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MPG for hilly areas

Old 04-26-2006, 02:56 PM
highroute's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Oakland CA USA
Posts: 22
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.
My 2006 Prius is still very new -- fewer than 1000 miles on it so far -- so it is too soon to tell. I live at the top of the "East Bay Hills" in Oakland, California, where the terrain is not that different from that in much of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I was born. I have an 800-foot climb in just over a mile to reach my house, and yes the MPG according to the display really drops off during that climb. At times it drops into the single digits. Because I need to make that climb at the end of almost every trip, I suspect my car will not match the efficiency of the Priuses that stay in flat country.

You can follow my car's stats in the GreenHybrid Database.
Old 04-26-2006, 03:52 PM
Mixbreed's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 12
Default Re: MPG for hilly areas

Originally Posted by bwilson4web
You might check over in the PriusChat area too.

Bob Wilson
Okay, I just spent 5 minutes looking for this PriusChat area. Can someone throw me a bone? THANKS!!!
Old 04-26-2006, 05:38 PM
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Engineering first
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 5,613
Default Re: MPG for hilly areas

Originally Posted by Mixbreed
Okay, I just spent 5 minutes looking for this PriusChat area. Can someone throw me a bone? THANKS!!!


I'm not 'pimping' them as much as they have a goodly number of posters too.

Bob Wilson
Old 04-27-2006, 03:03 PM
Hot_Georgia_2004's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Posts: 1,797
Default Re: MPG for hilly areas

I live in the foot hills of the foothills of the Bluer Ridge Mountains.
Just like you I'm either going uphill or downhills.
Lots of bowl/basin type hills.

I made some tips in the learning section:

Climbing a Hill Bigger hills are the second main MPG killer. If this is a familiar route, perhaps you can find a different road going around the hill. Pick a route that doesnít add significant distance to your trip. Raise the FCD whenever it is possible and try for just 2 or 4 MPG even if only temporarily in mid-hill. Most hills have flatter areas as you climb. Learn to watch for these flatter areas and take advantage of them whenever possible.

Use the IMA on hills very sparingly. If Assist comes on you are pulling hard and need to try and squeeze just two or four more MPG out of the FCD meter. Sometimes you just canít avoid it but back off as soon as you can.

The CVT can do some fairly unpredictable things climbing a big hill. If the FCD is down to one segment below 40 I can usually lock some Assist in at that point. Sometimes I can back off to 40 MPG and still have the Assist locked in, keeping my speed schedule up the hill. Feather back as the hill begins to flatten out near the top.

If climbing a really BIG hill, the IMA might shut down the Assist and select a very low ratio. This causes a sudden increase in RPMís and a big drop in MPG, slowing you down quickly. Sometimes you can back off the accelerator and the CVT will go to a lower ratio again but it may be difficult to get an Assist lock. Traffic permitting pull the hill at the lowest MPG if you must, but try and keep off the Assist.

Continue to drive with the load. Donít maintain speed climbing hills. Try to guess the time it will take to reach the crest. Also decide the minimum speed required at the crest"

Also, don't run the defroster or A/C (same thing) while climbing a hill. Save it for while you are slowing, braking or rolling down hill.

Some of those tips in that section are not mine:
I'm not sure how they got in there.
Old 04-28-2006, 09:29 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2
Default Re: MPG for hilly areas

I live in Washington, PA, just a bit south of Pittsburgh, and I'm getting a lifetime mileage with my Prius of about 50MPG. My wife and I have put about 30,000 miles on it over the past year and a half, mostly interstate but also quite a few hilly back roads.
As you'd expect, mileage drops quite a bit going up large hills, but you generally make most of the mileage back up going back down the other side. There's a particularly long hill between Pittsburgh and Wheeling, WV on my wife's commute that always knocks a couple MPG off of my tank average, but going the other way it charges up the battery enough that the gas engine hardly gets used the rest of the drive!

Old 04-29-2006, 04:45 AM
AshenGrey's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 881
Default Re: MPG for hilly areas

The i-83 concrete rollercoaster is the main reason I don't get 48 MPG. That road consistently drains the IMA to 3-4 bars.
Old 05-04-2006, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 12
Default Re: MPG in Hilly areas

Originally Posted by lakedude
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.
I might as well give you the CT perspective. I drive on Rt. 15 a lot (Merritt Parkway) which is quite hilly. Eventhough the speed limit is usually ~50mph, people drive 70-80. I've found that overall the hills can help your mileage especially when the incline isn't too steep. Sometimes I'm definitely guzzling gas to keep speed uphill, but because I can glide especially with EV assist I'm able to counter the uphill with >99.9mpg on the downhill and slight downhills. My mileage soars when I can keep the mileage b/t 40-50mpg on the less steep uphills, but this usually involves my speed dropping to ~50 (which is actually the speed limit, eventhough I'd be getting passed by everyone). I broke a personal record with my last tank (4th overall) while driving only on this hilly parkway...53.4 mpg.
Old 05-04-2006, 07:52 AM
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Location: Central PA
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Default Re: MPG for hilly areas


Concrete roller coater! I like that one. I drive between York and Harrisburg PA at least once a week and that's a great analogy! My mileage on that trip has crept up from the low to mid 40's when my car was new (and it was cold in February) to 51 last night when it was 73 degrees! Average speed somewhere between 65 and 68 probably.

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