There is a beautiful, young lady, named Jennifer Pahlka … she now works for the White House and hasn’t added anything to her blog or Flickr page since 2011, so presumably that’s when she joined the White House and therefore has been consummately cautious ever since by posting nothing at all (not even pictures of her lovely your children). But back in 2011 she did have something to say about the disappointing mileage she was getting from her (then, new, I gather) Prius. She was a little cynical about the “rating” (from the EPA mileage testing) that said it could/should get about 60 miles to the gallon in the city (according to their “testing” criteria). She indicated her mileage was more like 40 MPG, so I thought, for all those who were also this disappointed I should post a little bit about what I have learned about driving and mileage maximization in my 2008 Prius, myself. (Oh, yes, she was complaining about the back end design of the Prius suggesting that it looked like it had been “bitten off” and was, therefore, somewhat ugly, so my comment started with a reference to my little “Priscilla Prius'” butt. Here’s what I said:
“I love my prius too much to mention its butt in public, but I bought my 2008 prius in 2010, so it was very affordable, and despite the fact that my wife had been driving a Ford hybrid (bought new in 2008, and only getting about 29 mpg in town), I am getting 50 to 51 mpg. It’s not that hard, but it is kind of a “trick” of getting into good driving habits, which, by the way don’t work in “ordinary cars” or in the “Mercury hybrid”. It’s something called surge and coast. You speed up to a couple of miles above the speed you want to go, then lift you foot completely off the accelerator and GENTLY push it down again, the car then goes into “all electric” mode and the gas mileage indicator jumps to 100MPG (a slight exaggeration, but hey, she’s a proud little car and wants to share her good news). Combine that with always easying off the accelerator (even to zero accelerator) when approaching a red light, (even a whole block away, or more) when you know the traffic won’t clear ahead of your by the time the light changes. It works very nicely and I’ve hardly ever had anyone honk at me for slowing as I approach a red light. Since you are only getting 40 MPG this could give you a 25% boost. The money you save isn’t that much, but if every prius owner did that, it would be a significant amount of oil imports we could avoid.
Stafford “Doc” Williamson”
I hope lots of people read this, maybe even Jennifer, herself. It seems like a technical guru at the White House who knows a little bit more about saving gas in a Prius would be a good thing, wouldn’t you think so too?
P.S. the picture of Jennifer is stolen from her own post about “Code for America” summit of 2013, so apparently she has posted something on Flickr since 2011.