Hybrid cars are designed to be fuel-efficient and usually boast of some impressively high MPG ratings. However, your mileage may vary depending on how you’re driving your hybrid.
Some hybrid owners never achieve the high MPG numbers promised on the window sticker simply because their driving habits don’t take advantage of a hybrid’s strengths.
Those who practice eco-driving, though, can truly make use of a hybrid vehicle’s fuel-saving capabilities. Below are some tips on how to get the best possible MPG when driving your hybrid.
- Don’t drive aggressively. Hybrids run on electric power except whenever additional horsepower is needed from the fuel-burning engine. If you accelerate gradually, less power is needed and less fuel will be consumed. Slowing down and braking gradually also saves fuel; the engine does not run when you’re coasting, and the regenerative brakes actually recharge the batteries if you apply slow, steady pressure.
- Don’t speed. Unlike most vehicles, a fully hybrid car typically gets lower gas mileage on the highway than it does in city driving. Hybrid vehicles must rely fully on the gasoline engine at high speeds. Staying below the speed limit in a hybrid can significantly improve your MPG numbers.
- Use cruise control. When you’re driving your hybrid on the highway, cruise control is your friend. The consistent speed means no sudden surges of power are needed, allowing the hybrid system to run at a constant, efficient level.
- Reduce weight. Carrying excess baggage requires the engine to produce more power.
- Maintain your hybrid. As with any vehicle, keeping the oil changed and the tires properly inflated will help your hybrid achieve peak efficiency.
- Limit use of the heater and air conditioner. The heat in a car is produced by burning fuel, so a hybrid will generally need to run the engine to keep you warm. And the air conditioner in a hybrid runs off the battery, draining its charge and leaving less power for the wheels.
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