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Are There Any Hybrid Hypermilers Residing In Buzztown?

by Catgic / January 5, 2007 10:40 PM PST

My other car is a classic 1986 560SL that slurps down premium priced, high-test fuel at the rate of one U.S. Gallon for every 15 miles of highway traveled --- that is, if I can keep my lead foot from putting it into fuel-injected afterburner. To do my part to fight Petro-Terrorism and Save The Planet as well as to conserve the ever dwindling contents of my wallet, I recently acquired a 2007 Prius Hybrid that frugally sips bargain priced, low-test Arabian Go-Juice at a nominal EPA 51/55/60 MPG.

My Mercedes Roaster put me on a first name basis with, Bubba, the owner of the corner gas station who used to smile and wave at me every time I pulled in to top-off my 26.5 U.S. Gallon tank with Premium Unleaded. Alas, my new Toyota Hybrid is working to make strangers out of Bubba and me. Now, when I Pulse & Glide silently by in Warp Stealth with the multi-function information display monitor in the Prius cockpit showing all black energy flow arrow lines and 99.9 MPG, Bubba wears a frown and no longer waves at me.

Bubba and I are becoming strangers, and I now only drive my well-muscled, fuel-hungry and high-maintenance roadster to church once a week to keep its innards lubricated.

Once I started driving my new Prius Hybrid, I was drawn to hybrid hypermiling like the proverbial moth is drawn to a flame. Grasshopper, I have now been transformed into a hypermiling Hybrid Zen Master who is At One With My Hybrid. I now work (play?) hard at driving my Prius to optimally manage the Hybrid Synergy Drive so as to cause it to deliver, and surpass the 51/55/60 EPA Fuel Economy numbers promised on the window sticker.

Are there any other residents of Buzztown who are owners and drivers of a hybrid personal transportation vehicle? If so, what brand and model is it, what kind of gas mileage do you get, and; are you an active, practicing hybrid hypermiler? JP Cool

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06 Civic Hybrid getting 32 MPG. No help. Here's why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 6, 2007 1:02 AM PST

We had the 2003 Civic Hybrid and even in the worst of winter we barely dropped below 40. But Honda has "lost the magic" on the 2006 and apparently the 2007 Hybrids so I'll write to stay away from them until they issue new software.

I've called Honda America for hours and the car was in the shop for a week but no one knew that as the temperature dropped to 60F then 50F that the cars programming would kick the mileage down so far. With some near 32F weather it declined to the low 30 MPG so we miss the old model which did much better year round.

Stick with the Prius for now.

More reading about this woe at

If you live in warm 65F+ areas the new models will do fine, but not for northern areas.


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i have!
by aribeiro2 / January 6, 2007 2:07 AM PST

my car uses gasoline and natural gas for vehicles...
if i don't pay the parking taxes, it's cheaper to go by car to any place i want, using the natural gas for vehicles!

it's very commonly used in rio de janeiro, i would say a impressive part of the city uses it!

and you make as km as gasoline paying 65% less!

in brazil we have also alcohol for cars, in the past a big part of cars in brazil used this kind of fuel
even misters Page and Brin were impressed and would visit brazil again to learn about how do we produce alcohol!

those are the main fuel kinds in brazil, together with diesel... but diesel is used only for trucks, and it is forbidden for cars to have it!

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Honda Civic ISA Hybrid vs. Toyota Prius HSD Hybrid
by Catgic / January 7, 2007 4:33 AM PST

Happy New Year 2007, Bob --- I am disappointed to hear that the Fuel Efficiency ?2006 Civic Hybrid Horror? story you shared with me in the Gadgettes Lounge last August about the MPG shortfall between your new 2006 HCH, and your old fuel sipping 2003 HCH continues on. At least your son is getting great MPG out of the 2003 he inherited from you.

The new HCH control S/W must have been tweaked to stay in the rich-burn mode longer as the engine warms up before transitioning to fuel-sipping lean-burn mode. Was this change for emissions or other technical performance reasons? What story has Honda given you?

I have been following the Honda and Toyota Hybrids since 1999 when Honda first came out with their 66 MPG, 2-passenger Insight in the U.S. As a result, I am familiar with the technical details of both the Honda ISA and the Toyota HSD hybrid implementations.

For years, and until recently, there was an unreasonably hot market for hybrid cars. Our local Honda and Toyota dealers both had 6-8 week waiting lists, and no on-lot inventories. A new Prius was garnering a $3K-$4K premium over sticker price, with the Honda Civic Hybrid (HCH) fetching a $2K-$3K premium over sticker. In the last few months, the hybrid feeding frenzy seems to have subsided. You can now find hybrids available on the dealer?s lots. This cool down in frenzied demand may be due the ebbing of gasoline prices down from $3++ to $2+ or the Hybrid Tax Rebate/Credit being phased out, or maybe because of both. I do not know.

Today, in my area any way, there are on-lot inventories of Honda and Toyota hybrids. They are now more fairly and reasonably priced, and the local dealers are more open to price negotiation. Therefore, I finally went out and bought one.

Dealer pricing for the Civic Hybrid versus the Toyota Prius Hybrid is about the same for comparably optioned hybrid vehicles. My local Honda dealer resisted negotiating with me on price more then did my Toyota dealer. My Toyota dealer was willing to dicker with me on price down to 7.5% below window sticker. Honda was not, and had more of a take-it-or-leave-it sales posture.

Even when I took price out of the buying decision process, my personal analysis told me that if I really needed a hybrid car that gets stellar mileage along with a slightly more elegant technology edge --- Prius was the choice. Anecdotally, and per EPA FE numbers, the Prius gets better gas mileage then the HCH, is slightly quicker, and has a more spacious cockpit along with more passenger and cargo volume. These features confirmed to me that Prius with its Hybrid Synergy Drive should be my choice. When I put in price in, it remained Prius.

Overall, the Honda Civic Hybrid is a good car with a slight edge on looks. The HCH used to handle better then the Prius, but with the new tuned, sport suspension in the 2007 Prius, this advantage has been neutralized. As you reported, your new 2006 HCH is not delivering the stellar Fuel Economy (FE) of either your old 2003 HCH or today?s Prius. The FE shortfall of the new HCH?s, and the excellent FE, function and features delivered in the Prius, is why Prius was the clear choice for me.

Now that I have a Prius, and have driven it, I can confirm these FE, technology and driver, passenger and cargo hauling benefits.

I know that you and your wife are Honda loyalists, and long time Civic and Odyssey owner-drivers. My wife and I are both Kinda Fonda Honda too, and have owned a few. I once owned a 1992 Civic CX that regularly delivered 45 MPG Highway with me driving at nominal 65+/- mph freeway/Interstate travel speeds. The FE of that fuel-sipping Civic CX became my baseline for comparing the FE and technical pros/cons, benefits, and advantages of hybrid cars.

If sticking with Honda had been my criteria when buying this time, I would have purchased a conventionally powered 2007 Honda Civic. The MSRP for the regular Civic is some $6800 lower than the HCH, it has more power and there is not a substantial difference between the actual MPG delivered by the regular, conventionally powered $15,810.00 Civic, and the $22,600 Civic Hybrid.

Happy Hypermiling --- JP Cool

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"there is not a substantial difference between the actual...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 8, 2007 3:09 AM PST

"there is not a substantial difference between the actual MPG delivered by the regular, conventionally powered $15,810.00 Civic, and the $22,600 Civic Hybrid."

This is 'da truth for any area that doesn't have nearly year round 65+F degree temperatures. In fact I'm comparing mileage with a buddy in Hartford, CT and his '07 Civic (nonhybrid) in this chilly 32 to 50F weather is getting the same mileage as our pricier '06 HCH.

What did Honda America say? It was silence. They are silent on this even to the dealers who have to deal with customers like me. I took it as a "project" to see if I could get to the bottom of this with the car being in the shop day after day to get an answer. Even the dealer had no pull here to have Honda tech line to reveal that this was burned into the car's programming.

The only reason we opted for the '06 HCH was the bullseye hit on our '03 HCH. Now all we will do is tell others to stay away until Honda tells all and issues a fix.


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Not just Honda...
by dro0001 / January 8, 2007 7:18 AM PST

In general hybrids are not worth it unless you do the type of driving that hybrids are designed for....stop and go.

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Sorry, but that's a myth. I debunked that one with our 2003
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 8, 2007 10:36 PM PST
In reply to: Not just Honda...

Our 2003 HCH handily debunked that myth. Last summer I could get 50.5 MPG to/from Boston and Hartford, CT. That's a 200 mile round trip.

Let's see if a Prius owner will chime in on this myth.


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60 MPG Loooks Like A Shoe-In
by Catgic / January 9, 2007 7:00 AM PST
In reply to: Not just Honda...
In general hybrids are not worth it unless you do the type of driving that hybrids are designed for....stop and go.

Paintguru --- Until just recently, hybrids were selling with at least a $2K-$4K premiums above MSRP, and there were none on the lots. This has changed. I just purchased a Prius hybrid from my local Toyota dealer at 7.5% below sticker price. I was unable to do this for years, and even as recently as four months ago. As I wrote in my earlier post, the Hybrid-Buyer Feeding Frenzy seems to have ebbed in recent months --- at least where I live. Independent automobile industry experts say this current lull in hybrid demand is only a temporary one.

Hybrids are ?worth it? if you want to save gasoline. They are especially worth it for the ?stop and go? city/urban/suburban driving to which you refer. Even for Freeway/Interstate driving, the Prius and Honda Hybrids will give you at least the inherent ~45 MPG FE of the conventional 4-cylinder gasoline engines that are used to power their hybrid systems.

I purchased a 2007 Prius less then two weeks ago, and took it home with a full 11.9 gallon tank of gas. Whenever I can, I have been driving the car since I have owned it using "Pule and Glide," and other hybrid hypermiling driving techniques. So far, I have driven it for 122.1 ?stop & go? around-town miles, and the fuel gauge is still pegged on FULL. I will not know with precision what my actual-measured average MPG is until I refill the gas tank to FULL and do the math --- but judging from the instantaneous MPG readings, the EPA promised 60 MPG looks like it will be a shoe-in. JP Cool
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(NT) (NT) What are you driving? What mpg are you getting?
by imiiso / January 10, 2007 7:40 PM PST
In reply to: Not just Honda...
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2005 Prius made extra price worthwhile.
by CraigPotts / November 5, 2007 7:33 AM PST
In reply to: Not just Honda...

I still like my 2005 Prius. After 60,000 miles I am getting 45 mpg in the winter and 54-57 in the summer (summer trips over 3 hours are consistently over 55 mpg at 70 mph).

My previous car got 26 mpg (similar size)so I figure I have saved 1100 gallons of gas. At $2.50/gal that would have been $2750 saved.

I blame the car heater for the winter cost. The Prius still uses exhaust heat to heat the interior. If I turn off the heat, the engine will shut down at traffic signals.

My gas milage is lower with stop and go, 43/48 mpg (winter/summer).

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2007 Prius in Cleveland
by rorywohl / January 9, 2007 5:21 AM PST

My wife and I carpool to work in her 2007 Prius. It's about a 70 mile round trip and is mostly freeway driving. We typically average between 45 and 50 mpg, which beats the heck out of the 25 mpg we were getting in her 2001 Subaru Legacy.

We're driving to Florida in March, so it'll be interesting to see how it does on that 2,500 mile round trip loaded down with luggage and the dog.

The best part about the car is all the pretty buttons I get to play with while she's driving.

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South Florida Or Bust!
by Catgic / January 9, 2007 4:30 PM PST

RoryWohl --- 1,004 Prius owner-drivers have posted their actual average MPGs to the Real Hybrid Database at Green Hybrid. These reported MPGs range from a high of 71.8 to a low of 29.2. The average MPG for all 1004 folks is 47.6 MPG. So the 45-50 MPG you are getting is both typical and great fuel economy for your commutes that include travel at Interstate speeds.

Your 45-50 MPG is essentially the basic fuel economy delivered by the conventional 1.5 Liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i 4-cylinder that serves as the prime-mover for the Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive, plus an add-on 12%-25% bonus FE contribution from the hybrid function (i.e. Basic: [40-45] MPG + Hybrid Bonus: [5-10 MPG] = 45-50+/-).

I assume your wife is driving the Prius on your daily commutes, much like she drove your old conventionally powered Subaru. She could gain incremental MPG improvement if she would work to attune her hybrid driving techniques by incorporating and applying fuel-sipping hypermiling elements, like Pulse & Glide and Warp Stealth, into it. Learning where the operating sweet spot of the engine is as well as maintaining cold tire pressures at a higher 42/40 PSI range versus 35/33 would also contribute FE rewards to your daily 70 mile commutes.

FYI ? Maximizing Mileage in a Toyota Prius:

Keep a good and accurate trip log on your 2,500 mile Prius w/ Max-Luggage & Dog Load round trip to Florida in March so you can report your measured, actual average MPG for the whole trip back to us hybrid hypermilers here in Buzztown when you return. JP Cool

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1898 Porsche gas-electric
by nutjob / November 6, 2007 6:48 AM PST
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(NT) (NT) Prius, There Is No Substitute!
by Catgic / November 11, 2007 6:15 AM PST
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