or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Hybrid/High Mileage Vehicle Owners
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hybrid/High Mileage Vehicle Owners

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
If you own a hybrid or other high mileage vehicle, could you please post the make, model, year and ACTUAL mileage that you personally have obtained. Local (city) and highway would be great.

I have been commuting daily between Buffalo and Rochester, NY. The cost of gas is getting ridiculous. I'd consider a hybrid, but I've heard pro's and con's and I don't know if I should believe the EPA estimates of over 50 mpg.

Diesel owners, please contribute too!

Thanks a lot!

Doug
post #2 of 33
I own a 2000 VW Jetta TDI (that's the diesel model) - standard transmission (a standard is worth about 10% extra fuel economy). I've gotten as low as 43 mpg and as high as 53 mpg. Diesel fuel changes composition from the summer to the winter (more anti-gelling additives in the winter), which means that the winter blends 1. are more expensive than the summer blends and 2. they burn less efficiently. During the winter I average about 44-45 city driving, and 46-47 highway. During the summer add about 3 mpg to those numbers, so 47 city and 50 highway.

I'm pretty anal about my mileage and drive so as to maximize fuel efficiency (generally - I will still sometimes floor it out of a stoplight if I feel the need ). The other thing to keep in mind about diesel engines is that they take a while to break in, which, I think is why long term owners report better mileage than either the EPA estimates or brand new owners. My own engine didn't reach maximum efficiency until about 80,000 miles, the mileage slowly improved over time (unfortunately the story with diesels is that they generally are most efficient around 80 to 120 k, and then start losing efficiency again).

Long story short though: I am a firm believer in the VW TDI engine. I get more power & torque than the hybrids (which is nice for powering up the mountain passes in Colorado - Vail pass can get sort of long ), and I've been getting better mileage than my friends that own the hybrids too (and my car can actually fit 4 people in it, unlike most of the hybrids...). There are of course lots of little things that make a diesel engine different than a gas engine, and those things take a while to get used to (it starts with needing the green hose at gas stations, which they all don't have, and the list goes on from there), but overall the TDI's rock.

J
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake75
I own a 2000 VW Jetta TDI (that's the diesel model) - standard transmission (a standard is worth about 10% extra fuel economy). I've gotten as low as 43 mpg and as high as 53 mpg. Diesel fuel changes composition from the summer to the winter (more anti-gelling additives in the winter), which means that the winter blends 1. are more expensive than the summer blends and 2. they burn less efficiently. During the winter I average about 44-45 city driving, and 46-47 highway. During the summer add about 3 mpg to those numbers, so 47 city and 50 highway.

I'm pretty anal about my mileage and drive so as to maximize fuel efficiency (generally - I will still sometimes floor it out of a stoplight if I feel the need ). The other thing to keep in mind about diesel engines is that they take a while to break in, which, I think is why long term owners report better mileage than either the EPA estimates or brand new owners. My own engine didn't reach maximum efficiency until about 80,000 miles, the mileage slowly improved over time (unfortunately the story with diesels is that they generally are most efficient around 80 to 120 k, and then start losing efficiency again).

Long story short though: I am a firm believer in the VW TDI engine. I get more power & torque than the hybrids (which is nice for powering up the mountain passes in Colorado - Vail pass can get sort of long ), and I've been getting better mileage than my friends that own the hybrids too (and my car can actually fit 4 people in it, unlike most of the hybrids...). There are of course lots of little things that make a diesel engine different than a gas engine, and those things take a while to get used to (it starts with needing the green hose at gas stations, which they all don't have, and the list goes on from there), but overall the TDI's rock.

J
Thanks. I've heard good things about the VW diesels.
post #4 of 33
I don't, but one of my employees has an insight. He routinely gets 65-70mpg. Crossed the country on 3 tanks of gas.
post #5 of 33
A good suggestion is to consult Car Talk, either on the radio, or their wesbite, for good information on Hybrids.
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan
I don't, but one of my employees has an insight. He routinely gets 65-70mpg. Crossed the country on 3 tanks of gas.
I pass a guy routinely who drives here in an Insight.

Thanks, Harry!
post #7 of 33
We have a Miata and a MINI. the Miata I get close to 30 MPG, when I am not "getting on it". The MINI we get about 34 MPG. Both numbers are "combined" mileage. I am looking to get a late 90's Subie Outback for out "Trip" car to go to VT with.
post #8 of 33
I've owned VW diesels for years (not TDIs). My current is an '86 Jetta bought new. It now has 218,000 miles on it, manual shift, original clutch. I've never had any major engine troubles in fact all problems with this car were items you would expect to replace, glow plugs, water pump, hoses, brakes, struts, belts, control arm bushings etc. I drive with a lead foot and still average 43 mpg combined city/highway. I know this for a fact because I keep a fuel log. I'd love to own a TDI and as soon as mine dies, I'll replace it with a 4 cylinder, 2 litre TDI Passat wagon, about 38 mpg, I think.

When I have rare mechanical trouble I take it to a friend who is a certified VW mechanic. Parts are readily available. If you don't have a friend that's a certified VW mechanic, take it to a VW dealer or anyplace that has a mechanic familiar with diesels. Fuel is no problem here in the East. A lot of stations carry diesel and there are plenty of truck stops, if you don't mind fueling up with the big rigs.

Diesels are not as 'green' as hybrids. They release a good amount of particulates but some diesel proponents are fond of saying that diesels are the only internal combustion engine used in underground operations. Refining diesel fuel uses less energy too.

I've owned an '81 diesel Rabbit that I killed with a botched water pump replacement, bought new 200,000 miles +, a '86 Gulf diesel bought used with 150,000 miles on it, I put another 80,000 miles on it and sold it. As far as I know it has well over 300,000 miles and still on the road.

Non diesels I've owned:
1989 VW Jetta, bought new, sold and kept the '86 diesel Jetta though it had more miles, replaced with the used Gulf also had more miles.

1993 VW Eurovan that had 90,000 on it when I bought it, now has 190,000 miles on it. Still in service.

1999 Passat that had 80,000 when bought now has 130,000 on it. (Wife's car)

I will not hesitate to take anyone of these vehicles anywhere.

Hybrids are a nice idea but I'll wait to see if the technology is reliable. Right now I view them as over priced status symbols for the environmentally hip.
post #9 of 33
Well my "race" car. gets 41 mpg highway and about 34 mpg in the city when driven lightly. That drops to about 15mpg full thottle. It is hybrid in a sense. It has Integra motor in a civic(90 hatchback),gets that great gas mileage. yet still can run 15.0 flats in the quarter mile. This is by no mean a practical choice for anyone though, since i have no rear seat, roll bar, and all the sound deading taken out(lighter weight hence the good gas mileage).
post #10 of 33
99 Insight, 68-71 mpg avg. Can't get out of its own way, but that's not what you asked.
post #11 of 33
At 71 mpg, who cares. It's faster than a bicycle.
post #12 of 33
What about bio-diesel fuel?
post #13 of 33
I can confirm the VW 1.9 TDI.
As I have posted in an other thread (Gas Prices in Teaching) I am on 53 mpg with a 10 year-old (125,000 miles) Passat Variant (manual shift), driving mostly in winter to and in the mountains and on highways.

With the current gas price of $ 5/gal and that of diesel only slightly less the max mileage is more important than ever.
post #14 of 33
Last Friday I bought a 2004 Civic Hybrid, and stopped to fill the tank on the way home. So far it's doing about 41-45 MPG mostly city, way better than the Windstar it's replacing (hey, anybody want to buy a loaded '99 Windstar? )

Acceleration in the Civic isn't great but isn't horrible, since it's basically a small gas engine with an electric assist that kicks in when you need it. That's opposite the Toyota Prius, which starts with electric and then switches to gas for more oomph as needed.

I drove both the Civic Hybrid and the Prius, and while the Prius has better acceleration, I found myself too doggone distracted by that screen in the middle of the dash. The screen also contains most of the radio & a/c controls, and while glitzy, I could easily see it becoming a road hazard since the human interface is not familiar (i.e., we are all well-acquainted with buttons and knobs.)

So far I like the Honda. It's a nice, simple, solid ride. My wife loves it, and can't wait to sell the Windstar so she can start driving it full-time. Did I mention that I have a loaded '99 Windstar for sale? :
post #15 of 33
Apparently the battery packs on the hybrid cars cost about 800 clams to replace - minimum. Then you have to figure out where/how to dispose of this big mass of dead battery when the time comes... and... where does over 50% of the electricity in the USA come from - the burning of coal, which is undoubtedly quite a polluter.

Seems like the hybrid owner has just deferred the environmental impacts of running the vehicle to some less obvious points on the supply chain.

Many studies seem to be indicating that diesel will be the wave of the future.
post #16 of 33
Niceturns, get your facts straight. Hybrid battery packs have been shown to last over 180,000 miles in testing, and are warranted for 100K. While the batteries contain hazardous metals, they are easily and economically recycled. Just don't dump them in a field. Hybrid batteries do not recharge off the grid but are recharged from regenerative braking and a low emissions gasoline engine. The hydrocarbon emissions from a diesel engine continue to be problematic as they emit particulates (smoke) and potential carcinogenic components. In the end, the hybrids are the best current solution. I expect this answer may be incorrect in the next five years, but for now, thats where we are.

Please cite your sources that diesel is the "wave of the future".
post #17 of 33
Although my next vehicle purchase will probably be a hybrid, I don't own one now. However, I found a coulple of websites on hybrids that were interesting to me. Relevant to this thread is a site run by an 18 year old who does a very nice job of collecting gas mileage data from hybrid owners and then displaying it. His site is http://www.greenhybrid.com and specifically the page of interest is...

http://www.greenhybrid.com/compare/mileage/

What I've read on hybrids is that one's driving habits will greatly impact gas mileage. For example, if the driver always has the air conditioner on, that will greatly decrease mileage.

Since hybrids interest me, another site that I enjoy is http://www.hybridcars.com
post #18 of 33
Doug,

I have a 2004 VW Jetta TDI (100 hp). I've been getting 43 mpg without any attempt to get good mileage. With the ventectomy, I can easily get 700 miles/tank.

When VW comes out with the 130hp diesel Passat with 4 motion, I'm going to trade up.

In 2006, the US gets low sulpher diesel gas. After this, we will start receiving the newest technology diesel engines that are currently in use in Europe. Diesels in Europe are selling about 30% of the market. VW says they 3% of the vehicles they ship here are diesels.

Fred's TDI club is a great resource for TDI info. The wave of the future comment refers partly comes from the coming fuel change and the fact that the American public has not "discovered" that the "new" diesels are quieter and a lot less stinky than the old diesels. I can't remember the source, but it's in the links off of Fred's page (as well as links documenting the drawbacks of diesels).
post #19 of 33
What I need is a "chart" that shows payback.

All of my cars are paid for. So how many miles a month must I drive to offset a $200-$300 a month payment?

Every time I run the numbers, I can't even get close to justification of "changing cars" to save money. Even the "Save the enviornment" justification runs thin when I consider how much energy is consumed in the manufacture of a new car. $$$ = energy.

I'll put my money on a good "very low or no payment" used car that gets over 22 mpg every time.

Just a thought. I like the TDI's, but cost of operation can get high if you experience any of the VW electrical problems that plague some. I have a '99 Jetta Wolfsburg that gets about 35 mpg average. 2.2 liter, Manual shift, (ask me how I know about the electrical problems.

CalG
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgrandy
Just a thought. I like the TDI's, but cost of operation can get high if you experience any of the VW electrical problems that plague some. I have a '99 Jetta Wolfsburg that gets about 35 mpg average. 2.2 liter, Manual shift, (ask me how I know about the electrical problems.CalG
I must be one of the lucky ones. I had to replace a main electric harness when a belt broke and severed it in my first VW, a '76 Rabbit but never had any other electrical problems. A friend of mine has had 'niggling' problems (lights and fuses blown) with her 2002 TDI Jetta, . I understand 'new model' '99s and up Jettas and Golfs had coil ignition problems.
post #21 of 33
2004 FIAT Stilo MW with 1.9 JTD engine@115 HP
AVG mileage 17-20 km/litre.
Highest continous mileage 25 km/litre on a motorway at roughly 100 km/h
Lowest, urban mileage 10 km/litre
high speed (140-150 km/h) 7-8 km/litre
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky
What about bio-diesel fuel?
I had never heard of this before until about a month ago when I test drove a diesel Jeep Liberty.

Biodiesel sounds like a great idea - it just doesn't seem to be too widely available yet. It also still needs to be blended with petrodiesel and other stuff especially in the winter b/c it has a pretty high gel-point. I very much like the idea of using restaurant cooking oil that would otherwise be landfilled - especially since it comes from plants in the first place. (Plants that don't have to sit compressed in the dark underground for a few million years)

Even though it was diesel, the mileage on the Liberty still sucked though - max of like 28mpg.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by FRAU
I had never heard of this before until about a month ago when I test drove a diesel Jeep Liberty.

Biodiesel sounds like a great idea - it just doesn't seem to be too widely available yet. It also still needs to be blended with petrodiesel and other stuff especially in the winter b/c it has a pretty high gel-point. I very much like the idea of using restaurant cooking oil that would otherwise be landfilled - especially since it comes from plants in the first place. (Plants that don't have to sit compressed in the dark underground for a few million years)

Even though it was diesel, the mileage on the Liberty still sucked though - max of like 28mpg.
biodiesel is coming on strong in Pachouli-stinkin' Missoula. one of my friends who drives a monstrous Dodge full-size that he bought new only 3 years ago has garaged that Dodge, is shopping for a diesel small truck, and intends to open a biodiesel plant here in Hippieland. he's not even a hippie, he's a Born-Again Christian, Dubya-lovin' ubercapitalist. but he's also an environmentalist of respectable stripe, and he sees the end of gasoline 'round the bend. he's an investment advisor, he's used to tracking trends.

as to the Jeep, it sucked because it's a Jeep. Jeeps suck donkey testicles. And that's me being generous and softhearted there.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Springhill Crazie
I must be one of the lucky ones. I had to replace a main electric harness when a belt broke and severed it in my first VW, a '76 Rabbit but never had any other electrical problems. A friend of mine has had 'niggling' problems (lights and fuses blown) with her 2002 TDI Jetta, . I understand 'new model' '99s and up Jettas and Golfs had coil ignition problems.
I owned and drove a '95 VW GTI VR6 for 3.5 years and 80some thousand miles, I bought it new and was the only owner and driver during that time, and the only electrical problem it had was that its CD changer went bonkers on me after 3 years.

it had some nagging front disc brake and front wheel bearing problems for a while after about 60k miles, but those got sorted out pretty cheaply and easily.
post #25 of 33
We own a 2004 Prius. I know that the EPA estimates are calcuated using a very strict formula, but I can't even imagine what set of circumstances would allow it to get 61 MPG. We typically get 47-50 MPG, I'd guess our city/highway usage is split 40/60. I find myself thinking a little bit more about driving carefully to optimize the mileage when in the city, but I'm not willing to slow down on the highway just for the sake of a couple of MPG, and that's probably putting an upper limit on our mileage.

I agree with some of the others that it's probably not economical to decide to buy a new car to save money on gas, and the environmental impact of the manufacturing process of a new car is significant. However, if you are going to be getting a new car anyway (as we were), it's nice to own one that minimizes emissions and also doesn't require a 2nd mortgage to fill ($63 for to fill my Explorer, *yikes*).
post #26 of 33
Hi all-
Do your VW diesels start easily after sitting 10 hours in a frigid cold mountain parking lot in the winter? Do you use an engine block heater? How is the front wheel drive in deep snow? TDI's don't come all-wheel drive, do they?

Gonz - plz don't start Jeep flaming - my cherokee faithfully rambles down those vermont dirt roads in mud season while others are getting stuck.. plenty others here can vouch for the same i'm sure
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by marta
Hi all-
Do your VW diesels start easily after 10 hours in a frigid cold mountain parking lot in the winter? Do you use an engine block heater? How is the front wheel drive in deep snow? TDI's don't come all-wheel drive, do they?
My diesels have sat in the parking lot at the top of PA's Laurel Mountain elevation approx. 2800 ft., Blue Knob elevation approx. 3000 ft. and WVA's Snowshoe elevation approx. 4000 ft. (these ski area's 'base lodge' is at the top of the mountain) in wind blown, sub zero temps. 10 hour or more and never have failed to start. I've used properly conditioned diesel fuel of course. This is done by the retailer so fuel is best purchased from a dealer that sells a lot of fuel. (truck stops)

The only thing that I think would effect starting is a bad battery or worn glow plugs. On really cold days I preheat my glow plugs a few times by switching off my ignition then switching back on again a few times before engaging the starter.

Front wheel drive is excellent in snow but I've never driven in anything deeper then foot to foot and a half on PA and WVA mountain roads. All roads in Western/Central PA rise and fall several hundred vertical feet in a few miles and are quite windy.

I don't think AWD is available on TDI models.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Springhill Crazie

I don't think AWD is available on TDI models.
No, they are not.
post #29 of 33
AWD & TDI do not go together, unfortunately.

My TDI has sat in Frisco for 2 days in fairly cold weather, and started up without problem. It's sat in my driveway for even more in even colder weather and no problems starting. That's pre-heater. I installed a coolant heater (there's a guy that sells a kit to install them on any TDI - it's fast and very easy to do), NOT because of starting problems, but because diesels get god-awful mileage until they reach normal operating temperature, and that takes a long time when the engine is starting at 5 degrees. (Ok, there's another reason besides the fuel efficiency: my regular commute was about 25 miles, downhill for the first 12, and the engine wouldn't warm up until I was at the bottom of the pass - so I installed a heater so that I could get warm air out of the vents before my fingers froze off - the ass heater in the seats is NOT also in the stearing wheel.)

As someone put it (I think over at Fred's TDI club): "volkswagon is so confident in the cold starting ability of the TDI they don't even include a block heater in the cold weather package." If cold starting is the only concern, then that's a good choice. Fuel economy and personal comfort may dictate otherwise though.

Oh, and with the TDI's, they actually recommend that you do NOT warm them up before driving, even if the engine is very cold. Start it, and drive it. The reason is that the engine runs so efficiently it doesn't produce enough ambient heat at idle to efficiently warm up the engine. In fact, from personal experience, if the temperature is under freezing, if the engine is warm and you let it idle, it will actually cool off to below ideal temperature - a pretty remarkable demonstration of efficiency if you think about the physics involved.

J
post #30 of 33
Jake, it sounds like you could really use a pizza box duct taped to the radiator.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Hybrid/High Mileage Vehicle Owners