Your mileage may vary

I have a brand new Toyota Avalon Hybrid. I am an average driver, and I am getting 32 mpg in town and 36 hwy. I wonder whether this is likely to change as the engine gets broken in–and by how much? Also, should I expect oil consumption during break-in?

I forgot to say–the “official” numbers are both about 40.

Like in a weight loss clinic, your results “may vary”. A lot depends on the driving environment; you’ll save more in traffic than in cross country cruising.

You should not expect oil consumption during break-in

While I’m not 100% certain, I believe the engine was broken in before the car was ever shipped to the dealer

It took me a little while to get the rhythm down with my hybrid MKZ (same basic size as yours). I now average about 37.5 mpg in town, 36 on the freeway. Pay lots of attention to smooth throttle use and maximizing the regen braking (anticipate, and brake lightly).

It’s not the car that needs to break in, it’s the driver!

Go to the above URL and check out actual mileage for the Avalon hybrid. In 2014, the averages for 6 drivers were 29.3 to 47.2. The mileage you see now is not at all out of the ordinary.

Whenever someone says “I’m an average [anything],” it reminds me of The News from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children above average. Everyone thinks their above average, below average, or average, but few actually know.

Also, I wonder how many of those self reported numbers on are valid.

No, none of us knows anything.

“I wonder how many of those self reported numbers on are valid.”

In conversation, and in blogs, it seems that the two things most often lied about are travel time and fuel economy. And, that is nothing new.

When I was a kid, a friend of my parents got a new job about 30 miles south of where we lived.
If somebody took the NJ Turnpike south, followed by the Garden State Parkway south, followed by some local roads, it might have been possible under optimum conditions to go from our home town to his job site in 45 minutes.

However, this guy–who was a notorious cheapskate who wouldn’t take toll roads if he could possibly avoid it, and who also drove like a snail–drove north for about 8 miles on local roads, followed by a westerly drive for about 7 miles on a highly congested highway, before finally turning south on another highly congested non-toll highway for a total trip of about 45 miles. And, he boasted that he got to his new job in 20 minutes!

Even as a kid, I knew that what he claimed was impossible, and I mentioned this to my father.
My father–who rarely criticized people openly–said something along the lines of…Yeah, and he also wants us to believe that he gets 30+ mpg in his Rambler while driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic on his way to work. Just smile and ignore what he says.

I think the feds requirements on truth in advertising should mandate these automotive ads should state ‘‘your mileage WILL vary’’…!

You should expect no oil burning during break in which may last nine thousand miles instead of my usual three or four. Fuel economy may improve during the break in period.

Your mileage will vary because the terrain and driving habits will vary. Start driving more conservatively if you haven’t already. Hybrids are just as affected by hard acceleration, high speeds and lots of hills as well. In the automotive world, “your mileage will vary” is an accepted concept and really IMO, doesn’t need to be part of the the mileage figures. Mileage figures are not actual numbers that everyone is expected to get. I view them as comparison numbers between cars that are driven the same way over the same way and under the same conditions. These numbers are for unladen automobiles whether they be cars or trucks.

If anything, I’ve found my hybrid to be much more sensitive to how it’s driven. Drive it hard, and most of the hybrid ‘advantage’ goes away. In contrast, my '83 GTI got 25 mpg, city, highway, driven hard, or, well, less hard…

here is an interesting read,

Some highlights

The car manufacturer performs the fuel mileage tests themselves and reports the results to the EPA, then the EPA audits between 15-20% of the vehicles reported. The vehicle gets hooked up to a dynamometer for a series of drive tests.

This is a direct quote from “On the dynamometer, a professional driver runs the vehicle through a standardized driving routine, or schedule, which simulates “typical” trips in the city or on the highway.”

Here’s another direct quote from “Manufacturers do not test every new vehicle offered for sale. They are only required to test one representative vehicle–typically a preproduction prototype–for each combination of loaded vehicle weight class, transmission class, and basic engine.”

Also noted in the article being tested on the dyno wind resistance does not come into play.

Drive it as though there were an egg between your foot and the gas and brake pedal…In other words, keep acceleration and braking to a minimum…

The EPA mileage estimates are meant for buyers to compare gas mileage between competing choices, not as a real world estimate of your gas mileage.

@jtsanders Right! The EPA test does not even take the car out onthe road; it is a laboratory cycle with the drive wheels on rollers. It is supposed to simulate an average urban or highway driving cycle.

Early versions underestimated the brutal treatment the average motorist gives his (her) car. The current test cycle is somewhat more realistic.

It has value in comparing different cars when are shopping for a vehicle. The cycle also provides input into the EPA statistics to determine if manufacturers attain their fleet average based on sales…

My daughter drives a Toyota product hybrid and I can always get better fuel mileage than she can…The car has both a mileage meter and a regenerative braking meter…By altering driving technique to maximize these readings, I can coax the overall mileage up near 50 MPG…

Which brings up an interesting point Caddyman…a seasoned hybrid driver who then gets into a conventional car can easily increase fuel economy by 10-15%. What if everyone drove this way?