Monday, April 24, 2006


1996 Toyota Tercel mileage
(miles per gallon)
3/15/2004 - 4/23/2006

I drive a 1996 Toyota Tercel, purchased new in April 1996 after the tragic death of my previous car (a 1990 Tercel, purchased used in 1992.) I have a daily work commute of more than 66 miles, 33.3 miles each way. About four miles of this commute are on suburban streets and the rest are highway miles. I average better than 35 miles per gallon and range anywhere from about 29 mpg to better than 42 mpg. My mileage suffers during cold weather and improves in hot weather, and is much better over long-range highway trips than over any combination of short-range trips.

Should I buy a new car, maybe even a hybrid? Newer models may offer marginally better mileage, but there is the expense of purchasing a new car to consider. Hybrids promise remarkable improvements in mileage, but these improvements are mostly realized in low-speed city driving when the electrical motor takes over - on the highway a hybrid will behave more like a conventional car, using the gas engine for power and rendering the electrical power system dead weight.

No, I'm happy with my Tercel, and with my Tercel's mileage, especially during the summer months. I think I'll hold onto my little old car for as long as I can.

1 comment:

Super G said...

Cool plot, though some scale on the bottom would be nice. The data look variable, but range was only from 30 mpg to 40 mpg.

As of today - I would buy a hybrid if I were doing at least a fair bit of town or stop/go driving. If you have primarily highway miles, then I would replace it with some high MPG Toyota. Can you drag the purchase out for a year or two? We'll see some fuel improvement pretty rapidly at these gas prices. (The market responds).