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 Manuel

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.

Using 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.

Keep the Battery Charged

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.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency: www.fueleconomy.gov

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