Slashdot is carrying a story about “mileage maniacs”, as they are called in Japan. They try to squeeze in more mileage from their hybrids by making some changes in car, changing their driving habits, etc.
Some pretty interesting observations. As one of the reader notes, BREAKING IS FOR LOSERS is the first law in getting more mileage from your car. Energy lost in breaking is pure waste. Even in hybrid cars, only part of that energy is recovered. If you minimize breaking, you minimize the biggest loss factor.
Also “Speed and glide” seems to be more effective strategy. You raise the speed of you car and then you let it glide back to some extent, then you raise it again. Probably not a good idea on city roads in USA, but I see no problem in doing that on freeways between say 70 and 65 mph. So raise it to 70 and let it glide it to 65. I wonder how this works Vi’s-a-Vi’s setting it to cruise 65. I have posted a question on Slashdot.
One very interesting gadget in Prius is the dashboard indicator showing how much milage your car is giving at the moment. This is a huge help for people to observe how their driving habits affect milage. I bet just because of this feature people would save a lot of money in long term. A prius driver would be more conscious of mileage in long term. Many times when comparisons are made between say Prius and some other car, things like these, which change your habits towards good, are overlooked.
Perhaps if the electricity meters are placed somewhere close to mailbox, where people are forced to see their consumption everyday, rather than placing them somewhere in deep corner, people would be more aware of their consumption and would try to change their habits. The best thing would be to provide a way to read household electricity consumption from inside the house.
Dashboard fuel consumption indicator is one thing. But by doing some simple things, like by making sure that the air pressure in your tire is enough and by making sure you change air filter timely, you can add to mileage right away, with what you have right now.