I purchased a hybrid car because I wanted better fuel economy. I didn’t think about hybrids and winter driving. How do frigid temperatures affect fuel economy? Should you change your driving habits in the cold?
A hybrid is going to be more affected by cold than a conventional car. This is because a hybrid relies on a storage battery and a generator for part of its power.
Batteries, like humans, are happier in the 60-degree to 85-degree range. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees the chemical process by which a battery stores energy slows. This means that a battery starting up in freezing temperatures will have less available power than it would on a 75-degree day. Therefore, the car uses the engine to power the vehicle, and doing so reduces its overall miles per gallon and range.
Changing your driving style has a clear impact on mileage for both hybrid and conventional vehicles. Smooth driving at posted speed limits will provide the best range and fuel economy. By maintaining relatively consistent speed and avoiding sharp acceleration, you can get the most from your vehicle.