Prius Log #1 – Gas Prices “Up Up and Away”

Toyota Prius Fuel Economy by Rick Butler

Ever increasing fuel costs is a fact of life we all need to adjust to. In fact, the higher the price of gas the better off we will be. That’s right, in my opinion, we have for many decades become addicted to the stuff as a result of lower gas prices in North America compared to the rest of the world. As the price climbs human ingenuity will take over to find new ways of becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. We consume 80 million barrels of the polluting liquid gold every day; just think of what is coming as China and India build their middle classes and depletion sky rockets as millions of automobiles are added to the fray. Toyota has stated its car sales in China have risen 30% this past year; a good thing they are small engine vehicles. OPEC is pumping near capacity and by some estimates we are beyond our carrying capacity for the black sludge. A vehicle emits green house gasses and pollutants into the air in direct proportion to its weight every year. It makes good, healthy sense to reduce the carnage of our environment and the air we all breathe by decreasing our obsessive squandering of the “go juice”.

What can we do as individuals to use less gas, save money, pollute less and improve our health? Well I’m glad you asked. Following are a few tips I have learned since driving Emili, our Toyota Prius, as she gives detailed fuel consumption reports instantaneously and in 5 minute intervals-
1) The first 10 minutes of driving a cold engine consumes gas at a rate of 2 1/2 times its average rate of consumption. I have noted while Emili consumes gas at the rate of 4.3 litres per 100 km on average thus far, the first 10 minutes consumption is closer to 11 litres per 100 km. By eliminating multiple short trips on a cold engine and combining them into one trip saves considerable fuel. Walk to the corner store for that jug of soy and loaf of organic 12 grain bread.
2) Coast to a stop rather than going from gas pedal to brake pedal immediately. By getting the revs down to idle speed for a longer period of time your car will consume less. This will also reduce wear on your brakes.
3) Avoid quick acceleration. Emili has proven we can get to cruising speed consuming at a rate of 16 litres per 100 km or at a rate of 7.5 litres per 100 km, depending on the way I accelerate.
4) Reduce the demands on your electrical system by limiting use of air conditioning and accessories.
5) Do not exceed the speed limit.
6) If you have roof racks on the vehicle remove them when not in use to lessen wind resistance.
7) Remove all excess weight from your vehicle. A good reason to clean out that trunk.
8) Do not let your car idle needlessly.
9) Properly inflated tires, regular maintenance and a well-tuned engine add fuel efficiency.
10) Use alternative modes of transportation whenever possible, such as, public transit, bike, car pooling.

We challenge you to SAVE 10% on your gas bill by following these 10 steps, which will also equate to 10% less harmful, polluting emissions. We all win and breath a little easier.

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