Camry Hybrid - MPG Stats

I purchased my 2007 Camry Hybrid in August 2006 and enjoyed excellent gas mileage through most of the fall here in New England. I was so
impressed I convinced my sister in Oregon to also purchase one. She bought hers in December.
Almost immediately she started to complain that the gas mileage she was getting was no where near what I had been reporting and that she got better mileage with her nine year old Corolla.
After talking though driving style and other issues, I checked my own gas mileage and noticed that mine had dropped as well. And then when the weather turned very cold (-10 to +15 F) in mid January, the mileage got down right bad.
My sister's Toyota dealer told her the mileage difference was due to the "winter blend" of fuel. My dealer told did not try to explain the reason but indicated other owners were complaining of as much as a "12 MPG drop."
I have been looking for data to support my observations and wonder if you would be willing to share your MPG data. You may respond to the message here or contact me via e-mail jeb(at)jebswebs-dot-com.
My own data:
August - November - 38-40 MPG (this is combined highway and city) January - February - 27 - 30 MPG (except for a trip from Maine to NC in which I got 36-38 MPG - all highway driving)
Thanks for your input
PS: I am now experimenting with the ECO button and will be compiling more data.
~jeb
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snipped-for-privacy@jebswebs.com wrote:

The "winter blend" gasoline uses added alcohol (replacing the toxic MTBE formerly used) to increase the oxygen content of the fuel. This is done to lower the emissions of older cars. Unfortunately, for cars with properly functioning electronic fuel injection, the main effect it has is to lower fuel economy. The usual drop is 1-3 MPG. Why the big drop in hybrid fuel economy in cold weather? I'm not sure. It may be related to lower battery and electric motor efficiency in cold weather, and/or because the engine is run constantly to keep the car heated. Have you noticed this?
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My wife has an Accord hybrid not know for great mileage. It was designed to give V8 performance while getting 4 cylinder mileage. On her stop and go crawl to work everyday with virtually no highway driveing she gets about 26 mpg 12 months per year. Previously she had a Chrysler 300M. It got 20 mpg on the same commute. Not responsive to your issue but I thought some readers might find it interesting.

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I also purchased a TCH in August.
Granted, that "winter blend/mix" will impact mpg in all cars, but the hybrid will take a bigger hit in mpg than most other cars.
A big reason for drop in mileage:
The ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) must run more frequently to keep the radiator coolant hot. Also, the traction battery supplies the power for the heater, defroster, heated seats, etc. so the ICE will cycle on more frequently.
Excellent places to get information for the TCH and Prius are: http://www.greenhybrid.com http://priuschat.com
These sites are for and about hybrids and you would be amazed at the level of information that is available.
BTW -- your mileage figures are close to what I've been experiencing south of D.C.
John (replace perm with temp)

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scribbled

You'll be even more amazed when the new more accurate milage statistics come out for all new cars in the next month; putting paid to all the silly hype, crap and lies about the Prius and so called "energy efficient" cars.
Hell, I had a Honda Accord 77 that got better milage! We all know people who had Suzikis and similar 3 cylinder engine cars that got over 50 mpg, on regular fuel and very efficiently.
You want to save the envirnmont and not be a silly stupid liberal know- nothing-herd-follower? Find an older Honda or similar car, refurbish it, use regular gas and not that eco-destroying ethanol mixture and you'll do more for the environment than all the silly liberal twits who sit around sipping their $8 latte's and proudly proclaiming they put 50,000 peasant mexican corn growers out business, increased the car companie's profits hugely and helped destroy the environment by buying one of those silly hybrid POS.
Advertising in America just goes to prove PT Barnum's point....
--
"Never appeal to a man's better nature.
He may not have one.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Can a persons geographic location affect the hybrid mpg? what I'm thinking is that possibly the downhills in the OPs location are giving him more mpg if compared to Denver mpg. Even without taking into consideration the winter blend of fuels.
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One of my co-workers has a Prius. He has discussed mileage with me on several occasions. He says that if he "works at it" he can get really good mileage (50+) but that if he drives "normally" the mileage drops down into the low 40's (down in the low 40's sounds pretty good to me!). His driving would be considered mostly highway driving.
Ed
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The Prius though is optimized for city driving.

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every car needs more fuel in winter, because of the increased air resistance. When temperature drops, air gets denser, which leads to a higher air resistance.

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In my case my MPG drops when I get closer to my maintenance schedule. And yes, I also experienced the MPG drop in winter season. Especially on during the christmas holidays where the traffic was bad and looking for a parking space was driving me mad.
I'm not a Hybrid user, are there some kind of lubricants used? of course not on the electric motor but on other mech parts?
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jan siepelstad wrote:

That's negligible, and probably offset by the higher combustion efficiency that cold air allows. Increased resistance from cold tires and bearings is a much bigger factor.
(...)
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perhaps this is not so negligible as one might think. Let's do the math (sorry I dont use degrees F, but C and K):
Let's say the summer temperature is + 30C, which is 303K Let's say wintertemperature is -10C, which is 263K
This means in winter the air is 303/263=1,15 times denser than in summer. So air resistance in winter is 15% higher than in summer. Ofcourse I know, that fuel consumption is not only determined by air resistance, but also by tires, auxilliary equipment etc. But it certainly is more than negligible. The higher combustion efficiency you refer to, is only true with full open throttle (when you want the maximum massflow of air into your cilinders). But most of the time this is not the case.

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+ 30C = + 86F -10C = +14F

I guess this is fair. "Dry Air" is close to an ideal gas at these temperatures. There are charts for this. However, the equation doesn't work so well for "wet" air. To be truly accurate, you need to include humidity. And interestingly, when the humidity is high, the air is less dense than dry air at the same temeprature.....go figure. You really need tables to make accurate comparisons when you include humidity in the estimates.

Might even be worse if the humidity is near 100%.
However, below 45 mph, air resistance is not a major factor. Above 65mph it is THE major factor. In between 45 and 65 there is some point at which air resistance overwhelms other factors. This depends on the engine efficiency for a given throttle opening, rolling resistance, car's coefficient of drag, etc.
For around town driving, the density of the air is too minor a factor to consider. For highway driving it might matter, except you'll probably not be able to measure the difference without a carefully controlled experiment. This is because in warm weather you are probably running the A/C more, which will decrease the fuel mileage. Also the engine is more efficient when the air is cool. The net is probably that Winter and Summer mileage are probably both lower than Spring and Fall driving - but the difference is trivial for most people.
If you think air resistance is important, redo you air resistance calculations for sea level and 10,00 feet.
Ed
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Don't forget you run the lights more in winter, and seat heaters, and rear window defrosters (if you have them). Also in areas with significant snow accumulations, driving on snow consumes more fuel than driving on dry pavement. Driving in rain also increases fuel usage. Starting the car and letting it warm up while you scrap windows also consumes more fuel.
On the other hand, you don't use A/C as much, or open the windows - both of which lead to an increase in mileage. Also the engine runs more efficiently with cold air vs hot air.
I keep detailed gas mileage records. Except for a few years when the government inflicted oxygenated fuel on us, I did not get significantly worse mileage in the winter. In fact, I could not find much difference between any of the seasons. But I live in central/eastern North Carolina, which has a relatively mild climate.
Ed
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wrote:

Also don't forget that tires drop in pressure about 1psi for each drop of 10^F in ambient temperature.
so if you last checked your tire pressures in the relatively warm fall, they're probably much lower now... same if you filled them in a warm garage, or only measured them when your car has recently been driven upon...
Low tire pressure, besides being a safety issue, also leads to lowered MPG.
But for a Toyota hybrid, the usual cold winter MPG drop (seen in any car) tends to be more noticable. You've got this MPG monitor staring at you. The engine will run more often just to warm itself up for emissions reasons, besides coming on more often to provide the passenger cabin with "waste" heat to keep the occupants and the hybrid battery warm.
(Those in the arid hot (southern) climates often report better MPG in the winter than in the summer, as they don't have the AC use that they did in the summer...)
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Consumer Reports tested a 2007 Camry Hybrid and got the following gas mileage:
CU's overall mileage, mpg 34 CU's city/highway, mpg 28/41 CU's 150-mile trip, mpg 37
Really good mileage, but hard to justify in light of a $4k to $10K price differential compared to a standard Camry. It is going to take a lot of years to save enough to make up for the difference in cost (10 to 20 years.....).
Ed
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The price difference may not be as great recently, with Toyota now discounting hybrids below MSRP (because of overproduction and lower demand with gas prices temporarily down), plus nonrefundable federal and state tax credits still available on some models. Partly depends on the market area and the fickleness of consumers. Never could understand people paying sticker plus for any car.
Last month I got a 2007 Camry for $1200 off sticker, plus full Kelly Blue Book for my Subaru Legacy GT Limited (which got <20 mpg city with 4 cyl turbo and about 25 mpg highway -- but gas mileage wasn't the reason for changing vehicles; it rarely is valid in terms of money). Also, will get $1300 federal and $1500 state income tax credits for 2007. So that's $4k "on paper" less.
As they say in many areas, your mileage may vary. <s> .............................. They also serve who only point and laugh.

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Just purchased a Camry Hybrid and, straight from the dealer, took it out for a 4000 mile plus 'spin'.Did some fairly extensive mileage testing and got wildly differing results.
Open highway (mountain conditions) partial speed control trying to maintain 60 mph under quite curvey conditions... 45 MPG (US). ---- Freeway (Part mountains and flogging it) speed 75 mph and more... 36 MPG (US)
I was quite satisfid with the overall consumption. Where needed this bird will really fly .. but you pay in the tank. Could easily accelerate up-hill to pass others at over 100 .. but also it will behave in a very refined gas sipping way.
A pleasure to drive.

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