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I almost ran out of gas!!!

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by ski.dive, May 10, 2010.

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  1. ski.dive

    ski.dive Member

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    Yesterday i was in the interstate when i noticed i was on my last bar of fuel.

    ***how much gas do i have left on my last bar?
  2. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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    Usually quite a bit...the last bar will start flashing and a "Low Fuel" indicator will light when you get really low...you should fuel ASAP when that happens.

    Depending upon how you drive, on the last bar you should have at least 50 miles or so of fuel.
  3. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Somewhere between 15 miles and 100 miles? I would get gas, before it starts blinking.
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Short answer: You don't know.

    Working answer: About a gallon or two, but don't bet your life on it.

    Long answer: The NA Gen II Prius has a flexible bladder in the fuel tank. This bladder causes some variability in the tank volume, so it makes it very difficult to successfully predict how much fuel will go into a Gen II Prius, and how much fuel remains. Add that to the normal less-than-stellar accuracy of automotive fuel gauges, and all you are left with is a guess.

    I fill up at two bars if I can. If the last bar starts blinking, get gas right now.

    Tom
  5. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Well, ASAP!!!!
  6. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    Your info shows a 2010. When my 2010 last fuel bar flashes, I have never put in more than 9 gallons. The owner's manual says that the fuel tank is 11.9 gallons. That should leave about 2 gallons.
  7. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Good point, although the OP did post this in the Gen II forum.

    Okay OP, which is it? Gen II or Gen III?

    Tom
  8. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    according to my fuel consumption, my flashing pip means there is exactly a gallon in ther e if not less at times.

    we've heard of people running out really shortly after the flashing light.. and others cruising out another 60+ miles.

    i've been able to add over 10 gallons at the flashing pip. sometimes it doesn't come on till i estimate i only have 20 or so miles (calculated) before i get into what i would call the "nobody knows" zone... the pip flashes and for all i know i could basically be out of gas. my gas mileage isn't that high currently.. sometimes i feel like i run it down to a half a gallon.
  9. ski.dive

    ski.dive Member

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    *we own 2 prius a 2008 & 2010 :)

    **i requested the info for the 2008.
  10. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Good! You posted in the correct forum, which means my answer stands as posted.

    Tom
  11. ystasino

    ystasino Active Member

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    The indicator is extremely unreliable and compared to the high tech efforts of Toyota on the Prius II in general reminiscent of the very first beetle of more than 40 years back that did not have a gas gauge, but an auxiliary tank.

    You need to refuel before the pip starts flashing. If you want to guess you have to be able to predict your mpg, have a good knowledge of the terrain and how much gas you injected last time you refueled compared to your MFD mpg (if reset).

    If you run out and make it to the gas station on the battery you need to refuel more than 3 gallons, otherwise your Prius dashboard will likely get lit as a Christmas tree because it won't recognize anything less as fuel.

    It's kind of mental!
  12. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    I have my taxi drivers set the trip odometer to 0 and watch how many km they travel after the beep and flashing bar. If they are real busy they want to gas up when convenient. One of the drivers forgot about the gas gauge being on flash and he remembered when the car had traveled 80km in the city after the beep. Lucky we didn't run out of fuel.
  13. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Hi Lucky. Do you have the same fuel bladders as per the US model up there in Canada?

    Here in Australia we don't have the tank bladders and it seems to make the fuel gauge more reliable. I can run it down to a flashing pip and still be confident of having a few liters remaining. I don't make a habit of it, but several times I've gone 25 to 30 km on the flashing pip and still done a complete fill of around 43L.
  14. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    There's a reason why we call it the guess gauge here. ;)
  15. theegg

    theegg New Member

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    I will have to admit that I did run out of gas. The last "pip" on the gauge had been flashing for about 7 miles (which is far less than I have managed before with the gauge flashing) and I was on my way to get gas when I began to notice a loss in power. Then all the lights on the dash came on. Fortunately, I was not on a busy road and was able to pull into a parking lot. I have yet to live that down!
    So, word to the wise...once your gauge is at 2 pips, you need to get gas. If you are down to one pip, go to the pump, go directly to the pump, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
    And another hint, make sure the friend you call for help has at least a 2 gallon gas can. So, you know that you will make it to the gas station with no problem!
    Cwerdna, never heard it called "guess gauge", but I would concur!
  16. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    Yeah, we have the bladders here in Canada, too.
  17. ski.dive

    ski.dive Member

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    ++++I WAS NOT LOOKING AT MY GAUGES, WHEN I LOOKED :eek:, I ONLY HAD ONE BAR LEFT.
    NEXT EXIT ON THE TURNPIKE WAS 15 MILES AWAY, I MADE IT TO THE EXIT AND FILLED IT UP WITH 10.4 GALLONS!!!
    I GOT LUCKY!!!:cheer2:
  18. Dandan

    Dandan New Member

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    Hi there..first posting and I see the answer is done. Just yesterday my bar began the flash. It was less than a block to a gas station and only 15 miles to work but with a good job who wants to risk it? I pumped in 8.86 gallons about one minute after the flashing bar began. I guess it would depend on where you drive (uphill, downhill) and how fast you drive as to how far you could go before you ran out of gas...I probably would have made it to work.....
  19. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    get gas at whatever interval u needto maintaIN your comfort level; itssimply not worth the stress to do anything else.

    as for me; i stopped looking at it in order to reduce my stress. reason why is that i go over 100 miles after the blinking starts before refilling in most cases. i dont know what it is about that blinking bar...often i wonder if i dont have some special strain of epilepsy that is triggered by blinking "green" light instead of a blinking red one.

    FYI; on my 2004, i had CANVIEW and the bar would start to blink religiously at 12½% full more or less. if its a 12 gallon tank, that would imply u had 1½ gallons left.
  20. fdf

    fdf New Member

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    Yesterday, for the first time in my life I did run out of gas!
    The circumstances may be interesting, so I'm posting info here, especially relating it to previous postings in this thread.

    I passed a town where I could have gotten gas, but I had two bars showing so I decided to wait til the next town, 41 miles ahead. My thinking was along the lines of efusco's, who wrote:



    Indeed, in the well over 3 years I've had my 2007, I've come to think of each bar as equating to about a gallon, or 50 miles.

    jdcollins wrote,


    And my experience has been similar. Of the maybe 3 times I've been driving in city areas, with gas stations on nearly every block, when I've seen the last bar flash, I've filled up within a mile or two, and calculated less than two gallons remaining, but definitely more than one gallon remaining.

    That reinforced my thinking that each bar of the gauge represented about 1 gallon, plus 1 final gallon, or even 1.9 gallons to spare ( 10 * 1 + 1.9 = 11.9).

    At 30 miles out of where I planned to get fuel, the second to last bar went out. I thought I'd be fine to make it another 30 miles, with the calculated gallon plus, to spare. I had the cruise control set at 71, which I believe to be an actual speed of 70, on a road with a 75 mph posted speed, as I had been driving for roughly half of that tank that day (the other half slower, or suburban driving, previous days.)

    I was startled to see the last bar start flashing only 13 miles later, still 17 miles away from gas. After about 10 miles more the master alarm lit up and I saw I was driving on battery, continuing from only a standard steady state running charge of 50%. I shut off the air conditioning, to save a bit of electric power, but in something like a mile, I coasted to a stop, electric propulsion having quit with one bar of high voltage battery showing, preserving that power to restart the ICE, I suppose. It turned out I was 6 miles away from a gas station, but I was then somewhat unclear about exactly how far away the nearest exit was.

    At that point, I had travelled exactly 500 miles since my last fill-up and my MPG indicator was showing 49.4 MPG. I the first year I had the car, I observed the MPG indicator did vary, sometimes above, sometimes below the fill-up calculated mileage, but not greatly. If I had a complete fill, 500 / 11.9 = 42.02 MPG. If the indicated MPG was correct, my last fill would have been 500 / 49.4 = only 10.12 Gallons, not something I would have expected, except in the coldest of weather.

    After grabbing the two, one gallon gas cans I put in the back cargo area near the spar tire, I bought to fit in there when the car was new, I woke up my sleeping 4 year old. Along with my 6 year old, we began to walk forward along the side of the highway. There was a sign ahead that was too far away to read. I wanted to see if it said "next exit" and how far. Then I would decide whether to keep walking, phone my wife, friends, or 911. It was 102 degrees, no shade, and with young children, potentially a real emergency.

    Within a minute or two a car pulled up ahead of us, and the young woman driving offered to take us to get gas. She may have been a college student, though I'm getting old, so everyone looks young to me now. She said that she'd had a flat tire a while ago and waited 4 hours for someone to help her.

    ystasino wrote:


    I've also read about this problem.
    After filling up the two, one gallon plastic containers as full as possible, 2.141 gallons, according to my receipt, I said to the woman driving us that the only thing I was concerned about was that some new high-tech cars need several gallons of gas to re-start, once they run dry. She kindly said she'd take us back for more, if needed. I offered her a fill-up, but her tank was pretty full, so ultimately I insisted she take $10 as a thank you. For whatever it's worth, pouring in the 2 gallons, with very little spillage, my car did start, and immediately began charging the high voltage batteries. Driving ahead to the gas station, until I filled up with 9.620 gallons, 506 miles from my last fill-up, the last bar was blinking. Maybe 1 gallon wouldn't have been enough, but luckily I didn't need three.

    My fill was therefore, 2.141 + 9.620 = 11.761 gallons. The 6 driven miles would have consumed about a pint, 0.125 gallons, and I'm sure I didn't get quite all of the 2.141 gallons into the tank.

    There's either one inaccuracy here, of perhaps several. I have to assume my previous fill-up was about one and a half gallons short of capacity, even though it was a warm day. And, since I always see 10 bars, even on a winter fill-up, maybe it's not a one bar per gallon. Or, maybe the extra one and a half gallons is all above the other 10 gallons, and none below, though that contradicts the measured fill-up when flashing logic.
    2 people like this.
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