A hybrid car is already, on its own, a very fuel-efficient way to drive: the best MPG numbers for hybrid cars are as high as 120-130 in the city and 100-110 on the highway. However, even with hybrid cars there are ways to drive and use the car that will give you even more miles per gallon. As one of the leading companies for auto repairs in Philadelphia, we like to think we know a little something about cars and hybrid vehicles, so we put together a short list of tips for fuel-efficient hybrid driving. The list has suggestions we recommend you keep in mind, even if you can’t follow every one of them all the time.
Avoid Extra Weight
We understand that using your car trunk as a mobile storage unit can have its benefits, but you should also always remember that any extra weight in a regular or a hybrid car will have an effect on the MPG, as well as the car’s overall performance. We recommend going through your trunk every now and then to see if you’re driving around with extra things that can be thrown away or stored elsewhere. This same advice also applies to any roof or bike racks you’re not using, as they will not only add to the weight but also increase the drag.
Overall, if you want to get the maximum benefit out of your hybrid car, you should save the all-electric mode for cruising and use gas for the acceleration, since acceleration uses a lot more energy than cruising – in other words, you’ll get more out of your electricity if you save it for cruising. Also, use cruise control when possible to maintain a steady speed.
The best way to save energy and fuel is to plan your routes carefully – being aware of traffic jams and alternative routes can end up saving you a lot in the long term. If you do find yourself sitting in stop-start traffic, remember not to put the car in neutral, because it will keep electricity from being generated. That, in turn, means the hybrid battery will discharge.
When using accessories like the radio or the climate control, you should always remember they use electricity. That’s not to say you should never turn them on, but avoid doing so when it’s not necessary. Also, if you drive a hybrid with an “eco” mode available, you should try to use that as often as possible. You can also consider not using headlights in daylight, especially if your hybrid doesn’t have low-energy LEDs.
Since hybrids usually have a regenerative effect for braking or backing off, it’s even more important to be conscious about your use of breaks. When possible, without endangering yourself or others, try to give yourself plenty of time and distance to break slowly, as it will harvest more energy.
It’s a basic thing that applies to the MPG of all vehicles, but you should always regularly check that your tire pressures correspond to the guidelines given in the manufacturer manual. Even though it only takes a few minutes to check this every now and then, you’d be surprised to know how many do it way too rarely or not at all.