Alternative Fuel and Transportation

Published on December 15th, 2011 | by Tom Cranford


How to Increase the Gas Mileage in Your Hybrid

Just because you made the leap and purchased a hybrid vehicle doesn’t mean that you no longer have to think about fuel consumption. It is a common misconception that hybrid vehicles do all the work for you and that there isn’t much else you can do to conserve fuel. Just park it inside the garage and reap the benefits, rights? The truth is that there are several things you can do to increase your fuel-efficiency, and here are a few:

1. Allow your vehicle to get “broken in” before starting to monitor your gas mileage. A hybrid, like any new car, needs to be driven for about 2,500 miles before it is broken in. Until you hit that mark, your fuel economy will be less than ideal.

2. Maintain a speed in your vehicle’s “speed zone” as much as possible. Stick to a speed between 40 and 45 miles-per-hour for optimal performance.

3. If you travel to similar destinations each day, test the various routes to find one that has the least amount of traffic, as this will give you the best fuel economy. When there are fewer cars on the road, you can use more energy-efficient techniques for accelerating and braking.

4. When driving for long distances on the highway, set your cruise control to approximately 55 miles-per-hour for optimal mileage. Yes, it will take longer to get to where you are going and your kids may call you a slowpoke, but so what? It’s about saving a few bucks by adjusting your habits.

5. During colder weather, allow your hybrid at least five minutes to warm up before leaving. Vehicle owners, whether it’s a hybrid or a traditional vehicle, are so concerned with mileage that they would rather just drive off than waste gas by warming up their car. Every car needs to warm up to some extent – it is crucial for the long-term viability of your car’s vital parts.

6. Each time you make a trip to the filling station, be sure to use a lower octane fuel and check the tire pressure. Surprisingly, low octane gas has more energy, so there’s no need to waste the money on expensive gas. The tire pressure actually plays a large role in fuel-consumption, car safety and aerodynamics.

Until they invent a solar battery charger for your cars roof rack, the best way to increase your hybrids fuel efficiency is with a little science. Gain insight into gas mileage and how it impacts your hybrid by keeping a notebook and tracking your vehicle speeds, octane ratings and the mileage you get with each tank. Increasing your gas mileage isn’t luck; it’s science, and it’s something you can master and use to your advantage.

Image credit: Toyota

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