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MPG for hilly areas

Old 04-26-2006, 08:46 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pittsburgh
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Default MPG in hilly regions

I live in Western PA, it's a fairly hilly part of the country, not much flat land at all. I was wondering if anyone living in hilly parts of the country could share their experiences from an MPG perspective. I'm curious to see how you are all comparing to the folks in the flat parts of the country.

I really like how everyone posts their real world MPG here. It's really pushing me toward getting a hybrid. So any info would be greatly appreciated.



Last edited by Jason; 04-26-2006 at 04:01 PM.
Old 04-26-2006, 09:05 AM
bwilson4web's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 5,613
Default Re: MPG for hilly areas

Originally Posted by jmp123
I live in Western PA, it's a fairly hilly part of the country, not much flat land at all. I was wondering if anyone living in hilly parts of the country could share their experiences from an MPG perspective. I'm curious to see how you are all comparing to the folks in the flat parts of the country. . . .
You might check over in the PriusChat area too.

Bob Wilson
Old 04-26-2006, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Fall City, WA
Posts: 43
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

I live in Washington, in a hilly area (I live at the top of a large hill that smacks my mileage down every time I climb it!). I have only had my '06 HCH for a few weeks, but so far my mileage is just a bit under 50mpg. I'm very happy with my car so far!
Old 04-26-2006, 10:23 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Mililani, HI
Posts: 34
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

Central Oahu in Hawaii is very hilly. I don't get near 50 mpg but I average 40 mpg. I've tried agressive driving and non-agressive driving but I only max out at 42.7 mpg using fuel saving techniques and have dipped only to 38.6 when I pass everyone (literally). Who says Hybrids were slow? I think it outperforms my previous 98 Honda Civic DX. I'd like to improve my FE but I've almost given up with my quest for the elusive 50mpgs.

Old 04-26-2006, 10:53 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Central PA
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Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas


Well so far I'm probably closest to you. I live in Central PA - York area. The hills we have here are probably a bit less severe than you deal with in Pittsburgh. There is no question that hills are very detrimental to your mileage. My perspective is that if you're on the highway it's a rather major detriment but on the back roads (45mph or less) it's not that big of a deal. I have one standard trip that I take - on I83 from York to Harrisburg. The route is pretty much completely hills with a couple big ones. I have absolutely given up using cruise control on the trip as I got sick of the car revving at 5000 RPM going up the big hills (and averaging less than 40mpg). Without cruise I average about 45MPG on the trip at an average 65mph. Certainly not bad, but not the 55 to 60 that some people get on flat terrain.

Overall my actual mileage is about 43 - on the low end of the bell curve. I suspect that the hills around here and also my very short work commute (2.2 miles - car never has a chance to warm up and gets around 30mpg in the winter for that portion of my driving) contribute to keeping me below average.

Any other questions please ask.


Last edited by williaea; 04-26-2006 at 10:56 AM.
Old 04-26-2006, 01:08 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Anaheim Hills, CA
Posts: 655
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

I live in Anaheim Hills, CA... and the "Hills" part of the name is there for a reason! I battle a 1.1 mile, 9% grade every day, and it is the most difficult part of my 22 mile commute (mpg-speaking, of course!). I live at the top of the hill, so my mornings should give me a boost... but the poor performance of the cold engine kills the gain. In the evening, I climb the monster and see all of my MPG gains for the day slip away.

On my last tank, I was at about 100 miles and 43.0 mpg average at the bottom of the hill. By the time I was home, it was down to 41.9. Over 1 mpg lost!

Still, it's better (by FAR) then the old SUV I was driving, so I won't complain!
Old 04-26-2006, 01:43 PM
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Posts: 1,672
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

Hills can actually help your mileage, depending on the hill and the location of traffic control. For example a stop sign at the bottom of a hill is a mileage killer. Medium lenght shallow grade hills are awesome for doing a FAS (be careful using this technique). Try to "drive with the load" in hilly country.
Old 04-26-2006, 02:00 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 149
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

My commute is a 1000 ft hill climb through 7 mi of rolling hills with a corresponding coast back down (and a short leg through city traffic). I can break 50mpg if I go super slow in the summer (45-50ish and no air). But if I keep up (65ish with air) I get 42-44 mpg, and it can drop to 38 on those days when things go bad, heavy traffic, rain, miss all the lights, etc.

Another popular route for me is "over the hill" to San Jose, a 2500 ft rolling hill climb about 20 mi each way. It is all highway, and I generally net 45-47 mpg overall on that trip. It is just amazing to me the car can do that. Again, if I want to go slow, I can net over 50 mpg on that trip (I once netted 55mpg on a super hot day, no air, with slow but steady traffic, these cars shine at 45-50 mph).

So for the HCH the most important thing is it highway vs city miles, hills don't impact highway miles that much, but deep city driving with short lights can push you down into the mid-30's pretty quick. Although I find with some technique and sweat glands I can generally stay above 40 mpg at all times, except for short trips on cold days. My house is at the top of a 200' hill, so any short trip requires a hill climb on the way back up (which is best cause the engine is warmed up then).

If city is your primary driving type, consider a Prius, but if highway miles are your primary concern, then the Civic shines.
Old 04-26-2006, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Edison, NJ
Posts: 47
Default Re: MPG in hilly regions

It really won't affect much. In mine, I drove around north Jersey often, and those areas are very hilly, it does use more gas when you try to go uphill, but when you go downhill, your MPG will increase.
Old 04-26-2006, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

I live about 30 miles east of Seattle at an elevation of just over 1000 feet. My commute for the first 15 miles drops from 1000 feet down to about 100, in several major up hill/down hill segments, all at 70 MPH. From there into Seattle it's 60 MPH followed by about 5 blocks of city driving and lots of circling up the parking garage.

Rinse Reverse Repeat.

If I'm careful I get about 44-45, if I'm not I get 40-42.

Last weekend I drove to Oregon and back and got 46. While I was on my way home in Oregon (where speed limits are 55/65) I was getting over 55 for quite a while, but that was coming down from 4000 ft to about sea level.

The main thing to remember is that the mileage number on the sticker may or may not mirror your experience, but it is great for comparing to the "official" value on other cars.

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