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Old 05-19-2010, 10:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Philly to Charlotte speeding with cargo

2010 LX, 20,000 miles on it. Recently did round trip Philly-Charlotte; got 47 mpg on the MID, 45mpg calculated @ pumps, driver + 1 passenger and a decent amount of cargo (probably about 500 pounds occupants & cargo combined). We kept it at 10 over the speed limit the whole way to avoid getting pulled over, so spent most time @ 75-80 mph and were in the passing lane most of the way. Left econ off because I find it actually hurts my highway mileage (I only turn it on for city and/or stop & go backups). Left Auto AC on, set @ 72 because I like to be comfortable (about 85 degrees outside half of the way).

It seems extremely easy to get over the rated mpg in this car, especially on the highway. I'd recommend it to anyone who does long highway distances where it's handline also shines. I'd consider the Prius more if I did more city driving.
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've seen others say that highway driving is more efficient with the econ mode turned off. Does anyone know why that might be? Haven't tried it yet since normally I do so little actual highway driving.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When on the highway, the regen can be a little wasteful because often the car regens and slows you down when you let up entirely on the throttle, even though you want to maintain speed. You slow down allot faster than you would from coasting alone. Then you have to apply more gas just to maintain than you otherwise would have to, because you're involving many imperfect energy conversions (mechanical to electric to chemical to electric to mechanical) rather than simply coasting. I think that with ECON on, the regen may be even more aggressive, which amplifies this wasteful regen.

I wish they'd have a highway mode that would let you take your foot off the gas completely and coast without regen, only regenerating when you apply the brake. As it is, I have to try to eliminate wasteful regen by constantly feathering the gas to balance the charge/regen needle in the middle. And call the existing ECON mode "City mode" because that's what it's actually good for.

This might be an even bigger issue if you use cruise control on the highway (I'm guessing, my LX doesn't have it), because then you definitely aren't feathering the gas to keep the car from doing wasteful regen, and I assume the system isn't smart enough to do that either.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
I think that with ECON on, the regen may be even more aggressive, which amplifies this wasteful regen.
Regen is definitely more aggressive with ECON on. As a "flat lander" that doesn't have hills to climb, I only use assist to get up to speed, but once I'm there I like to cruise and then coast to the next stop. So, like you, I end up having to press the accelerator slightly to negate the regen and allow a longer coast.

As for cruise control, I'm not sure if or how it affects MPG, but I will say it's definitely frustrating to use with ECON turned on. When it's on, say you are at 59MPH and want to bump it up to 60, it can literally take 5 seconds (or more) between pressing the ACCEL button and actually reaching 60. With ECON off, cruise control speed adjustments are much quicker, but probably take a toll on MPG if you are constantly adjusting it up and down if traffic is uneven...

Last edited by RahTX; 05-20-2010 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the comments, guys. What you've said makes sense to me and I'll give it a personal test next time I do some extended highway driving. I have a trip planned from Houston to Columbus, Ohio for late July so I'm trying to learn the tricks that will give me the best mpg. It's a 2400 mile round trip, plus four days of local driving there, so I should be more "educated" by the time I make it back to Houston.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I completely agree that when cruising on the highway, it's best to turn ECON OFF.

Here's my reasoning: The throttle response is very limites with ECON on. When you hit a hill when cruising at 60mph, you'll drop down to 57mph. Well, if you're just cruising, the CC will tell the engine to push it back up to 60. Now you have to accelerate UPHILL! That's always a big no-no when trying to maximize FE.

If you keep ECON off, the car will maintain that 60mph throughout the hill, instead of slowing, and then accelerating.

In areas where there are long rolling hills, or short steep ones, it is much more comfortable to keep ECON off when cruising on the highway.

Now, this isn't the absolute best way to get maximum FE while on a hill, but if you just want to set it and forget it with cruise control, it'll work better for you.
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by buglermcd View Post
I completely agree that when cruising on the highway, it's best to turn ECON OFF.

Here's my reasoning: The throttle response is very limites with ECON on. When you hit a hill when cruising at 60mph, you'll drop down to 57mph. Well, if you're just cruising, the CC will tell the engine to push it back up to 60. Now you have to accelerate UPHILL! That's always a big no-no when trying to maximize FE.

If you keep ECON off, the car will maintain that 60mph throughout the hill, instead of slowing, and then accelerating.

In areas where there are long rolling hills, or short steep ones, it is much more comfortable to keep ECON off when cruising on the highway.

Now, this isn't the absolute best way to get maximum FE while on a hill, but if you just want to set it and forget it with cruise control, it'll work better for you.
If driving on flat terrain on the highway (i.e. Florida), so you think running ECON off would improve mpg?
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I just got back from a 280 mile trip from (downtown) Pittsburgh to my home in southern MD. I used cruise control most of the way, with ECON mode ON and averaged 53.5mpg on the MID screen. I was very happy with it. I will have to try it with the ECON mode OFF next time. I did have to go up and down some of the Appalachians, but I took the turnpike on the way back which avoids most of the mountainous terrain. The overall net change in elevation from Pittsburgh ~1200ft to my hometown of ~175 ft elevation so I'm sure that factored in as well.

The cruise control was set around 68MPH for most of the trip and I just chilled in the right lane and passed and accelerated to as much as 75mph when needed to pass trucks, which was very little. Weather conditions were optimum, tires were at 40psi and it was a very surprisingly short trip. It was a 5 hour trip with a 30 minute break at a rest stop for grub. All highway, but I was surprised how much of a good time I made without going my normal habit of 8-10mph over the typical 65mph limit for much of the ride.

This was the first time I've used cruise control extensively on a long trip. On my way up, I went a different route that went through the Appalachian mountains (without cruise control) which killed my gas mileage -- 43mpg, which isn't that bad, thanks to mostly typical highway travel which cancelled out having to use sport drive going up steep inclines.

I will say that I didn't have much of a problem of cruise control dropping MPHs when going on inclines. I would assist on most inclines by accelerating into it and slowly easing off the accelerator until I felt the cruise mode take control. I was very impressed at how cruise control kept the gas mileage at the 50mpg on the MID on some inclines. I'm rarely able to do that with my own foot.
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