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Hybrid auto road trips
Old 01-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
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Hybrid auto road trips

I am considering a hybrid auto such as a Prius. I am wondering how the perform on long cross country road trips? Over the Rockies? Through the dessert? 500+ miles a day, after day, after day? Please let me know your experiences if you have a hybrid.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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My sister and I drove her Prius on 1200-mile round trip including some New Mexico mountain driving in warm weather. I don't recall any special considerations or problems. It's a car. You drive it and put gasoline in it every now and then.

If road trips are your primary use for the car, the hybrid-ness won't do that much for you as a hybrid (oversimplified) turns the engine off when running it would be inefficient. Long no-stopping drives are where engines are most efficient and the energy storage density of gasoline/diesel are most appropriate.

Or more simply on a road trip the gas engine will run constantly, albeit at the ideal RPM for fuel efficiency due to the inherent CVT of the Synergy hybrid system.

I'm a big guy and found the trip comfortable, and there is decent cover-able (read hide-able) storage in the back. I'm also a fan of the electric A/C compressor which can run without the engine on at stops.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
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We did an 8,500 mile road trip in our Prius this year, followed a couple of months later by a 1,500 mile road trip to Big Bend National Park.

The main trip included driving to and staying in Utah for a week at 8,400', then through Idaho to Oregon, staying for a week on the slopes of Mt Hood, including a drive up to the ski resort on Mt Hood itself. Then through Washington, stopping for a week at DD's in Belleview. Up to San Juan Island where we stayed for a month. We then drove to Montana, staying in Missoula for a few days then onto Wilson, Wyoming for a week. Visited Grand Tetons NP several days, then up to Yellowstone for the first week in July. Down to Moab, Utah for a week, driving into Canyonlands and Arches. Then onto Colorado to Ouray for a few days, down the million dollar highway to Durango, across to Grand Sand Dunes NP for a few days. Then back through New Mexico and Texas, stopping a couple days at Palo Duro NP.

In 2010 we drove to Colorado and stayed in a cabin for a month in May, taking many trips up passes at over 13,000'.

The Prius didn't skip a beat, and loves mountains as far as mpg goes. We had 2 full tanks of gas that averaged over 60 mpg.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #4
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I do not own a hybrid, but a friend in Calgary has had one for years and loves driving it long distances regularly. Having said that, as BMJ just said, the greatest bang for your buck in terms of fuel consumption will be in the city. For storage, as well as better rear visibility, I would recommend the Prius V, which was my second choice when buying a new vehicle in 2012. The principal reason I did not buy the Prius V is that 4 wheel drive is not an option.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
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For long trips I have never had less than 40 mpg, and even between Houston and Baton Rouge, which I've driven a lot, I usually get at least 45 mpg.

Even on the Interstates there are ups and downs to charge the batteries and when driving at 70+ mpg you can see from the interactive display that the electric motor is used a lot to assist the gas engine. The long trip from Salida, CO, to Armadillo, TX was one of those times we averaged 60 mpg because although we were driving fast the roads had long uphill and downhill sections.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:06 AM   #6
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Only one roadtrip so far, from Tx to Tn and back. MPG slightly above 50, about usual.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #7
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For long trips I have never had less than 40 mpg, and even between Houston and Baton Rouge, which I've driven a lot, I usually get at least 45 mpg.

Even on the Interstates there are ups and downs to charge the batteries and when driving at 70+ mpg you can see from the interactive display that the electric motor is used a lot to assist the gas engine. The long trip from Salida, CO, to Armadillo, TX was one of those times we averaged 60 mpg because although we were driving fast the roads had long uphill and downhill sections.
There's an Armadillo, TX? Well I'll be!
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim View Post
My sister and I drove her Prius on 1200-mile round trip including some New Mexico mountain driving in warm weather. I don't recall any special considerations or problems. It's a car. You drive it and put gasoline in it every now and then.

If road trips are your primary use for the car, the hybrid-ness won't do that much for you as a hybrid (oversimplified) turns the engine off when running it would be inefficient. Long no-stopping drives are where engines are most efficient and the energy storage density of gasoline/diesel are most appropriate.

Or more simply on a road trip the gas engine will run constantly, albeit at the ideal RPM for fuel efficiency due to the inherent CVT of the Synergy hybrid system.

I'm a big guy and found the trip comfortable, and there is decent cover-able (read hide-able) storage in the back. I'm also a fan of the electric A/C compressor which can run without the engine on at stops.
Can you run the A/C on the battery without the engine for 3 or 4 hours so you can take a nice nap at rest areas without outside heat and bugs?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:34 AM   #9
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Even on the Interstates there are ups and downs to charge the batteries and when driving at 70+ mpg you can see from the interactive display that the electric motor is used a lot to assist the gas engine. The long trip from Salida, CO, to Armadillo, TX was one of those times we averaged 60 mpg because although we were driving fast the roads had long uphill and downhill sections.
I just looked up and found that Salida is at 7100ft elevation, while Armadillo is at 400ft. I am willing to bet that the drop in elevation helped the gas mileage despite the ups and downs. It would be interesting to see the gas mileage going in the other direction.

An observation that's off-topic: excuse me, but if one drives 500mi/day, day after day, what time does he have to rest and to do sightseeing? I used to drive 600-700 mi a day in our road trip, many years ago when we were trying to reach a destination city like SF or Seattle, and had to fit our travel into 1 or 2 weeks of vacation.

Nowadays, I take my sweet time, but then of course I have an MH which allows me to take nap mid-day, stop for lunch, etc...
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:37 AM   #10
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I just looked up and found that Salida is at 7100ft elevation, while Armadillo is at 400ft. I am willing to bet that the drop in elevation helped the gas mileage despite the ups and downs. It would be interesting to see the gas mileage going in the other direction.
See Audrey's post above
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:49 AM   #11
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What google earth gave me was the elevation of Armadillo Clay, a pottery in San Antonio!

OK. So, Amarillo is at 3500 ft, still a descent from Salidas.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:50 AM   #12
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I just looked up and found that Salida is at 7100ft elevation, while Armadillo is at 400ft. I am willing to bet that the drop in elevation helped the gas mileage despite the ups and downs. It would be interesting to see the gas mileage going in the other direction.

An observation that's off-topic: excuse me, but if one drives 500mi/day, day after day, what time does he have to rest and to do sightseeing? I used to drive 600-700 mi a day in our road trip, many years ago when we were trying to reach a destination city like SF or Seattle, and had to fit our travel into 1 or 2 weeks of vacation.

Nowadays, I take my sweet time, but then of course I have an MH which allows me to take nap mid-day, stop for lunch, etc...
Our usual route to Colorado high country:

1. Night 1 Bowie, Texas. However, it's just not the same since the Jim Bowie Restaurant burned down in 2008 (I think).

2. Night 2 Raton, New Mexico. On the way we have lunch at the Big Texan in Amarillo. I regard Raton as the gateway to the Rockies.

3. Night 3. Leadville, Colorado. We have lunch in Salida. There are a number of good restaurants in Salida.

We drive full-size current-year rental cars. They almost always get mid 30 gas mileage.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:55 AM   #13
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What google earth gave me was the elevation of Armadillo Clay, a pottery in San Antonio!

OK. So, Amarillo is at 3500 ft, still a descent from Salidas.
Gee, and I thought you'd really found it!
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:59 AM   #14
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There's an Armadillo, TX? Well I'll be!
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See Audrey's post above
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What google earth gave me was the elevation of Armadillo Clay, a pottery in San Antonio!
When you finally do get around to that big trip to AK in your RV you might want to double check to see if your compass says you're heading toward the "N".
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #15
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There's an Armadillo, TX? Well I'll be!
Oops, must have been the auto correct on the iPad. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #16
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Why, there should have been a town called Armadillo in Texas.

Amarillo or Armadillo, it still conjures up the same animal in people's mind. My next RV trip will take me through there, most likely.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:02 AM   #17
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Nowadays, I take my sweet time, but then of course I have an MH which allows me to take nap mid-day, stop for lunch, etc...
+1

I try to limit our daily drive to under 350 miles - around 250 is my target providing we can find a decent place to overnight.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:03 AM   #18
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When you finally do get around to that big trip to AK in your RV you might want to double check to see if your compass says you're heading toward the "N".
From blogs of RV'ers, it seems that no matter which direction an RV'er originally takes, it will eventually take him through the Alcan Hwy.

It's just a long detour.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:05 AM   #19
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From blogs of RV'ers, it seems that no matter which direction an RV'er originally takes, it will eventually take him through the Alcan Hwy. It's just a long detour.
I understand you have to go through Armadillo, TX to get there...
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:07 AM   #20
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Of course! That's why it is a shorter drive to Anchorage for Texans than for Arizonans.
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