Will cold winter affect a Toyota Prius’ mileage?

Do freezing temps affect the battery?

David L., Ponderay, Idaho

You bet it will, though Toyota says it can’t quantify by how much. Cold weather reduces fuel economy and strains batteries in all vehicles, and the lower the temperature, the greater the impact because it takes longer for the engine and the batteries (especially with hybrids like the Prius) to get up to normal operating temperature.

2011_Prius

One difference you are likely to notice in the Prius is that the engine won’t always shut down when you come to a stop because it has to generate heat to warm the interior. In extreme cold, the time that the Prius operates in electric-only mode while accelerating also will be limited. Because the engine will be operating more often and the Prius’ electric motor less often, gas mileage will decline.

As the EPA has warned for decades, “your mileage will vary” based on different temperatures and traffic conditions and your driving style.

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Answered by Rick Popely on January 13, 2011 | Permalink

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