Get the Best Gas Mileage from Your Toyota Prius

You may have just gotten your own Toyota Prius, or you are considering buying one. Most people consider buying these because of their excellent gas saving ability. Yes, this car can save you gas-if you operate it correctly. This article will describe some of the steps in how to drive this vehicle to achieve the best gas mileage (mpg) for your Toyota Prius.


Prius-Only Steps

  1. Drive at slower speed when possible. Try to take routes that have long stretches with few stops with speed limits of at least {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.
    • At speeds less than {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, when you reach speed, remove your foot from the accelerator pedal, this turns off the gasoline engine. Slowly depress the accelerator pedal to maintain your speed while keeping the indicator below the ECO line.
  2. Pick the least windy route you can find. The Prius is streamlined for head-on gusts and tail-winds.
  3. Glide in a Toyota Prius or Coast in a Toyota Prius down any hill you encounter.
  4. Avoid cold starts. A Prius will get its poorest gas mileage until it has warmed up several minutes after starting it.
  5. Combine errands to reduce the number of warm-ups you'll do to your vehicle.
  6. Use your Prius on warmer days rather than on cold when possible. The air is less dense and will produce less air resistance.
  7. Avoid rush-hour traffic. It's torturous with any car, and with the Prius, all the stops and starts to waste gas.
  8. Try to avoid driving during rainstorms or snowstorms, or where the roads have become a slushy mess.
  9. Check the owners manual to find the proper inflation for each tire. Try to maintain this pressure, plus 2 PSI at all times. Never use the pressure stated on the tire sidewall, as this is a maximum inflation pressure for the tire, without consideration to what type of car it is mounted on!
  10. Follow your car manual when determining the gas you use to fill up your vehicle. For the 2014 Prius you should use 87 octane rating or higher.
  11. Be aware of the road conditions. Take your foot off the accelerator as soon as you know you'll need to to slow down or stop. Put your car into "Glide" mode under these circumstances.
    • Create space between your car and the car in front of you, to give yourself time to stop and coast.
  12. Use the Energy display to watch the direction of the arrows. This alone will show you the direction of what part of your car's system is powering the other. Monitor it.
    • Drivers get the best mileage when they are able to read changes in the display. By pressing on the accelerator and brakes to move energy from the gasoline engine to the wheels and/or batteries-or to get all the arrows to disappear. This form is called glide mode.
  13. Accelerate steadily from a standstill in slow traffic conditions of less than {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}. In other conditions, accelerate quickly until at speed then maintain your desired speed.
    • Lift your foot slightly and reapply your foot after a few seconds until the Energy display shows energy going to the wheels and battery. This is an especially critical tool to use when you find you need energy (such as at night with the battery at a low charge).
  14. Push the accelerator pedal quickly downwards when you need to accelerate onto a highway or when needing to speed up quickly. The battery power will assist the engine, thereby reducing your gas use.
  15. Set cruise control on highways to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} to get the best results.
    • For every mph over {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}, you loose approximately one mpg.
  16. Learn the art of braking by using the Glide in a Toyota Prius,Coast in a Toyota Prius, regenerative braking and mechanical braking measures.
  17. Use the Use All‐Electric Mode in a Toyota Prius sparingly, such as when you move the vehicle from one part of the driveway to the other.
  18. Avoid using your air condition and heating system, as much as you can stand. Use the vent system along with the fan's temperature to properly control the vehicle's temperature. Try not to use the "Max" setting, at all costs. Turn off the heating, cooling, lights and all other electric accessories, as much as possible.
    • On hot days, set the air conditioning two degrees lower than the outside temperature, or to 85 (whichever is lower).
    • On cold days, once the cabin is at a comfortable temperature, turn off the climate control. At highway speeds it will maintain that temperature purely by the air rushing into the car's interior.
  19. Try to use cruise control for most travel situations. It works well on flat roads, and is excellent on non-congested higher-speed highways.
    • Cruise control is not good in hilly terrain, or where uphills produce aggressive driving and too much regenerative braking on downhills. Give the car a little push on the accelerator when you disengage regenerative braking.
  20. Decrease the number of times you brake. The Prius does a good job stopping quickly, coast more than stop whenever possible, thereby decreasing the amount of gas you use. Follow road signs, but hold off on braking until the last few moments.
    • Just like you learned when you first learned to drive an automatic car: Never, under any circumstances, keep your foot on the brake and accelerator pedal at the same time.

Steps for All Cars (Including the Prius)

  1. Change your oil every 5000 miles[1].
  2. Change your air filter every 30000 miles[2].
  3. Avoid the use of your car's roof-rack, if it is supplied with one.
  4. Change your spark plugs every 100000 miles[3].
  5. Clean your fuel injector system every {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.
  6. Try to keep your acceleration steady. Don't put the "pedal-to-the-metal" the second the light changes from red to green, or when entering the freeway and/or passing that slow car in your lane.
  7. Get a front end alignment every once in a while.
  8. Make sure to have your car inspected every year in states that have inspection laws. Keep your car tuned, engine and transmission fluids at the proper level, and all other areas cleaned (inside and out).


  • The 2010 model introduced three new modes-Eco, Power and Use All-Electric Mode in a Toyota Prius, which puts more efficiency into the hands of Prius owners.
  • Give your Prius a full {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} to really get broken in. As weird as it may seem, Prius owners commonly experience a 10-15% improvement in fuel economy after the new car smell has disappeared.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 or more Toyota Prius cars
  • proper maintenance on the car
  • knowledge of the Energy optimization screen's information
  • ability to use Cruise control and many other of the different features of car

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Sources and Citations