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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During the coldest part of the past winter, it seemed as if, every few days, there was a new thread here with someone posting about poor fuel economy with his/her RAV4 Hybrid and thinking that something was wrong with the car.

In each of those threads, others posted and explained that hybrids do not do well with fuel economy when there is extreme cold because the ICE needs to run more to warm up the engine and to keep it warm. During the coldest part of winter here (in the Upper Midwest) the fuel economy with my RAV4 Hybrid often dropped into the 30 mpg range when the temperatures fell to 0 or below 0 F, and that was especially true for short trips.

I'm confident in guessing that those who had poor fuel economy this past winter and who thought that their cars were broken have seen a return to good fuel economy now that winter has ended.

I only re-set the fuel economy gauge on my RAV4 Hybrid once a year, and I do that when winter ends. This year, winter seemed to want to drag on, but, finally, about a week ago, I was confident that spring had arrived and that it was going to stick around. So, I re-set the fuel economy gauge. In the time since then, I've driven about 250 miles. Most of that driving has been 15-20 mile trips at speeds between about 35 and 55 mph, which is ideal for a hybrid. On the other hand, we've had several days when temperatures have been in the 90+ degrees F range. That isn't ideal for a hybrid, but the negative impact on fuel economy with very high temperatures is very small compared to the impact on fuel economy with extreme low temperatures. Also, most of my driving is in very hilly areas, but I find that the better fuel economy when driving downhill pretty much offsets the worse fuel economy when driving uphill.

Below is a picture showing my fuel economy from the 250 miles or so that I've driven since re-setting the fuel economy gauge. During that time, I've had multiple individual trips where the fuel economy was over 60 mpg.

Automotive design Gauge Motor vehicle Auto part Measuring instrument
 

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Winter is not the only negative for hybrids but also very short trips. I live on a hill and when driving down from home my engine turns on even when just some slight pressure on the accelerator and stays on until the engine gets up to temperature even though I have the heater turned off as I live in mild weather. Very inefficient if you ask me. Then again, going up the hill to my house, even with a warm engine, is lousy mileage. Unless in flat land and relatively medium to long trips mileage is honestly not good. Looking now at an electric when lease ends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Winter is not the only negative for hybrids but also very short trips. I live on a hill and when driving down from home my engine turns on even when just some slight pressure on the accelerator and stays on until the engine gets up to temperature even though I have the heater turned off as I live in mild weather. Very inefficient if you ask me. Then again, going up the hill to my house, even with a warm engine, is lousy mileage. Unless in flat land and relatively medium to long trips mileage is honestly not good. Looking now at an electric when lease ends.
Use of electric power is pretty much the same for a hybrid as it is for a fully electric car. The same factors that determine fuel economy for a hybrid are the same factors that will determine the driving range per charge with a fully electric car.

So, if your driving conditions or driving style are such that you aren't getting good fuel economy with a hybrid, it is likely that you will also be disappointed with the range per charge with a fully electric car.
 

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During the coldest part of the past winter, it seemed as if, every few days, there was a new thread here with someone posting about poor fuel economy with his/her RAV4 Hybrid and thinking that something was wrong with the car.

In each of those threads, others posted and explained that hybrids do not do well with fuel economy when there is extreme cold because the ICE needs to run more to warm up the engine and to keep it warm. During the coldest part of winter here (in the Upper Midwest) the fuel economy with my RAV4 Hybrid often dropped into the 30 mpg range when the temperatures fell to 0 or below 0 F, and that was especially true for short trips.

I'm confident in guessing that those who had poor fuel economy this past winter and who thought that their cars were broken have seen a return to good fuel economy now that winter has ended.

I only re-set the fuel economy gauge on my RAV4 Hybrid once a year, and I do that when winter ends. This year, winter seemed to want to drag on, but, finally, about a week ago, I was confident that spring had arrived and that it was going to stick around. So, I re-set the fuel economy gauge. In the time since then, I've driven about 250 miles. Most of that driving has been 15-20 mile trips at speeds between about 35 and 55 mph, which is ideal for a hybrid. On the other hand, we've had several days when temperatures have been in the 90+ degrees F range. That isn't ideal for a hybrid, but the negative impact on fuel economy with very high temperatures is very small compared to the impact on fuel economy with extreme low temperatures. Also, most of my driving is in very hilly areas, but I find that the better fuel economy when driving downhill pretty much offsets the worse fuel economy when driving uphill.

Below is a picture showing my fuel economy from the 250 miles or so that I've driven since re-setting the fuel economy gauge. During that time, I've had multiple individual trips where the fuel economy was over 60 mpg.

View attachment 182019
I envy you seeing that MPG. In 80k miles and 10 years driving Toyota hybrids in my location I've yet to break 39 MPG life of the car despite driving at moderate speeds. My shopping trips are short and up a steep hill. The return is down hill but after a half hour self check out at the store the ICE is on to provide HVAC. Yes ECO and ECO HVAC are used and a moderate foot and my typical interstate speed is -3 to 0 miles below the limit unless traffic demands more. I anticipate stops and slack off on going up grade and use regen when I can. I refuse to obsess over MPG. Not when the pick-up across the pumps from me is paying 4 times what I'm paying for gas.
 

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Use of electric power is pretty much the same for a hybrid as it is for a fully electric car. The same factors that determine fuel economy for a hybrid are the same factors that will determine the driving range per charge with a fully electric car.

So, if your driving conditions or driving style are such that you aren't getting good fuel economy with a hybrid, it is likely that you will also be disappointed with the range per charge with a fully electric car.
You are correct that driving will be affected in going up the hill but not needing to warm up an engine will certainly help. I honestly don't care too much with range like many with an electric car and I live in Spain where gas is close to $2.00/liter ($7.60 per gallon!) and have solar panels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You are correct that driving will be affected in going up the hill but not needing to warm up an engine will certainly help. I honestly don't care too much with range like many with an electric car and I live in Spain where gas is close to $2.00/liter ($7.60 per gallon!) and have solar panels.
I can see where having access to solar panels would make owning an electric vehicle an attractive choice.

I'd love to have solar panels on my property, but I live in the middle of many acres of timber, and installing solar panels would not be practical because it would require removing many dozens of large oak, walnut, and hickory trees to get an open line of sight to the sun. As it is, I have to purchase my electricity from a rural electric cooperative, and the cost per kwh is above the national average. And owning an electric vehicle would not even do much for the environment because the electricity from the electric cooperative is generated mostly by burning coal.
 

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I can see where having access to solar panels would make owning an electric vehicle an attractive choice.

I'd love to have solar panels on my property, but I live in the middle of many acres of timber, and installing solar panels would not be practical because it would require removing many dozens of large oak, walnut, and hickory trees to get an open line of sight to the sun. As it is, I have to purchase my electricity from a rural electric cooperative, and the cost per kwh is above the national average. And owning an electric vehicle would not even do much for the environment because the electricity from the electric cooperative is generated mostly by burning coal.
I hear you. Fortunately in Europe they are very aggressive in pursuing climate related actions and in fact they just announced that no new ICE cars can be sold after 2035. Another area which is quite good is that the energy market is no longer a monopoly where you have to buy from your local utility - now you can shop around and negotiate which is great. Even though I have a solar installation with battery the EV plan I have with my supplier sells me electricity at $0.038/kWh between 1 and 7 AM and I sell them my surplus daytime at $0.052/kWh making money in the process. I have solar batteries so I charge at night full every night at the cheap rate to cover expensive day rates - next to 0 in electricity cost. Sweet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I hear you. Fortunately in Europe they are very aggressive in pursuing climate related actions and in fact they just announced that no new ICE cars can be sold after 2035. Another area which is quite good is that the energy market is no longer a monopoly where you have to buy from your local utility - now you can shop around and negotiate which is great. Even though I have a solar installation with battery the EV plan I have with my supplier sells me electricity at $0.038/kWh between 1 and 7 AM and I sell them my surplus daytime at $0.052/kWh making money in the process. I have solar batteries so I charge at night full every night at the cheap rate to cover expensive day rates - next to 0 in electricity cost. Sweet!
It sounds like you have a great set-up for your electricity.

For as much as I don't enjoy paying for coal-generated electricity to the electric cooperative, I'm probably lucky even to have electric service. With only about 4 potential customers per mile of roadway, privately owned utilities would not be able to build the infrastructure and provide service to my area. The farmer from whom I bought my property did not even have electric service (or indoor plumbing) until the late 1960s, when the electric cooperative came into being.

For me, now, having a hybrid vehicle is a nice compromise. I'm happy with getting between 50 and 60 mpg for 8 months out of the year, and even the 30-40 mpg that I get during the other 4 months is a lot better than the 15-18 mpg that I used to get with the large Lexus SUV that I had for years. Perhaps, down the road, a fully electric vehicle will be more practical. (In the mean time, I'll look forward to having the electric cooperative bring a fiber internet connection to my location. They are getting close.)
 

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lesz wrote,
...For me, now, having a hybrid vehicle is a nice compromise. I'm happy with getting between 50 and 60 mpg for 8 months out of the year, and even the 30-40 mpg that I get during the other 4 months is a lot better than the 15-18 mpg that I used to get with the large Lexus SUV that I had for years. Perhaps, down the road, a fully electric vehicle will be more practical. (In the mean time, I'll look forward to having the electric cooperative bring a fiber internet connection to my location. They are getting close.)
I seem to get about 40 mpg , with snow tires at 36 F. 2021 RAV 4 Hybrid
Speedometer Odometer Trip computer Gauge Font


In warmer weather now, getting 53.7 MPG. This was a round trip, with some hills at 30-55 mph in Vermont.

Speedometer Vehicle Plant Odometer Car


By the way, for lesz, we just gave up on waiting for Fiber, and living with slow ADSL internet. Got an Elon Musk Starlink sat dish setup. High speed downloads now, and the Starlink router works with our AT&T cell booster for lots of "bars" around our home. Previously we were in a cell phone reception "black hole".

Sky Cloud Building Street light Shade
 

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It sounds like you have a great set-up for your electricity.

For as much as I don't enjoy paying for coal-generated electricity to the electric cooperative, I'm probably lucky even to have electric service. With only about 4 potential customers per mile of roadway, privately owned utilities would not be able to build the infrastructure and provide service to my area. The farmer from whom I bought my property did not even have electric service (or indoor plumbing) until the late 1960s, when the electric cooperative came into being.

For me, now, having a hybrid vehicle is a nice compromise. I'm happy with getting between 50 and 60 mpg for 8 months out of the year, and even the 30-40 mpg that I get during the other 4 months is a lot better than the 15-18 mpg that I used to get with the large Lexus SUV that I had for years. Perhaps, down the road, a fully electric vehicle will be more practical. (In the mean time, I'll look forward to having the electric cooperative bring a fiber internet connection to my location. They are getting close.)
We are lucky indeed. Here changes are coming very fast which forced me to buy my RAV4 3 years ago as new restrictions started with older cars not being able to enter city centers and I live about 25 miles from Barcelona and get there often. Don't drive much so range totally unimportant - I have less than 9,000 miles in the RAV in 3 years and have another car (diesel) at home for long trips if needed. Fortunately I live in a small town, about 10k population, and we do have fiber and I get 600MB symetric connection very cheap. BTW, Toyota does not sell gas only RAV4 in Spain, and probably all Europe.
 

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We are lucky indeed. Here changes are coming very fast which forced me to buy my RAV4 3 years ago as new restrictions started with older cars not being able to enter city centers and I live about 25 miles from Barcelona and get there often. Don't drive much so range totally unimportant - I have less than 9,000 miles in the RAV in 3 years and have another car (diesel) at home for long trips if needed. Fortunately I live in a small town, about 10k population, and we do have fiber and I get 600MB symetric connection very cheap. BTW, Toyota does not sell gas only RAV4 in Spain, and probably all Europe.
Given that the news says diesel is more expensive than gas in Spain, does your diesel get that much better KPL? Or is it that that car is more comfortable for long trips?
 

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Given that the news says diesel is more expensive than gas in Spain, does your diesel get that much better KPL? Or is it that that car is more comfortable for long trips?
Gas is still a bit more expensive than diesel but the large advantage is that diesel cars are much more efficient than gas automobiles. In fact, diesel engines produce about 20 hp/gallon of fuel whereas gasoline only makes 12-14. Diesel also has lots of torque so very responsive in city driving and this is where consumption difference vs a gas engine is the greatest. Ever since I moved to Europe and learned about the benefits I have had many diesel cars which have been also extremely reliable. In boats, specially large ones of used in professionally, you will normally only see diesel boats because of the consumption difference but also low end torque. To answer more specifically to your question, there is really no difference as far a comfort it is just less expensive. I use to own an Audi A8 with a 3.0l diesel engine which was a joy for long travel but had to sell it and buy the RAV4 because of the restrictions in entering Barcelona. Car with 14 years on its back and 70K miles - ending its break-in period. Sad as the air suspension was fabulous on trips.
 

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Gas is still a bit more expensive than diesel but the large advantage is that diesel cars are much more efficient than gas automobiles. In fact, diesel engines produce about 20 hp/gallon of fuel whereas gasoline only makes 12-14. Diesel also has lots of torque so very responsive in city driving and this is where consumption difference vs a gas engine is the greatest. Ever since I moved to Europe and learned about the benefits I have had many diesel cars which have been also extremely reliable. In boats, specially large ones of used in professionally, you will normally only see diesel boats because of the consumption difference but also low end torque. To answer more specifically to your question, there is really no difference as far a comfort it is just less expensive. I use to own an Audi A8 with a 3.0l diesel engine which was a joy for long travel but had to sell it and buy the RAV4 because of the restrictions in entering Barcelona. Car with 14 years on its back and 70K miles - ending its break-in period. Sad as the air suspension was fabulous on trips.
So the diesel is more economical than the hybrid? Meaning you spend less euros per klick?

In the US there are almost no diesel cars. Trucks, buses and serious sized boats are almost all diesel.

We have not started the center city restrictions yet.
 

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"We have not started the center city restrictions yet."
Spent some time, every summer at a cottage in Canada. Now the pure plug-in EVs, ie Teslas get a special green Ontario license plate , and can use dedicated EV lanes driving into Toronto.

Another thing I noticed, there were plug-in charging parking spots for E-cars only, in front of the main doors at an Ikea store outside Toronto. Lots of Teslas parked in the charging spots, but none of the cars were actually charging ! The Tesla drivers were just taking advantage of these parking spots at the front door. The rest of us had to park, then walk quite a distance to the same doors.

I can see this leading to resentment of these Plug in EV cars and their owners. How many can afford a $60,000 Tesla ?
 

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So the diesel is more economical than the hybrid? Meaning you spend less euros per klick?

In the US there are almost no diesel cars. Trucks, buses and serious sized boats are almost all diesel.

We have not started the center city restrictions yet.
The short answer is yes, with a caveat. If we talk city driving a hybrid is better than a diesel when driven in a similar way. When we go highway, which here the "legal" limit is 102kph (75mph) and you can go a little above no problem the hybrid consumption is not that great. In fact, I believe some cars today in higher speeds when the car is sold both hybrid and gasoline, like the RAV4, I don't know if there is much benefit to being hybrid. Hybrids are good all around it is just important to recognise its good and not so good areas. BTW, full electric cars also have poor mileage in highway speeds.
 

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The short answer is yes, with a caveat. If we talk city driving a hybrid is better than a diesel when driven in a similar way. When we go highway, which here the "legal" limit is 102kph (75mph) and you can go a little above no problem the hybrid consumption is not that great. In fact, I believe some cars today in higher speeds when the car is sold both hybrid and gasoline, like the RAV4, I don't know if there is much benefit to being hybrid. Hybrids are good all around it is just important to recognise its good and not so good areas. BTW, full electric cars also have poor mileage in highway speeds. BTW, editing to add I know a little about big boats as the owner of a 1995 46 Bertram with BIG 820hp diesels. At today's fuel costs OUCH!
 

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The short answer is yes, with a caveat. If we talk city driving a hybrid is better than a diesel when driven in a similar way. When we go highway, which here the "legal" limit is 102kph (75mph) and you can go a little above no problem the hybrid consumption is not that great. In fact, I believe some cars today in higher speeds when the car is sold both hybrid and gasoline, like the RAV4, I don't know if there is much benefit to being hybrid. Hybrids are good all around it is just important to recognise its good and not so good areas. BTW, full electric cars also have poor mileage in highway speeds.
At those speeds, yes the ICE is almost always doing its thing and the shape of a Rav4 is not the best aerodynamically.

Formula
F_{D}=\frac{1}{2} \rho v^{2} C_{D} A

F_{D}
= drag
\rho
= density of fluid
v
= speed of the object relative to the fluid
C_{D}
= drag coefficient
A
= cross sectional area
 

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At those speeds, yes the ICE is almost always doing its thing and the shape of a Rav4 is not the best aerodynamically.

Formula
F_{D}=\frac{1}{2} \rho v^{2} C_{D} A

F_{D}
=drag
\rho
=density of fluid
v
=speed of the object relative to the fluid
C_{D}
=drag coefficient
A
=cross sectional area
Correct, but that is why I used the RAV4 because that shape exists in both variants and both would have the same drag coefficient. Don't know the actual gas version mileage compared to the hybrid know first hand the effect on mine which is actually a little more efficient being FWD which are not sold there.
 
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