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How to maximize fuel economy (and save money!) in a hybrid

It’s no secret that the Toyota Prius is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. Without any special driving techniques at all, Prius drivers can manage fuel economy ratings that make regular car owners jealous. However, with a few changes in the way you drive, operate and maintain your hybrid you can achieve economy numbers that would make even a Vespa rider green with envy.

Here are some tips and tricks to squeeze every last kilometer out of your Prius’ battery and fuel tank:

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1: Slow down

While the highway is the second-fastest way to reach your destination (the first would be the straight line, but the Prius isn’t designed for heavy off-roading), it isn’t the most fuel-efficient route. Sticking to routes with a lower speed limit will ensure your car runs on electric power for as long as possible. When you drive under 72 km/h and you remove your foot from the accelerator, the gasoline engine turns off. After that, simply depress the accelerator lightly enough to maintain your speed. 

Of course, don’t drive TOO slow… nobody likes a traffic blocker.

2: Ensure your Prius is in top condition

This particular advice is actually good for every car, but it works for the Prius, too: by ensuring your oil is changed at regular intervals, your air filter is free of dirt and your tire pressure is within the manufacturer’s parameters (which can be found in your Owner’s Manual), you’ll ensure your Prius performs as well as it possibly can. And bringing your vehicle for a more thorough service when it gets older will also ensure it remains as economical as possible. Maintenance items like injector cleanup, spark plugs change and wheel alignment will not only make your Prius more efficient, it will also prolong its life.

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3: For longer trips use the cruise control and stay under 90 km/h

Sure, you might not get to your destination as fast, but you’ll save fuel. Tests have proven that if you drive over 90 km/h, you lose one mile to the gallon per mile an hour of additional speed.

4: Master the Regenerative Braking and Gliding

Prius have many unique technologies that help them save on fuel. Regenerative Breaking works by simply taking your foot off the accelerator in Hill Mode. This will make the car slow down AND recharge its battery. As for Gliding, it is a technique used by seasoned Prius veterans: drive up to around 64 km/h, and then let your foot off the accelerator. After that, you simply want to slowly shave speed off until you reach 48 km/h. Here’s a quick Wikki guide to the Glide.

With these simple steps, you will save on fuel and maximize your Prius’ potential!

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