Saving gas mileage is for me at least a dramatic change to all of my driving habits. I gave up decades of driving a sports car and the joy of feeling curves at speed and acceleration onto highways for better economy, lower expenditures at the pump, and a noticeable reduction in my own episodes of potential road rage. More and more now I'm blown away by drivers who are always in a hurry, have to be two car lengths ahead of you regardless, and don't care about the dangers of weaving. I've even seen people speeding on the way to work! No job can be that enjoyable, or that important! As a traffic engineer I know quite a bit about driver behavior. I have seen my own behavior transform in ways I could have never imagined now that I drive a hybrid. Getting good mileage means knowing your car, working with its quirks, and maximizing its strengths to safely and efficiently get from point A to point B without wasting fuel. What's five minutes if you can translate it into $3 at the pump?
All the rules for maximizing mileage in a conventional vehicle apply. To that list you can add:
- Charge your hybrid battery as often and as efficiently as every opportunity allows. This includes downshifting, controlled braking, and long coasting.
- Just because the neighborhood speed limit is 25 doesn't mean you can't drive to your house at 20 MPH
(especially if the ICE is off).
- Learn to coast at higher speeds with the engine off, even on expressways.
- Regulate your RPMs as much as possible. The difference between climbing an on-ramp fast versus more slowly is only about 5 to 10 seconds.
- At freeway speeds use the ICE primarily to maintain speed, sudden changes in speed hurt mileage.
As a side benefit, driving with fuel economy in mind will also make you a more defensive and safer driver as well. This is true even on our low speed neighborhood streets.