon

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  My Prius!
70 !! Miles Per Gallon of Gasoline

So. I planned a trip on my motor scooter, a Honda Silver Wing. Before I started the trip I dropped by to see my favorite mechanic to talk about having the air conditioning on my 1995 Buick repaired. He quoted me $1,063. After I caught my breath I drove across town and bought gas for my Silver Wing. It used to get 52 miles per gallon (yes – past tense). That’s why I bought it. I then drove the Silver Wing twenty miles north to Bayard Florida to start my trip. At Bayard, I stopped and rested. When I re-started the Scooter, the clock reset itself to 1:00 A.M. (the time was around 10:00 A.M.). The trip odometers both reset themselves to zero. This was not my idea of a good time. After that, every time I started the scooter it did the same thing.

I took the bike to the local Honda dealer and was informed, since it was an electrical problem, there was a minimum fee of one and one half hours labor at $99.00 per hour. After I caught my breath, I took the bike to several other dealers. One of them was kind enough to pull up the schematics of the Honda SilverWing on his computer. He told me the problem was probably in the clock and to fix the problem I would have to replace it. He went on to explain that the clock is part of the overall dashboard console and that I would have to replace the whole console. That would be $576, plus two hours labor at $99.00 per hour.

After I caught my breath, I took the bike and the Buick to the local Toyota dealer where I traded both of them for a three year old Prius with 36,000 miles on it. Phew! I also bought a 100,000 mile, bumper to bumper warranty. I don’t know how much Toyota charges for labor, and now I don’t care.

The Prius was rated at 60 miles per gallon for city driving and 47 miles per gallon on the highway. I found this to be wrong (based my how I drive). On the Highway, if I keep my speed to 65 mph and no more, it gets a little over fifty miles per gallon. If I go faster, it gets less. If I go slower, it gets more.

The hand book says the electric motor won’t drive the care at speeds over 42 mph, but I have found that at higher speeds, when the hybrid battery is well charged, the electric motor assists the engine, achieving miles per gallon averages of around 75 miles per gallon. At 45 mph, the battery stays well charged. At 55 mph, the average mileage comes down to around 55 mile per gallon. At 65 miles per hour, I get around 52 miles per gallon – same as the bike. At higher speeds, I get much less. On a trip home from South Carolina, recently, my average mileage was around 45.6 miles per gallon because I was cruising at 75 miles per hour, the whole way home. That’s still not bad, considering my Suzuki Intruder 800 used to get 41 miles per gallon at that speed and like the scooter, it had no radio, no air conditioning and if rain began falling, I found the comfort levels to be unsatisfactory. In the Prius, I simply use RainX.

What reduces the average miles per gallon in the Prius MOST is acceleration. After driving this vehicle for a while, I have come to believe that if I never had to stop at stop lights, or for people jumping out in front of me, or stopping before they turn off the road; if I could drive the vehicle at 45 miles per hour on level roads, I would average around 75 miles per gallon.

The Prius doesn’t start getting its phenomenal mileage until after the engine is fully warmed up. So, the second thing that kills my average miles per gallon is short trips, under ten miles. A two mile trip to the grocery store, drops my average miles per gallon by about 3 tenths of a mile. Four trips of this kind reduce my average by over a mile per gallon. I like it when it says it’s over fifty miles per gallon, so I try to plan my trips to keep the engine hot.

If I were to offer suggestions about how to make this terrific car better, I would suggest a larger battery and a bigger electrical motor, but then what I’m describing is the Volt. I wonder what Toyota is going to do to compete with that?!

I LOVE my PRIUS!
Friar Bob