Will I blow my hybrid's great gas mileage if I put a roof rack on top?
July 8, 2011 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Prius or Insight owners with Yakima or Thule roof racks: How much of a hit do you take on your gas mileage just from having the rack on the roof? (i.e. no bikes, skis, or cargo box on top)

About a month ago, I bought a Honda Insight hybrid. I've been loving the mileage I'm getting on my commutes. The car reports about 49 mpg, and the actual mileage I calculate according to the gas pump # of gallons is about 43. Much better than my old Subaru which got about 24 - 25. Thing is, now I want to put a roof rack on the car so that I can carry my bike twice a week. How much of that great new mileage am I going to give up on all the days when I'm not carrying the bike?

posted by takenRoad to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can't say for sure about the Honda, but with a Toyota, you don't lose much. My buddy has one and leaves his roof rack on full time - he says he hasn't noticed a difference.
posted by johnn at 10:56 AM on July 8, 2011

Is carrying it inside an option? I have no rack and it doesn't take me any longer (and perhaps less) to load it that it used to take putting it on the roof. Zero penalty whether you're carrying or not, and the bike is better protected.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2011

I removed my seldom-used roof bike rack and fairing hoping to improve fuel efficiency and didn't see a noticeable increase in mileage, though I wasn't tracking mileage very closely (I'm now using fuelly.com which is pretty cool).
posted by exogenous at 12:06 PM on July 8, 2011

I have a Yakima rack with the optional fairing. I don't notice a difference in mileage with or without the rack. I do notice a little increase in noise from the thing (which was improved a little with the addition of the fairing). I have a Matrix.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:08 PM on July 8, 2011

I don't own a hybrid. But I have not noticed any increased fuel consumption in my vehicle since adding a Yakima box - a big one. We calculated the increased mileage as part of deciding whether to buy and it was negligible.
posted by acoutu at 12:35 AM on July 9, 2011

Thanks, all, for your answers.
One option I'm considering, TruncatedTiller, is buying a folding bike to carry in the back rather an a rack on the roof. Problem is that usual ride is a recumbent, and not many folding options there.
spikeleemajor..., I'll check out a fairing. Thanks.
posted by takenRoad at 12:59 PM on July 9, 2011

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