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  1. #61

    Long road trip in a Prius

    Long road trip in a Prius that had about 3k miles of city driving. We drove it another 3k on the highway- besides the issue of it showing a full tank after traveling almost 200 miles, there were no issues, solid the whole way... except for the last 50 miles. We were consistently going to about 400-450 miles between fillups. On the final stretch, we had gone about 450- we were about 2 miles from a gas station, going 65 on the highway. The gas gauge went from two bars to one bar (which I gather from the above means "3 gallons left")... anyway, at one bar, it started blinking, and at the same time, the "check engine", "malfunction", "mean red exclamation point" etc all came on, and here's the fun part- the engine went dead. In the left lane. On I-5. Yeehaw.

    Luckily, we were able to glide over to the shoulder. We waited a bit, and the car restarted, using both the gas and electric. Went to the gas station, and based on how much the car took, the bladder should have had 1.5 gallons in it when the engine shut off. (After reading this forum, however, who knows. Guess Gauge.)

    Explained the problem to the Toyota dealer this week. They're comments- "Yeah, it shows full when it may not be full", and "Fill it up when it gets to two bars, or else risk having it do that again." No fix, no sympathy, no safety concern in their eyes (that they would publicly state for obvious reasons). I think it's a serious issue. If the car goes empty when it's not, or if you're driving in BF, Nowhere and it's 200 miles between fillups, and ESPECIALLY if the car decides to shut off when you're driving down the highway with a gauge telling you that you have gas, but A- maybe you don't, or B- maybe you do, but the engine might shut off anyway.

    It's sad, but I guess there will have to be deaths/lawsuits involved before the cost/benefit of doing a recall or fix is forced upon Toyota. I just hope it's not me doing the dying/suing to prove to Toyota this is worth addressing.

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  3. #62

    Four days ago TJ asked if

    Four days ago TJ asked if the Prius was a good idea for a first car. I am also about to get my first car, and I was wondering the same thing. I've read on here that it doesn't project the correct amount of gas, but shouldn't people just fill up at 1/4 a tank, instead of risking it?

  4. #63

    I have never been able to

    I have never been able to put more than 9 gallons and some into the tank on fill up, but i have been generally running it to empty on the last 3 tanks. Today was my best mpg average at the end of a tank of 56 mpg, and 535 miles, spaced over a 17 day period. That's also a good decent mix of highway and city and kind of hilly country back roads. So now after reading how inaccurate the final blinking bar may be i may stop running it to empty.

  5. #64

    I would recommend people who

    I would recommend people who have the same problem to file a complaint starting at the NHTSA. All it takes is enough votes to get some action taken:


  6. #65

    I agree. Having some

    I agree. Having some understanding of driving the car according to its abilities is the key. Long ago I learned that the car runs as well on the first half of the tank of gas as it does on the last half, so, fill it when it is down to half a tank.
    We bought a 2004 Prius and love it. We go from the Pacific Northwest to Kansas City each year to visit relatives, and it is a great road car. It has not failed to hold the speed limit on the plains (75 MPH speed limit) and over the mountains (unless traffic doesn't permit speed-limit travel).
    Last year we added a 2007 Prius and it is holding up the tradition. No problems or complaints.
    I have noticed that the slope of the drive where I fuel has a lot to do with how the gauge works, how good a fill I get, etc. I drive my wife nuts scoping out the lay of the drives so I get a location with the tank door on the highest point of the car (left rear high, right front low). In Oregon, having moved here from Washington last year, the attendant by law has to do the pumping of gas, so I never know what the technique is going to be. Getting the car positioned the best I can is a big help. Sometimes I have to go against the arrows on the drive, but I figure that is a price I have to pay. People think I am just a fool, but so what.

  7. #66

    If ya'll are this OCD surely

    If ya'll are this OCD surely you know how much monthly you were spending on gas... I was spending about $500/mth.. I'm in sales.. my habits havent changed.. I've been spending around $100/mth now (I've had my Prius for about 5 months) so I'm not real smart.. but I think I'm saving money here.. AND I make it a habit to fill up when I have 3 blocks left.. I do not have time to have such a relationship with my cars bladder.. maybe I will when I retire.. which may come sooner than later since I'm saving so much money

    ENJOY your Prius .. it's a great car !

  8. #67

    Bought my Prius in April 05,

    Bought my Prius in April 05, 68,650 miles to date. I've tracked every drop that has gone into the car. In New England (cold winters) I average 7.9 gal per fillup. Does seem a bit less in the winter, more in the summer. At two bars I fill up. One shouldn't run any car too low, but a pseudo-digital gas gauge seems to produce that behavior in a lot of people. Having always driven small, inexpensive cars that got about 35 mpg I knew I wasn't going to save money with this car, but bought it to have the most advanced drive train on the planet and make a statement about high mileage. By the way in the warm weather I'm staying below 60 mph (right lane, thank you) and getting over 60 mpg of that $4.00 per gallon stuff. Since I bought the car, I've averaged over 50. And it would be a nice car even at 30 mpg, though I would never have bought it were that the case.

  9. #68

    I own a 2004 Prius with

    I own a 2004 Prius with 80,000+ miles. I regularly commute from my home at 8500 feet in the Colorado Rockies to my job in Colorado Springs, a 30 mile one way journey. My Prius gets its best mileage in the daily commute rather than highway trip driving --- up to 54 MPG calculated manually. Miles per gallon have declined as the battery pack ages, but I still attain 50+ MPG tanks although not as consistently as in the past.

    The fuel tank capacity is problematic and the warning light does not come on with "20% left in the tank" as someone claimed. I do not trust the published capacity figures, although I have had 10+ gallon fill ups. Once the light comes on I assume that I have about 10 miles of range left before the tank runs out.

    I have run out of gas, once, on a 480 mile run from Truth or Consequences, NM to my home on a single tank. I gambled and lost. Overall, I have been pleased with the vehicle, but it is not perfect.

  10. #69

    I'm looking forward to the

    I'm looking forward to the day my ordered Prius finally arrives. There does appear to be a difference in mileage from winter to summer, but that seems to be due to the use of the electric heater. If you run the heat in the car at a moderate level, and at a moderate fan speed, then more energy from the battery pack will be used to power the engine rather than the supplemental electric heater. Being the engine doesn't run all the time, it's hard to heat the cabin just from engine heat. That's why you hear an electric motor after you shut the car off. It's pumping the coolant from the engine to a thermal devise to try and keep it warmer for a longer period of time. It pumps it back to the engine when you then re-start your car. I appreciate everyone talking about the bladder, & I intend to fill up at no less than 2-3 bars.

    There are other tricks to help increase mileage in the winter, much like truckers. We've all seen 18 wheelers with the front grill covered. A less obnoxious way would be to fill the grill with insulation foam "Toyota actually recommends this in some publication that I read" to keep the coolant warmer, and therefore less dependant on the supplemental electric heater. In this way, energy from the battery can be used to propel the car increasing your mileage. It's called "Grille Blocking"

    I'd be interested to see if anybody has tried this, and obtained better fuel mileage.

  11. #70

    come on people go friggin

    come on people go friggin figure yr math ya all went to school right if yr little crappy looking prius is getting 420 mp tank on a trip devided by what was it 11.9 gallons it equals 35.29 mpg right not 50 mpg like evry ones stating and if this si the case dont go into montana as if its on them two dinky little bars hahahahah thers no stations way the hell out like 60 miles to the station like californias got one evry city mile and as windy as it gets whenits 105 degress out hot air is very very thick and at speed is windy the car will only muster about 33 mpg i know ive driven it i hated the piece of junk the gas situtaion when out and about in areas like i stated where driving is serious bussiness will leave you not being able to calcualte and you burn and tend to fill up more and when it was like 20 below zero the thing wouldnt start i too rented one twice once in summer and once in winter and it was pure city junk

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