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Re-Learning To Drive

Seth Zuckerman of Cascadia Scorecard writes to let us know about a new post at the site, Driver's Ed, Hybrid Style, which summarizes Amory Lovins' recommendations for getting top mileage from hybrid-electric cars. As we've noted here before, getting a hybrid to maximum efficiency requires a somewhat different driving pattern than most people use. Lovins' suggestions (as Zuckerman notes, buried on page 15 of a large PDF newsletter) match my experience with my Civic Hybrid, as well as the experiences of other hybrid drivers I know.

While some of these methods are good ideas for all drivers (e.g., don't go much over the speed limit, coast when possible), some reflect the differences between hybrid-electric cars and straight internal combustion engine cars. Fast acceleration from a stop, for example, burns a lot of gas in a standard car, but uses the battery-electric system in a hybrid most efficiently.

The claim that hybrids are "just like regular cars" may be a selling point, but it's not entirely true. If you drive a hybrid like you drive a gas-only car, it won't get the kind of mileage you're hoping for. Getting the mileage that makes non-hybrid drivers envious requires learning to drive the hybrid like a hybrid.

Comments (1)


I've ridden in a Hybrid (both in the front and in the back seats) and it seemed like a "regular" car to me. It was comfortable, quiet, there seemed to be no problems getting through city traffic. You may drive it "differently" but from a passenger's point of view, I couldn't tell the difference.


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