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Get Better Gas Mileage From Your Hybrid

By Erik Folgate

The unusually loud portions of my TV watching have had me thinking: Why does every car commercial boast about mediocre gas mileage? My current ride, a ’96 Saturn, is getting better gas mileage than 99% of those in its class. In fact, I did a little research on MPGs using fuel efficiency reports on fueleconomy.gov and I found that there were more models in production in the 90’s with better gas mileage than produced in 2008. Sure the years of Geo Metros are over, partly because we don’t want to die in a fender bender, but this is the new millennium. Shouldn’t our fuel economy reflect the advancements made in transportation technology?

One of the things that set me off on this quest for MPG research is an article found on calcars.org.

Apparently, Toyota doesn’t ship the US Prius hybrids with a convenient little button that converts it into a fully electric vehicle. This feature is usefull in stop and go traffic, runs to the store, and trying to get out of the parking lot after the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana concert.

You can purchase a Hybrid in Europe and Japan with this feature, so calcars published a how-to pdf that instructs the North American Prius owner on how to beat the system. You can also check out calcars’ plug-in electric vehicles, and how they’re creating them.
Here’s my take on the auto industry in video form:

MoneyCrashers-The Hybrid Button from Tim Cox on Vimeo.

There is obviously something going on here. I think the auto industry is telling the American consumer what they need rather than listening to what the market is demanding. I’ll prove this to you in my next post outlining a new ad campaign by a heavy hitter in the oil industry, and no it’s not T. Boone Pickens.

Sweet name, though.

Check out more of Tim Cox’s writing at TimNCox.com

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • Tony

    Funny how you mention your ’96 Saturn. I drive a 2000 Saturn and was commenting to my wife last week about how I’m tired of hearing about all these new cars that are getting an unbelievable 26 MPG. I get 28 on my car in my stop and go traffic, and probably close to 34 on the highway. And this is in a car that is 8 years old. What happened with technology getting better over the years?

  • http://www.timncox.com Tim Cox

    Here’s a little hearsay for you Tony, but this makes sense and kind of hurts my conspiracy theory:

    A friend told me the other day that the EPA’s gas mileage standards changed in 2007 to become tougher, so cars with estimates in 2007 is going to be lower in 2008, which is the reason why a 2007 Yaris gets 40 freeway and the 2008 gets 35.

    Makes sense, but the older generation still gets better mileage than today’s economically minded cars

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