107 on the Freeway!

by Ben N on April 16, 2012

I just went 107 on the freeway and didn’t even get a speeding ticket!

That’s because I wasn’t going 107 miles per hour, I was going 107 MILES PER GALLON.

Since I’ve had the chance to drive the wife’s plug-in Prius, I finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it. While I’ve been able to get better than 100mpg out of it, that’s always been on the side roads and in light traffic.

Today, I took the car towards the city at 4PM. Traffic was just before rush-hour, so there was no stopping – just thick traffic moving full speed. With the Hymotion kit on, I was able to get better than 100mpg WHILE CRUISING ON THE HIGHWAY. I was gentle on the accelerator and my speed was between 55 and 60 mph in the 65mph zone. It is possible for the car to drive on ONLY BATTERY POWER at 60 mph. The caveat there is that the engine IS SPINNING, even without using fuel or powering down the road. According to the Scangauge, the engine spins at just below 1000 rpm at 60mph while running on just electric.

The trip was about 2 miles of city road to get to the freeway, and less than a mile of sideroad to my destination once I left the freeway. It was 23.5 miles from my house to my destination. (I was going to the welding supply company to get a refill of welding bottle gas, if you must know!)

Once I pulled in and stopped at my destination, I checked the fuel-economy for the trip – 107 mpg!

On the return trip, I only went about 4 more miles before the Hymotion plug-in kit powered down. That meant I went 27.7 miles on MOSTLY electricity. If I do the math of 23.5 miles traveled into 107 miles per gallon, that gets me about .22 gallons of gasoline used. Since gas is right about $4 a gallon right now, that meant it cost me 88 cents (of gasoline) to drive to my destination. A full charge of electricity costs about 50 cents, bringing total cost to $1.38. If I had instead driven a car that got 23.5 MPG, it would have cost me nothing in electric cost, but $4.00 in gasoline!

In other news. That trip was also the first time that I’ve REALLY ACCELERATED while on the freeway and in heavy traffic. On this divided highway, there are three lanes of traffic in each direction, PLUS the on-ramp merging in. Flow of traffic was going faster than I was (it always does, illegally fast….) and suddenly, there was a solid string of cars coming on the on-ramp. There was no space to change lanes, so ACCELERATING quickly would actually put me into the best position.

I floored it.

The Prius quickly and smoothly accelerated from 55 to 70, with the only really noticeable thing being that I’ve never heard a Prius engine rev like that. The instant fuel economy gauge dropped to 12 mpg, and then hit 300 again once I went back into the “glide” after that “mega-pulse”. And I still managed to average 107 mpg on that trip!

I also noticed how every other Prius I saw drives WAY TOO FAST! But in reality, there are all kinds of Prius drivers out there. I talked to a guy once at a gas station who was fueling up a Prius, not long after they first came out. I asked how he liked it. His response was “It’s great! I can go 75 mph AND blast the Air-Conditioning and STILL get 40!”.   See, takes all types.

Anyways, there’s my excitement for the day – 107 on the freeway!


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