Stop and go traffic

I have a 2001 Prius that I just bought. This morning I got stuck on the freeway in stop and go traffic. Maximum speed was 5 MPH. Every
time I pressed on the accelerator the ICE would start up and when I would stop, the engine would shut down. We were moving about one car length at a time. My 5 minute interval display showed that I was getting about 10 miles per gallon for the hour I was in traffic. I was under the impression that in stop and go situations that I could run on just the electric motor and basically not use any gas except when the battery needed a charge. My overall miles per gallon went down one MPG during my one hour in traffic. Unfortunately, I could not just let my foot off the accelerator and coast. I did not have any accessories on at the time (headlights, AC, etc. all turned off). Is this normal or do I need something checked out with my computer?
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The hybrid computer will fire up the ICE if more than 9 kW (IIRC) is demanded from the battery in the Classic model. That doesn't amount to much accelerator push. The computer will also fire up the ICE if the catalyst temperature drops too much, for emissions reasons, or if the battery state-of-charge drops too much. A few minutes of stop and go traffic has very little effect on overall fuel consumption, but the longer it drags out the more those effects matter - especially the catalyst temperature.
However, the effect on your pocketbook is far less than it is in a conventional car. In terms of the amount of fuel consumed per hour of creeping through traffic, a conventional 4-cylinder will slurp down about a liter an hour - regardless whether you are stopped or averaging 5 mph. The Prius will use a couple ounces per hour keeping the system operating and a modest amount per mile. If this were your normal commute (and for too many people it is) it would bring the actual average fuel economy down a lot - but it would be many times better than any car that idles when stopped.
Mike
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Sounds like a perfect case for the EV override.
http://www.calcars.org/prius-evbutton-install.pdf
This is a switch removed for the US models because the US regulators didn't know how to classify the 2004. The switch turns of the gas engine and leaves it off until you hit 35mph or your battery starts running low. Since it can be a pure Electric Vehicle or a Gas Electric Hybrid. Thier forms didn't have a "both" box to check.
But with the EV switch, you could creep along for a good while without ever spinning up the engine.
-Dan
Disclaimer: Haven't installed the switch, but plan to when my 06 arrives.
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Looks like a great fix but this does not help me on my 2001.
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As others said, it is normal. Keep in mind that if you had maximum speed of 5 MPH and you were stuck in stop and go for an hour, you only traveled for 2 miles. 2 miles at 10 mpg is 1/5 of a gallon. If you compare that with a conventional car, you may see that they burned a gallon or more in the same time.
While 10 MPG is attrocious, it's really not too bad for an hour of stop and go 5mph traffic.
To maximize the battery usage, push very gently on the gas pedal to accelerate, and anticipate the car ahead of you stopping, coasting as far as you can before hitting the brakes. You might be able to hit 15, 20 or more MPG in those situations.
Daniel
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Thanks. Referring to a previous reply, I did notice that when my battery is fully charged that I can stop and go in traffic with just the electric motor if I'm easy on the accelerator. The day I wrote my original message must have been when my battery was a little low by the time I got to the traffic.
dbs_ snipped-for-privacy@tanj.com wrote:

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