Tips for Hybrids, Plug-in Hybrids, and Electric Vehicles
Many of the gas-saving tips for conventional vehicles also apply to hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric vehicles (EVs). Here are some additional tips that may help you improve the fuel economy of these advanced vehicles.
Read the Owner Manual
These vehicles can vary significantly in design, especially the way they manage energy use. Tips that apply to one model may not apply to another. The automaker knows how to operate and maintain your vehicle to maximize fuel economy, driving range, and battery life. So, consult the owner manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
Use the Economy Mode
Many of these vehicles come with an "economy mode" or similar feature to improve fuel economy. You can often turn on this feature by just pressing a button. The economy mode may limit aspects of the vehicle's performance, such as acceleration, to save fuel.
Avoid Hard Braking
Anticipate stops and brake gently or moderately. This allows the regenerative braking system to recover energy from the vehicle's forward motion and store it as electricity. Hard braking causes the vehicle to use its conventional friction brakes, which do not recover energy.1,2,3
Keep the Battery Charged
(EVs and Plug-in Hybrids Only)
For plug-in hybrids, keeping the battery charged helps you use as much electricity and as little gasoline as possible, saving you fuel and money. For EVs, it helps maximize your driving range.
Check your owner manual for the best charging advice for your vehicle.
Use Accessories Wisely
Using accessories such as heating, air conditioning, and entertainment systems can lower fuel economy on all vehicles, but they can have a greater effect on hybrids and electrics. So, keep that in mind when trying to maximize fuel economy or electric range. Pre-heating or pre-cooling the cabin of a plug-in hybrid or EV while it's plugged in, for example, can extend its electric range.4,5
- Rask, E., D. Santini, and H. Lohse-Busch. 2013. Analysis of Input Power, Energy Availability, and Efficiency during Deceleration for X-EV Vehicles. SAE Int. J. Alt. Power. 2(2):350-361. DOI:10.4271/2013-01-1473.
- Thomas, J., S. Huff, B. West and P. Chambon. 2017. Fuel Consumption Sensitivity of Conventional and Hybrid Electric Light-Duty Gasoline Vehicles to Driving Style. SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 10(3):2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-9379.
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 2017. Sensible driving saves more gas than drivers think.
- Lohse-Busch, H., M. Duoba, E. Rask, and M. Meyer. 2012. Advanced Powertrain Research Facility AVTA Nissan Leaf Testing and Analysis. Argonne National Laboratory.
- Lohse-Busch, H., M. Duoba, E. Rask, K. Stutenberg, et al. 2013. Ambient Temperature (20°F, 72°F and 95°F) Impact on Fuel and Energy Consumption for Several Conventional Vehicles, Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicle. SAE Technical Paper 2013-01-1462. DOI:10.4271/2013-01-1462.