Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


July 21, 2006

Hybrids are Great For Highway (and City)

Category: Conservation,Save Fuel,Transportation – Tom Harrison – 6:11 pm

We have been frustrated several times recently hearing people say things about hybrids, like “they aren’t good for highway driving”. I think this is due to the fact that the EPA estimates for the Prius are higher in the city than the highway, which is unusual.

So, just to be clear, the fact that the Prius is rated at 55 Highway, 60 City should not lead you to conclude that it is “not good for the highway”. It’s not true. It was confusing, for example, to Click and Clack who perpetuated this growing myth in a recent show. Friends and co-workers have said they don’t think a hybrid makes sense because they do mostly highway driving. The logic of this assertion is wrong. All one might conclude from the EPA estimates is that the mileage is slightly more fantastic in the city, but incredible in all settings.

So fact: in our 2006 Prius, with 4 people, suitcases, beach stuff, suntan lotion, kites, etc. we measured a little over 50 MPG in mostly highway driving on our recent trip to Cape Cod. On my regular daily commuting which is a short drive along suburban streets, I get around 42 MPG.

So it is not the case that Hybrids, at least ours, are worse on the highway, even though the EPA estimates suggest that. Like other cars, at least for us (and we have 2 Prius’s) we get better mileage on the highway.

And most important, whether it is worse on the highway or in the city is totally irrelevant because the car gets much, much better mileage than any comparable vehicle, perhaps as much as twice the mileage as an average family sedan, and perhaps three times the mileage of an average mini-van or SUV.

OK, so if you are trying to avoid buying the Prius because it “not good on the highway” consider yourself dis-excused.

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