Prius on Hills
Hi all. My name is Sara. I just bought a used 2003 Prius last week. So far, I LOVE it. (My last car was a 1995 Dodge caravan). My gas mileage is a little lower than I would like; I think because so much of my driving involves a lot of hills. The Prius really seems to struggle going up the steep ones (although I think it's mostly that I'm used to such a larger engine). Does anyone have any advice on how to improve gas mileage in hilly conditions? If anyone else is in Pittsburgh, I'd love to hear if you have trouble with hills too (I live in Beechview).
RE: Prius on hills
My parents live near the Poconos and my brothers live in the northeast. So I'm used to the hills. Unless you're talking long, steady sloping hills, stay away from the cruise control on hills.
First thing I discovered is that you can't stay the same speed if you want to improve mpg. You have to anticipate a little earlier than conventional cars. Glide when you're going downhill (If your under 40mph this should show as no blue, yellow, or orange arrows on your energy display. If you're over 40, it's a little harder but it should show as yellow arrows only.) Slowly apply the accelerator when your going uphill if your momentum starts to drop. It's much like a roller coaster. You're letting gravity pull you down the hill and the motor is assisting you up the other side.
If you're on a busy or crowded road there's nothing much you can do when it comes to hills. It's probably frustrating to the drivers behind you (well...non-hybrid drivers anyway) when you're going 55mph downhill and then 45mph back up the other side. Unfortunately those who have not driven a Prius will not understand. I know it's common sense, but make sure don't go faster than what you're comfortable with. I've often been gliding down the hill and been paying attention to the road and my energy display. Suddenly I see I'm doing 20 over the speed limit. It's nice to get 99.9 mpg going downhill, but dangerous if you're not careful.