Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Before you run out for that hybrid, read this first

Wired News: Hybrid Mileage Comes Up Short

But after a few months of commuting to his job in Cincinnati, Blackshaw's hybrid euphoria vanished as his car's odometer revealed that the gas mileage he was hoping for was only a pipe dream. Honda's Civic Hybrid is rated by the EPA to get 47 miles per gallon in the city, and 48 mpg on the highway. After nearly 1,000 miles of mostly city driving, Blackshaw was getting 31.4 mpg.

Related article:
For Speeders, Hybrids Suck Gas

Toyota responded to customer queries by distributing a four-page pamphlet to its dealers in April. The document, which explains hybrid fuel-efficiency and offers tips on boosting gas mileage, is available upon request from dealers, according to Toyota spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell.

Toyota engineer Dave Hermance said that weather, driving conditions and driver habits can cut fuel-efficiency by up to 30 percent. Hermance said drivers who slowly roll through intersections using "California stops" are decreasing their mileage. "If you don't stop, you don't get the free energy of regenerative braking."