The Sonata On Trial

Discussion in 'Articles' started by MaxxMPG, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    [​IMG] The Indictment - A 2011 Hyundai Sonata is unable to deliver anywhere near the EPA city estimated 22mpg in suburban driving.


    Chris Bernius - CleanMPG - Feb 26, 2011

    On The Docket Today

    The 2011 Hyundai Sonata with six speed automatic is EPA estimated to deliver 22mpg city and 35mpg highway. One sample of this family sedan is accused of being unable to achieve anywhere near its 22mpg city rating in suburban driving. The indictment specifies that highway fuel economy is satisfactory - close to, or meeting, the highway EPA figure. Duly note that the inability to achieve the rated fuel economy during daily commute was carefully measured during an unusually harsh winter season, with temperatures averaging 15-35F. Fuel economy was calculated as miles on the odometer divided by gallons pumped into the tank at fillup, generally regarded as the most accurate method of obtaining the real number. Also note the EPA test - known as FTP75 - is a standardized data collection performed on a dynamometer. Every passenger car model sold in the USA is driven on this cycle as part of its emissions certification. Each make and model is tested using the same method, and the results are adjusted and rounded, and the result is displayed on the Monroney sticker of new cars. Duly note that the defendant has roughly 1000 miles on the odometer, so the engine has not yet "loosened up". It is not uncommon for modern direct-injected engines to take up to 5000 miles to "wake up" and deliver even better fuel efficiency.

    The Arraignment

    Writ of Habeas Corpus

    Literally "You are to have the body" - And in this case, we're "puttin' on the writs" here and now just so we can see that gorgeous body.
    Ladies and gentlemen, the defendant in this case, looking resplendent in Radiant Silver.


    Voir Dire

    Jury selection was performed by googling "Perry Mason" and choosing this image.


    Swearing In The Plaintiff and Defendant

    This is a family-friendly courtroom, so we won't be swearing, unless one one of the attorneys drops the gavel on their foot.
    In the spirit of maintaining this family-friendly atmosphere, sitting on the bench today will be an Article III judge, so-called because s/he is wearing at least three articles of clothing, not counting flipflops.

    The Facts Of The Case

    - EPA test FTP75 - the official measure of the EPA city fuel economy number - is outdated and didn't reflect real world urban driving even in the mid 1970s, when the average compact car weighed 3100 pounds and had a 90-110hp inline six with one or two barrel carburetor and measured 0-60mph in roughly 15 seconds. The disclaimer of "your mileage may vary" wasn't cutting it, so the EPA has since introduced adjustments - twice. In 1985 and again in 2008, the original EPA mileage numbers gathered during dynamometer testing (and used for CAFE calcluations) have been adjusted down to lower numbers that are "more realistic" in today's world.

    - The 2011 Sonata is a midsize sedan that is rated by the EPA as a "full size" thanks to its generous 120+ cubic feet of interior passenger and trunk volume. Although it is among the lightest vehicle in its segment, it's still a heavy car compared to entries in the B and C segment (subcompact and compact cars). Its class-leading 35mpg highway is the result of a tall overdrive sixth gear and a body shape that is optimized for a very low coefficient of drag. Note that these attributes don't aid fuel efficiency during low speed commutes. Also note that the midsize 2011 Sonata GLS, at 3200 pounds, is still a comparatively heavy car. And so heavy stop-n-crawl traffic along congested routes will cause an inevitable shortfall in measured fuel economy.

    - The powerplant for the 2011 Sonata is an advanced 2.4 liter 16 valve engine with continuously variable valve timing and GDI - Gasoline Direct Injection. The direct injection technology allows significant increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in emissions - especially cold start emissions.

    - The automatic transmission in the 2011 Sonata is a six speed unit based on the familiar Lepelletier gearset. Like most similar units, it uses a fairly tall 2.885:1 final drive, but has a "rock-crawler" first gear (4.212:1) to provide acceleration strong enough to please customers and the automotive media. Second gear, at 2.637:1, is close to the first gear of most three, four, and five speed automatics. Hyundai's first "designed inhouse" automatic offers excellent highway fuel economy via its 0.772:1 overdrive sixth just above the direct drive fifth gear. In order to minimize the fuel economy impact caused by the rock-crawler low gear of any modern Lepelletier-based automatic, it is wise to fake shift these new six speed automatics by lifting off the throttle slightly when the tach approaches "2". But very few drivers know that this technique exists to overcome the guzzling introduced by the "auto-media-friendly" first gear.

    - As temperatures fall, fuel economy necessarily falls as well, for several reasons. Colder air is more dense than warm air, which increases air drag on the car. Low temperatures increase tire rolling resistance, regardless of tire inflation pressure. And low temperatures increase the viscosity of the various lubricants used throughout the driveline, leading to increased energy losses in the powertrain.

    Existing Laws Relevant To The Case

    - The laws of physics tell us that "force = mass x acceleration". More mass needs more force. More acceleration needs more force. Increase both (relatively heavy car with strong acceleration), and the force required is that much greater. The energy for this force comes from gasoline, and so requiring more force necessarily means using more gasoline.

    - Kinetic energy is equal to mass times velocity times velocity, divided by two. Energy therefore increases with the square of speed, where doubling speed requires the unleashing of four times as much potential energy in order to accelerate to that speed. In a vehicle powered by gasoline or diesel, potential energy is stored on board in the fuel tank as a liquid hydrocarbon. The potential energy is released from the fuel and converted into kinetic energy by burning the fuel in an internal combustion engine (ICE for short), where the torque - or twisting force - is multiplied via gear reduction and then applied to the drive wheels. Increasing the vehicle mass by 33% means 33% more energy is needed to propel the vehicle to a given speed, so heavier midsize vehicles (assuming identical powertrain efficiency) cannot match the fuel economy of lighter compact vehicles when both are driven in exactly the same manner.

    - Stepping on the brake pedal converts kinetic energy (gained by burning fuel) into the potential energy of heat on the brake rotors. There are two ways to stop a vehicle in motion - Apply the brakes, or steer into an immovable object.
    Consider the following image, showing a test conducted by NHTSA, involving the 2011 Sonata stopping "the hard way", and earning five stars in the process:


    The purpose of the image is to graphically reinforce the concept of just how much energy needs to be thrown away every time a driver presses the brake pedal to stop from 35mph. The energy lost is enough to crush more than eighteen inches of high strength steel. And this same kinetic energy, obtained by burning irreplaceable petroleum every time you step on the "tall" pedal, is lost forever every time you step on the "wide" pedal.

    Legal Precedents

    - Gerdes v. Downtown Chicago (06/29/2009) - The 2010 Ford Transit Connect, wearing EPA ratings of 22/25 on its Monroney sticker, delivered 11.3mpg in the stop & crawl of downtown Chicago.
    - Gerdes v. Yukon (06/03/2008) - A 2005 GMC Yukon XL 4WD, rated by the EPA at 13/17, was driven in downtown Manhattan during a demonstration of hypermiling for Miles O'Brien, a reporter for CNN. The reporter, stating that basic techniques instantly reduced his fuel consumption by 30%, still listed 10.6mpg on the ScanGauge. That would indicate that "normal driving" in midtown would have resulted in roughly 7.4mpg - a stark contrast to the 13 on the window sticker.

    Order To Show Cause

    On a sunny Saturday - Feb 26 2011, between 1:00pm and 3:30pm - The defendant was cross examined in the presence of the prosecuting attorney.

    The weather during this examination was sunny, with temperatures in the range of 40F-45F, and light winds varying N to NNE to NE at about 10mph. The test commute was predominantly east-west, and closely spaced buildings in the dense urban area effectively mitigated the effect of wind.
    To review: The defendant is a 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS, 2.4L with six speed automatic. No modifications of any kind, and stock wheels and tires are in place. Odometer mileage was 1153 at start and 1171 at completion.
    Tire pressures - (cold, before initial startup), via Accutron digital pressure gauge:
    L-F [37.5] R-F [37.0] L-R [33.0] R-R [34.5] - Placard: 32 F / 32 R.
    Result=PASS (for the purpose of minimum tire pressure needed for adherance to FTP75).

    Test Procedures and Results

    Drivers : Chris (MaxxMPG), Owner (Owner of the Sonata), Witness (Relative of the Owner)

    Purpose : Replicate a "daily commute" as closely as possible to measure fuel economy under known conditions.

    Variables :
    - Saturday afternoon traffic, while heavy, can't hold a candle to the absolute murder of the same route on a Monday morning.
    - Daily commute, and EPA FTP75, include only the driver in the car. During these tests, there were one or two passengers as well. One of the drivers/passengers, who shall remain nameless, weighs more than the average passenger and in fact enjoys lifting car engines as much as he enjoys discussing them. Note that added weight will degrade fuel economy whether it is part of the car's curb weight or if the car is loaded with one or more big bruisers.

    Limitations :
    - In order to "drive like the EPA" so that a real-world result can be measured, the test drives were performed with the car in Drive at all times, and the engine running at all times during the trip. No coasting in neutral and no shutting down at long traffic lights.
    - The EPA test is performed with all fuel economy enhancements disabled. The drives were completed with the Eco mode switched off.
    - The speed limit on the main road used during the test is 40mph, and the maximum speed during all test was observed as about 42mph on one stretch, but most of the trip was completed at speeds of 15-25mph.
    - EPA tests are conducted using straight gasoline, while New York State mandates the sale of Johnnie Walker Gold (20 proof). This alone is responsible for fuel economy degradation of 5 to 10%.

    Results :
    ParameterTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Comment/Footnote
    Description "Home to Work""Work to Home""Home to Work""Work to Home"Exact commute car drives every weekday
    Driver OwnerWitnessChris*Owner* *-Basic hypermiling: only DWL, DWB, Light Timing, Smart Braking
    Total aboard (incl driver) 3322 Three are listed above under 'drivers'
    Engine Temp at Start COLDHOTHOTHOT UG reported 52F coolant for test 1, >190F for tests 2,3,4
    Start/End odometer 1153-11581158-11621162-11671167-1171 As measured from car's odometer
    Start/End time (hh:mm) 1:28pm-1:50pm1:53pm-2:13pm2:32pm-2:52pm2:58pm-3:20pm As measured from a $7 Sharp quartz watch
    Trip Time (minutes) 17191921 As displayed on UG
    #Stops(qty)/#Idle(qty@sec;min) 15 / 14@355;5.92 13 / 13@335;5.58 4 / 9@300;5.0 7 / 13@360;6.0 See Note 1 and Note 2 below
    Idle Time (% of trip) 34.8% 29.4% 26.3% 28.6% Calculated as (idle time / trip time) x 100, not counting 'stops'
    Trip Distance (miles) As displayed on UG
    Trip Avg Speed (mph) 15.514.013.813.2 As time progressed, traffic increased in both directions
    Trip Miles Per Gallon 15.2 16.5 19.7 18.2 See Note 3 below

    Note 1: #Stops represents the number of "stop signs" or other traffic events requiring a stop for only a second before proceeding.
    Note 2: #Idle represents red lights, waiting to make left turns or for traffic to clear, or any other stop event that takes more than a second before proceeding. Only stops of more than 5 seconds were noted, with the number of seconds written down each time. The sum of these numbers is shown here, in seconds and fractional minutes.
    Note 3: During tests 2 and 4, the UG was displaying roughly 10% more than the final MPG average, but fell to the final result due to a traffic light with a long red and short green, resulting in waiting for two light cycles before proceeding. On a daily commute, waiting three or four light cycles would be typical.

    Comparison of Four Tests vs EPA FTP75 ("City" test) :
    ParameterEPA FTP75Test 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Comment/Footnote
    Description EPA Baseline "Home to Work""Work to Home""Home to Work""Work to Home"Exact commute car drives every weekday
    Top Speed 56mph 42mph 40mph 35mph 40mph Casual Observation of speedometer - not 100% certified
    Total aboard (incl driver) 1 3 3 2 2 Three are listed above under 'drivers'
    Engine Temp at Start WARMCOLDHOTHOTHOT Test temp of 40F means warmup hit not too bad compared to EPA's 70F
    Trip Time (minutes) 31.217191921 Time is less than EPA FTP75, but it's 1/3 hour of survival-mode driving
    Trip Time (% of EPA) --- 54.5% 60.9% 60.9% 67.3% Our test time roughly 6/10-7/10 that of EPA
    Trip Distance (miles) Distance is less than EPA FTP75, but a grueling commute
    Trip Distance (% of EPA) ---40.9%42.7%40.9%41.8% Our test distance is roughly 4/10 as far as that of EPA
    Trip #Stops2329261120 # for our tests include #stops + #idle events
    Trip #Stops (% of EPA) --- 126.1% 113.0% 47.8% 87.0% Note DWB and Light Timing effect in tests 3 & 4 :)
    Trip Idle Time (% of trip) 18% 34.8% 29.4% 26.3% 28.6% Much more time idling in metro NYC!
    Trip Idle Time (% of EPA) ---149.5%164.4%132.2%151.7% Our tests had much more idle time than EPA FTP75
    Max Acceleration 3.3 mph/sec sometimes not often yup, darn close gettin' better! not measured in test, subjective values assigned

    Entered into evidence - The technical information for EPA test FTP75, submitted for data verification.


    Entered into evidence - Images of UltraGauge showing the results of Test 2 and Test 3 above.


    Here's a sidebar for all you lurkers, motor-heads, and chronic speeders here in the courtroom, who complain that "Hypermilers are dangerous because they go too slow and hold up traffic", and "Hypermiling wastes my time - I can't hypermile because I will be late for work". Look at that image above - This one's for you! The left side - representing normal driving by "witness" - shows an average trip speed of 14.0, and the right side shows my result of 13.8. Really?! I selfishly obstructed traffic by going .2mph slower? Really?! Oh, wait. I wasted a lot of time with my selfish hypermiling, didn't I? Oops... Run time for both legs is identical, at 19 minutes. Yes, one leg is 0.2 miles longer than the other, but the difference would be a matter of seconds between the two runs. Oh, and here's the punchline for the motor-heads and speeders. Fuel consumed on the trip - 0.28 vs 0.23. While 0.05 gallons doesn't sound like much, multiply it by 56 for the number of trips to/from work/shopping/errands in four weeks and you get 2.8 gallons, or $10 at $3.60 a gallon. So if our trip average mph was about the same, and time was about the same, and brake and drivetrain wear were concurrently reduced, what selfish motivation could remain for burying the pedal and trying to get to that red light a few seconds sooner? Note - The gauge reading on the left, measured during the drive by "witness", was a normal everyday drive in NYC, and his driving was safe, rational, and in every way within the range of NYC drivers. An actual motor-head or speeder driving in this test's environment would be in the 10-12mpg range, or even less. So please note that this sidebar is not describing any of the three test drivers here, but only those reading this text who still feel it is their God-given right to floor the accelerator as often as they want, which would usually be when they forget to take their medication.

    Entered into evidence - The Beast With Seven Horns (or shall we say Six Lanes?) - Northern Boulevard in Queens, an outer Borough of New York City. In each direction, there are three lanes, used for the following purposes: Right - Used for parking. Left - Used as a left turn lane. Even when left turn lanes are available, the left lane is used to place the rear half of the vehicle waiting to turn while its front half is in the left turn lane. Center lane - slaloms between the left turners and the cars leaving parking lots, blinded by the cars parked nose-to-tail in the right lane, nosing out until traffic has to stop so they can enter the road.

    First image of Northern Boulevard - Don't be deceived by the space between the Sonata and the Civic ahead - that's just DWB in action. Look ahead to see the clogged artery upon which we're doing battle. Please note cars parked in the right lane, lest you think we're making this stuff up. What a mess - and it's only Saturday!


    Second image of Northern Boulevard - Another shot of the dreaded NoBo - for those who enjoy studying details of a photo. On the far right is a Focus double parked in the center lane because the right lane is already full of parked cars. To the right of center, under the big tree, is a gold Windstar doing the nose-out inch by inch until he either gets clobbered or can get traffic to stop so he can nudge through the parked cars in the right lane and into the center lane. In the original high-res photo, you'd see that there is a Caravan in the center lane behind him, half in the traffic lane, waiting to get into the lot after the hapless Windstar is able to drive out. Reminder - This is light Saturday afternoon traffic. A weekday drive-time photo would reveal the full fury of congestion at its worst.


    Closing Arguments

    The tests reveal some interesting conclusions. First, the EPA "City" test reflects a utopian city that existed circa 1974. The poor slob on the dynamometer would be eaten alive on any clogged artery in or around New York, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, or any other major city. The EPA City rating has been adjusted twice over the years, and is now accurate for more drivers. But anyone whose commute is less than 5 miles, requiring 20-25 minutes and sometimes more, is not going to see the EPA rating anywhere on the road unless they happen to be glancing at their window sticker.

    Our tests were broken down into four individual segments - The owner driving from a cold start, then the witness driving back home. This provides results for two ordinary/everyday guys in the "defendant" Sonata. The third result is me driving the same car, on the same route, with the handicap of "engine always on, car always in drive", no downshifting for fuel cut (brake pedal only), no use of the ShiftTronic capability, and no Eco mode. It was just me "workin' the crowd" and doing everything I could to avoid having to stop at any of the horrible 35-75 second red lights. The fourth test was again the owner, now receiving some CleanMPG coaching, and responding to the guidance. This final leg resulted in a fuel "gal/hr" of 0.72 versus my 0.70 and his original (albeit "cold start") 1.03 gal/hr. This result indicates that techniques shared at CleanMPG are indeed contagious and anyone who wishes to "catch it" can certainly begin to employ these same proven strategies for the benefit of their wallet, the country, and the planet.

    By simply changing a few parameters in the driving environment, the defendant (still looking resplendent even with an extra 18 miles on the odometer) delivered measured fuel economy within 15% of the EPA estimate. Furthermore, the car was very close to EPA on the last test before reaching the Traffic Light of Doom, so called because it required waiting for two long light cycles in order to move beyond the intersection. The extended wait time, with engine idling, knocked almost 2mpg off the final average. Changing the driving route to avoid this light would likely restore that 15% overall loss and allow the defendant to deliver fuel economy startlingly close to its city EPA rating, even at a chilly 40 degrees.

    The defense rests.

    Jury Deliberation aka Twelve Angry Men

    Since our jury is simply a monochrome image of movie extras and guest stars from the golden age of television, we're not missing much by sending them off into their chambers. Once inside, they will be dreaming about how to spend the $50 a day they will be getting, while perusing the available polystyrene-based luncheon material served in greasy cardboard containers.

    Ok, jury. Heads up. The judge has ordered you back into the courtroom.

    What could it be? The closing statements have been made, and all the evidence has been entered into the record.

    The Verdict

    Ladies and gentlemen, before the jury could deliberate and a verdict could be rendered, the prosecution has moved to withdraw the charges. Having seen the results of the testing, the case has been made that the defendant - a 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS - is cleared on all charges and would indeed be able to deliver its EPA estimated 22mpg, if the test were performed according to the EPA test procedure. The fact that the car approached 90% of EPA on a chilly winter day, driving a commute upon the Road of Perdition aka the Turnpike of Torment aka "Rt 25A", the prosecution has been satisfied that the Sonata is indeed a capable and comfortable commuter car.

    Final statement from the Defense

    The folks at CleanMPG have had their share of experience with the 2011 Sonata and it has continued to impress us with its class-leading style, safety, room, comfort, segment-busting value for the dollar, and of course - outstanding fuel economy potential. One of CleanMPG's earliest encounters with the 2011 Sonata was measuring over 64mpg while driving one 1000 miles on 2/3 of a tank, from central Wisconsin to near the end of Long Island, NY.

    "So, can I go home now, your honor? This gray wool blazer is really itchy."
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  2. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    Celebratory ice creams (or drinks, if you're not driving) for both prosecution and defense, on me. Thanks for the interesting write-up (building evidence for court cases was my career), and congratulations for the win-win outcome. I'd have liked to see 22 mpg, but all of you did well considering the conditions.

    I'm happy to see the defendant, Mr. Hyundai Sonata, cleared of the charges lodged against him, and his reputation restored.
  3. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Way to go, Chris!!! :D Another satisfied consumer and less fuel to be consumed for years to come. :thumbs_up:
  4. FSUspectra

    FSUspectra Practicing true conservatism!

    Excellent! And thank you for the lively commentary and creative delivery! Glad to see that Hyundai didn't make a dud and the owner will be happier once the car gets out of the ball and chain of downtown. ;)
  5. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    I wondered what had happened to this "Case".

    One thing, the owner had suggested that he didn't get anything like HY EPA either ("never got over 20 mpg").
    I didn't really see any numbers in respect to that.You seem to say it did deliver EPA HY.
    What did that car do at 60 mph?? Did I miss that?
    So the owner just has the worlds worst commute?
    What did he get with his previous car??
    PS My 1998 Suburban-cold motor 35 degree temps will deliver about 11 mpg on a 4.9 mile cold engine commute to work- very mild hypermiling. I have roughly that many stops, but average speed is more like 22 mph. So that is actually a much worse commute- I have a short stretch at 45 mph and no crawling at all- just gliding down at redlights/stops and pulsing up between stops to 35 mph or so.EPA is 12 mpg city.

    PS so in respect to his city mpg the ORIGINAL POSTER WAS TELLING THE TRUTH!! He was honest not a lying SOB.
    He just had the WORLD WORST COMMUTE.
    OK case solved, but what did the car get at 60 mph?? A steady 60 mph mpg is a good marker for the vehicles mpg potential. It immediately tells you if the car is GOOD (leaking fuel, poor alignment, slipping trans, bad motor, bad electronic controls, soft tires, dragging brakes, filled roof basket). It removes driving style and driving conditions from of the test.
    PPS 14 MPH VS 13.8 MPH-so mild Hypermiling adds 1.5% to driving time- figure one minute per hour added to get 25% better FE and longer drivetrain life-good trade.Almost certainly safer - not sure how to quantify that.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  6. wick1ert

    wick1ert Well-Known Member

    This is great. Every time I hear someone complain about their MPG compared to the EPA sticker, I need to remember to ask them to provide the difference between their drives as compared to the EPA test. I'm sure I'll get some really odd looks and huffing and puffing from them before they just storm away!

    I'd love to see what some of the folks on here could do on my daily commute. I'm very happy with my 42-45 MPG, even though the car is rated 51/48. Although, on an easy, relaxed 57 mile drive, I once got 62.8 per the car (closer to 58-60 actual based upon known Prius generosity). That was with the factory AVID tires, which were promptly replaced after a year, because they were noisy and didn't seem to handle too well.

    Anyone up for a trip down here to the small blunder...i mean, small wonder?
  7. FSUspectra

    FSUspectra Practicing true conservatism!

    I'd consider it if I were a wee-bit closer... ;)
  8. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Great detail Chris and congratulations on the win! Glad to see the case wrapped up.
  9. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    While the Sonata may be nice, you can't beat a Prius, especially in traffic.

    My last trip to see my sister on Long Island, I got caught in a terrible traffic jam leading up to and crossing the Throgs Neck bridge, and my mileage actually increased.

  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Does the OP accept this?
    Car OK commute horrible?
    Where are you OP?
    Glad to see you were honest- not BS about your city commute ##'s.
    Didn't MAXX-more than once- suggest that these smallish 4 cyls in heavish cars really suffer in city commutes??
    Maybe that is why Toyota went with a 1.8 in the 2010 Prius?? Of course they wer/are planning heavier Prius versions aren't they??
    Great stuff!
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    It's a sextuple win.

    - You've just earned a reputation as an all-round awesome guy. Most excellent work Chris.
    - The owner has been convinced that they haven't bought a lemon. As anybody who has bought a new car knows, it's a lot of money to spend and it must be horrible to think you've wasted it.
    - You have defended the Sonata from something that could have unfairly harmed its reputation. I hope the owner will now be as vociferous in his praise as in his criticism.
    - You have clearly demonstrated that basic urban hypermiling can save dramatic amounts of fuel. Within that you have demonstrated techniques to an individual who will benefit financially from the assistance for the rest of his life. $130 per year on gas alone on short trips (and at current prices, not projected prices) and further savings on maintenance.
    - You have clearly demonstrated that you can apply urban hypermiling techniques without increasing journey time.
    - You have also shown just how poor standard gasoline vehicles are in dense urban traffic and that hybrid and electric technologies can have a much greater impact in urban areas than the EPA ratings might suggest.

    Again, most excellent and unselfish work, Chris.
  12. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Great write up Chris. :)

    I may only have a three mile ride to and from work but it is a nightmare on fuel economy.
    Six traffic lights, six stop signs, one Light Rail crossing, speeds vary between 25 and 35 mph and hills. I understand what the OP was going through and didn't understand his morning drive wasn't normal in any respect to EPA mileage figures.
  13. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    ItsNotAbout is dead on.
    Hybrids really really shine in city driving.
    My wife and son make absolutely no hypermiling effort, but they get 40 mpg with the Prius in pure short trip city driving.
    They got 22 mpg with an AT Corolla, and 12 mpg with a Pilot-same trips same methods - so the Prius practically doubles their FE.

    The only problem with this Hyundai is it isn't a Prius.Granted a Prius is maybe $3000 more and it is a pretty nerdy boring appliance type car.
    Unfortunately for future Prius buyers the great Prius deals will die when gas hits $3.50 or so.
  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    The jump in prices could be unfortunate for buyers of all hybrids. However, at least now there's more competition. In 2008 the Prius had the market to itself. Now, by the time gas reaches $4 nationwide there should be the Insight, Prius, HCH, FFH and HSH*, besides improved ICEVs. Any markup in Prius prices makes the Insight better at the lower end and the more refined mid-size vehicles will seem less expensive. There also the LEAF, Volt, upcoming Focus BEV and a much bigger supply of used 2nd Gen Priuses.

    Besides the point that people in dense urban environment will benefit more from hybrids than they might expect, it also raises the question as to just how well a hybrid would do there. I'd love to see Chris repeat the experiment in the HSH, FFH and Prius.

    * I'm ignoring the TCH. It's getting old and outshone.
  15. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I'm up for the challenge. Hyundai/Ford/Toyota can send an eligible vehicle to their east coast press fleet and I will repeat the same commute (that I should probably nickname The Dyspepsia Challenge). Driving that route every day will definitely give you indigestion.

    I offered to drive my 22mpg-rated Chevy on the same route to see what my car does when driven under the same conditions in the same way, but the owner stated it would not be necessary. He was satisfied with the evidence and agreed that the car is within spec.

    That same owner was encouraged to visit here, start a mileage log to track fuel usage and costs, and freely ask questions as he begins his adventure of improving fuel economy. I hope he takes me (us) up on the offer because there's much to gain and nothing to lose.

    When he said that CleanMPG was the first and only site to respond with an offer to help, I felt a bit of pride. This is indeed the only site that contains such a wealth of information and real world experience, spread over so many individuals who are so willing to freely share with anyone who wants to explore and learn. I am sure that readers here will enjoy this article and remember our mission when new members join the community. Always offer to help, or direct them to members who are able to help. No matter how impressive our tank averages may be, our dedication to reduced fuel usage will be multiplied as we teach and encourage others to do the same.
  16. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Great job, Chris. And kudos to the owner for being so open to the evidence.

    Can you comment, Chris, on your estimate of what the car will give using a few more techniques: higher psi, FAS at long stops, grill blocking, ebh, fuel cut via downshifting, etc?

    Also, which additional techniques would you suggest for that commute? Was the owner going to try some of said techniques?
  17. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    If I lived in the same house and worked at the same place, I would take the train on any clear day. The walk from home to the station is about 5 minutes, then hop off a few stops later and it's maybe 10 minute walk to the work location. Not a drop consumed. But that's me. Most people who purchase a new car will drive it rather than paying train fare while the car sits at home serving as a rest area for passing seagulls.

    I suspect the car would beat 22, even in that traffic, with nothing more than simple FAS. It's not flat towable, so the engine must remain on if the car is moving, but there's no harm in a little key twisting while sitting at the lights. We spent three minutes at one of those traffic lights, and I was watching the average MPG drop like a stone. A little NICE-on would work for some stretches in order to lessen the effect of the smart alternator dragging speed down during off-throttle travel. With the fuel cut parameter properly set, I'd use the SGii to downshift and hunt for DFCO to help get back some of what was lost getting up to speed. The traffic is not only dense but incredibly chaotic. If there is a way to predict what will happen 400 feet down the road, I haven't figured it out yet. DWB is the best ally, but can be foiled by a half dozen other cars ahead that that are apparently on suicide missions. I watched one drive diagonally across the road from right to left, without a signal, and then stop - blocking the two open lanes (with the third already out of commission due to parked cars). In that case, DFCO is the last resort before pressing the brake and throwing away what you built up.

    The subject car is parked outside in a common parking area, away from an available outlet. So a block heater is not likely a practical option.

    I've already had the grille off my Sonata to replace the tricycle horn they install at the factory with some DevilGetOuttaMyWay blasters. It is very easy to remove the grille (once you read the manual) to install some sort of attachment for a grille block. I suspect the car would respond well to it and minimize the losses of warmup.

    The Sonata responds well to changes in tire pressure. I wouldn't say what pressure I would use for starters, but the mathematicians in the crowd can determine an approximation by multiplying pi over two by a number visible when staring at the front door sill on the left side of the car.

    If the Sonata in question were mine, I see no reason why I wouldn't get to 24 or 25 on that same commute at that same level of traffic. Beyond that, I'd DWL and P&G the hell out of it on the highway, taking advantage of the 50 PSL within NYC limits, and boost the tank average by spending a little time on some more open roads. Let me reinforce the original statement that few living outside of a major city have ever seen traffic conditions this Sonata endures on a daily basis. Under these conditions, getting anywhere near EPA takes some skill and absolute concentration.

    The owner was already exploring some of the techniques during the last test, and noted the promising results. I suspect he will continue to experiment to find what works best. He tracks fuel costs and consumption very carefully, so he is already aware of the benefits available. His original frustration was likely due to the change in car - from a Civic to a Sonata - and each of the two respond quite differently to various fuel saving strategies. A few hours on a sunny afternoon revealed some tips to head him in the right direction, and I am confident he will stay with it and improve future tanks averages.
  18. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    I would have to agree with others, the Prius would likely have been a better choice for the OP. I'm loving the fact that although I could get my Elantra into the low 40 MPG for an average, my wife would quickly drop that back to the mid 30's as soon as she touched it. With the Prius she can at least get into the low 50s for most long drives (I don't drive more than 12 miles daily anymore, she has most of the longer drives).
  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Yes you should be proud of how you and other forum members responded.
    No one called him a liar- despite the horrible numbers for someone who said he was trying to get good FE with a car that is well known to deliver good FE.
    I just didn't know what to make of it- kinda figured it was 49/49/2 Horrible commute vs liar vs defective car.
    It was unlikely the car was off spec.

    Yes you did a great job.
    I do seem to remember you have frequently mentioned- other threads-(you or ItsNotAbout???)that small 4 cyls in heavish cars are pretty tricky to get good FE out of in pure urban frequent acceleration situations.
    PS It is a pretty car- looks a bit like a BMW.The Japanese took 40 years to get the styling down- Koreans seem to have done it in 20 years. Japanese styling was OK when they copied the EUROs, but absolutely weird(SCIFI like) when left to their own devices.Japanese are currently copying the EUROS.
  20. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    This is great! I must use this in my next explanation of hypermiling. "Every time you brake to a stop, you're wasting enough energy to destroy the whole front end of your car."

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