A year in the Milk Float

I’ve had the Toyota Prius for a whole year now (as of 12th December) and I thought I’d make a note of how it’s been. Many folk have asked what it’s like driving a hybrid and what the economy is, and now it’s time to ‘fess up.

As a small family car it’s been really good. We drove it down to the south of France and back, full of holiday kit, and never found it to be less than good. As an automatic it’s a really easy and relaxing drive, if a little noisy when it takes an incline. Nothing has gone wrong with it – which is always a plus in any car.

However… 65mpg was offered in the brochure. Not that I ever expected to achieve that but we haven’t really got close. Over the last year, doing 22,000 miles of mostly motorway and A-road work, I’ve noted the fill-ups and the miles between fills. Yes, it’s a bit anal, but I know exactly what the economy is of this fellow. Twelve month average is 50mpg almost precisely.

Click on the graph for a larger version. You can see the mileage rise as he beds in, and as winter comes along and the air conditioning, heating and headlights work harder it starts drifting back again. Currently we’re doing about 48mpg while in the summer we were making 52… 65? I don’t think so.

Some of you are going to crow now, and tell me with a smile how your bog standard Mondeo, Vectra and Passat is beating me hollow. If you can produce a life history spreadsheet with a graph like this then I’ll bow and kiss your muddy boot (or even bonnet) but if you’re relying on the in-board trip computer forget it. Of course, your motor will be diesel too, and about 25ppg more expensive than unleaded fuel…

I suppose where the Prius scores is on emissions. At 104g/km I’ve produced 3750kg of CO2. In my previous car (Peugeot 307SW) I would have produced 4850kg so I’ve reduced my CO2 emissions by just over a tonne. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the future belongs to hydrogen.

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