When do hybrid batteries actually become useless?

I was looking into changing my 09 civic with a hybrid to save a lot on gas but the question is how many miles do hybrid batteries last before they stop working or stop saving gas and mpg goes down?

That article is wrong, and poorly researched. No maker says their hybrid battery life is 80,000-100,000. That’s the WARRANTY period. The first clue that the article was poor was it mentioning lead acid batteries. Nobody uses lead acid batteries in their hybrid system except to power the electronics.

Most Toyota hybrid batteries last the life of the car, as far as I can tell. I’d go with them, they have the best system in my opinion.


Driving moderately has its advantages.

In NYC taxi service, it is reported that their Toyota hybrid batteries typically last for 200k+ miles.

Again, +1
By contrast, Honda’s reliability record with hybrids and their batteries is… not very good.

Remember, hybrids are about using less fuel, not saving money. Those things are not the same. Many people would buy a hybrid even if it didn’t save them any money per month.

I have far and away replaced more Honda hybrid batteries than Toyotas. For a Prius, I rarely see battery issues before 200,000 miles.

What kind of mpg do you get with your Civic?


As others have said, sit down and do the math for 5 years of usage. Compare the price of keeping your current car, with it’s fuel consumption, vs the price of buying a new (or used) hybrid, and it’s cost for fuel.

I’d bet you a box of donuts it’ll be cheaper, in total, to keep the one you have.

There’s a difference in saving money, and spending less on gas. It doesn’t make any sense, financially, to spend more money on a smaller car to pay less in fuel.


I drive fast and furious and our flow of traffic highway speed is usually around 70mi/h and I drive a little faster than that on passing lane :smile: so I get 21mpg average and it is 85% city driving delivering stuff. I realized even if I have a hybrid you have to drive like a grandma to get 40-50mpg and I can’t do that, it would probably cost me more money than save. I appreciate all the answers btw. I definitely was looking into battery replacement cost and how much it would save me after that expense over 3-4 years but what I forgot was hybrid cars are more expensive if I want a car that has the same mileage as mine so that adds a few thousand dollars and it just eliminates the whole purpose of me saving money. I guess I am sticking with my civic.

Is that data from the pre 2012 transition from NiMH to lithium ion? I’m wondering how long the newer lithium ion Prius batteries last.

The EPA says 25 MPG city, so you must be driving it really hard in the city, or there is a problem like an oxygen sensor is bad, wheel alignment is off (wearing outsides of tires), or the EPA rating is exaggerated which is entirely possible as well (the EPA test mostly relies on manufacturer provided data without actual testing).

It’s hard to find information about your transmission, but it probably has a traditional 4 speed automatic where the torque converter does not lock up in city driving. You can expect 20% - 30% loss due to this compared to a manual transmission that is properly shifted (up shifted as soon as possible). A manual would then bump your city economy from 20 or so up to 25 . Accelerating hard with a manual does not harm fuel economy or wear out the transmission like it does on an automatic.

If your city driving involves a lot of braking too, which it must if you’re only getting 20 or so MPG in the city, then this is where a hybrid would help.

You then should be able to get 30+ MPG in the city. A new hybrid battery costs $4000 or $5000, but they seem to last in to 200k miles which is often the life of the car due to other issues. Toyota has been using lithium ion hybrid batteries for 9 years now (since 2012) … Lithium ion do degrade over time as well as with use. So it’ll be interesting to see what the next 5 years will look like for the lithium ion hybrids.

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Someone who drives a Civic hard enough to get only 21 mpg is going to be very disappointed with a hybrid. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got less than 30 mpg with that kind of driving.


Accelerating hard with manual trans or auto will result in worse mileage compared to accelerating moderately with either trans.
7/8th throttle will result in lower mpg vs 1/2 throttle.

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Just to clarify I don’t floor it or anything I take off slowly from a stop but I will let the tachometer go to 4-4500rpm before letting it shift and when I drive there is barely any car on the road and speed limits are around 45mph so I drive around 50-55mph depending on the road. I know flooring the gas from a stop is bad or accelerating hard so I always take off nice and easy then when over 10mph give more gas prevent early shifting to make it shift around 4000rpm. Hope that helps.

But people do save money. The average fuel cost per mile on a EV is less then half the fuel cost of an ICE vehicle. And then there’s the other savings like oil changes…and less frequent brake changes due to regenerative braking.

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Can you find a graph showing a gasoline engine that has worse efficiency at higher throttle with the comparison done at the same engine RPM? I believe this to be a myth that comes from diesel engines and automatic transmissions, but it does not apply to the engine itself.

That seems like a bit much. Maybe that’s why you’re only getting 20 MPG? If I rev a car up to 4000 RPM which would be about 26 MPH and then let off on the gas to let it shift I’ll shift directly in to 3rd, then it’ll have to go back to 2nd when I step on the gas again. Shifting at 4000 RPM every time is at best wearing out the transmission, even if your foot is off the gas it still has to make the input shaft spin down to 2200 or so. Maybe revving the engine up this high under partial load is contributing to the poor fuel economy? In theory revving up the engine at high throttle won’t decrease economy but if you’re letting it rev up needlessly like some lazy manual transmission drivers do then that would hurt your fuel economy. Running it at 4000 RPM at 20% throttle means that over half the fuel used by the engine goes to internal losses compared to full throttle where maximum efficiency is achieved. When I go down the highway at 55 MPH at 2000 RPM half of the fuel is used to keep the engine turning at 2000 RPM with no load.

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I don’t let off the gas I just know at what position the car will shift so I keep it there all the time obviously the next gear requires a little bit more gas so I sometimes do that or not depends on how I feel like :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes they certainly do, as far as fuel consumption and certain maintenance costs. But that’s not the point. The folks who buy hybrids would do so even if they didn’t save any money. At least the ones that I know.

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What’s your issue with “early shifting”?
Unless you’re passing or accelerating on a highway entry ramp, try applying throttle to make it shift about 2500 rpm.
See what that does for your mpg.

I don’t do it all the time just perhaps 30-40% of the time depending on how much in a hurry I feel or if I am bored I will make the car rev higher it is just fun :smiley: Yeah, I will test driving with low RPMs see how much difference it makes. My guess is not much maybe it will be 24 or something like that. Someone said EPA was 25. I don’t really care that much about saving 400$ a year so :man_shrugging:

Can’t argue with that. I was young once, I remember just standing on the gas pedal as I was getting on the freeway and just listening to that engine sing away at 5500RPM, which was pretty high for an old Oldsmobile V8. Any more and the valves would start making noise.

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Probably soon after your warranty expires.