Toyota Prius Fuel Economy – Kudos to Our Gal, Emili

Toyota Prius Fuel Economy by Rick Butler

IMG_5159“G’day ya’ll” met us as Emili (our Toyota Prius) pulled in to a gas/convenience store; no, Emili didn’t need a drink, we did. A very excited young man blocked our way, “where’d ya’ll buy yer car?” As our conversation pursued we discovered this young man and his wife had ordered a Prius and would have to wait up to 8 months for delivery. He was very keen on Emili and after answering all his queries we continued into the store to buy some libation for us on this hot afternoon. Upon exiting the store the fellow was back with his wife stating, “I just couldn’t let this opotunity g’by without gett’n my wife t’ see yer car.” Ratchel was as enthusiastic as her husband, she even got to sit in Emili. This type of interest in Emili has become very common. In fact, as we were cruising along (only at the stated speed limit) Highway 84, south east of Lubbock, a big bruiser of a truck (International, I think) decided to come onto our side of the road to get a closer look at Emili. Must have been love at first sight, but to tell you the truth, Irene and I thought this guy was far too big and aggressive for our little Emili. Emili “beeped” her little heart out to discourage the advances of this unwelcome suitor. It seemed her efforts were being ignored until her soft red curves turned into a fiery blaze of furry and the big boy mellowed and backed right off allowing Emili to continue on her way unaccosted. We breathed a sigh of relief as we wiped beads of sweat from our brows.

Emili has maintained her 4.8 litre per 100 km average intake of fossil fuels over the past 13,418 kilometres. Through the State of Texas she wanted to drink a little too much; maybe she got hooked on this Texas Gold, but more likely it was the wind. All through the Lone Star State the wind blew in the same direction; directly at us. These head winds, and the higher speed limit, (up to 75 mph, although I refused to go faster than 69 mph) caused Emili to go through an average of 5.4 litres per 100 km.

She experienced her best rate of imbibing yet, from Las Vegas, New Mexico to Taos, where Emili consumed at a rate of just 3.8 litres per 100 km – Yeah Emili (her last fill was at 4.0 litres per 100 km, the best fill yet.) This was very surprising as we were in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains all the way and many of the hills were so long and steep she depleted her battery charge down to the last bar on the metre, relying more heavily on the gas engine alone. The down hill runs were most welcome as she was able to recharge her cells very quickly from the kinetic energy created by coasting and get back to her synergy system of the electric engine assisting the gas engine.

Texas was very hot, some days reaching 40 degrees Celsius. We had to break down and ask Emili to provide us with some relief from the incessant heat by way of her air conditioner. We discovered very quickly this places a large demand on her electrical system and the charge in her battery runs down perilously low, especially at long red lights. It became necessary for us to turn off the air when stopped at intersections so as not to run the battery too low. It seems to me an additional method of charging her batteries would be a beneficial asset to her already superb technology. I will be sending Toyota my findings and suggestions.

Gas prices are on average lower in the States than at home. The highest price we have seen thus far has been in Taos, New Mexico at $2.17 U.S. per gallon or about 75 cents Canadian per litre; the more common price appears to be in the $1.89 U.S. per gallon range (66 cents Canadian per litre). Overall we have averaged 79 cents per litre thus far on our peregrinations, which equates to $5.71 a day.

As for our opinion of Emili and her performance thus far, we rate her at 8 out of 10. She continues to handle and perform extremely well with a comfortable and efficient interior. Her average gas mileage continues to be worse than Toyota’s stated fuel economy, 4.8 versus 4.1.

Our best wishes for ya’ll,
Rick

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