It's a hard truth that many hybrid car drivers have come to know all too well: the promise of fabulous fuel efficiency doesn't always turn out to be completely accurate.
Watch a short video with Mark Woods, AAA Automotive Expert. He shares some great ideas on how to get better overall performance with your hybrid vehicle.
Here are a few more techniques to increase your efficiency:
Energy monitors: The energy monitor in most hybrids is a driver's best friend. It will tell you exactly what is happening with the power demands, state of battery charge and will calculate an instant miles-per-gallon average for you. A glance at strategic times can help you maximize the efficiency of the hybrid design. Pay attention to how your driving techniques are reflected in the monitor and make adjustments when possible.
Braking techniques: When you are able to anticipate an upcoming stop, take advantage of the Hybrid Vehicles regenerative braking system by lightly applying pressure to the brake pedal. This will help control speed and will send more energy to the batteries than coasting to a stop.
Maintenance: Regularly checking your tire pressure is one of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency and safety. Oil changes, balancing and rotating tires, air filters, etc. also need your attention. Brakes, exhaust and suspension systems of hybrids are based on conventional vehicle designs and require routine maintenance as well.
Cruise control: The best time to use cruise control is on a long stretch of road that doesn't have much incline or decline. When you come to a hill, it's best to anticipate the change and start accelerating to meet the demand.
Coasting – On straight roads, you would release your foot completely off the gas pedal, allowing the vehicle to continue moving along while also recharging the hybrid battery.
Gliding – The process of applying slight pressure to the gas pedal so the vehicle moves along the road without assistance from the gas motor or the hybrid battery. This state is achieved when there is no feedback on the energy monitor.
Air conditioning: Using air conditioning in the max A/C mode will in most cases force the gasoline engine to engage. If you manage the A/C so that you use it sparingly and only to cool when needed, you can improve your performance. Even turning off the A/C going up hill and waiting until you start downhill to turn it back on will have a positive impact.
Electronics: The more accessories you use, the lower your mileage will be. Radios, cell phone chargers, GPS devices plugged in the power port all drain the batteries and require the gasoline engine to engage so it can help the recharge process.
After-market accessories: Many after-market devices are available for the automotive enthusiast. Every time you install a bug shield, fender trim, custom wheels, or any other item, you decrease the vehicle's important ability to slip through the air. Even a simple antenna ball has a negative affect on mileage.
Acceleration and Speed: Get up to speed quickly and don't exceed the speed limit. Some experts say that a hybrid has a sweet spot at 45 mph. They believe that for every mph over 45 mph you lose efficiency.
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