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Prius newbie: about how many miles can I expect between fill ups?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Fuel Economy' started by camden, Aug 16, 2011.

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  1. camden

    camden New Member

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    Location:
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
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    I have two long drives up and down the east coast coming up in the next 2 weeks: the first one (this week) will be approximately 750 miles on the drive down and 750 miles on the drive back (1500 miles total) and the second one (next week) will be approximately 700 miles on the drive down and 700 miles on the drive back (1400 miles total). This makes for a total of approximately 2,900 miles in the next 2 weeks and since I'm a broke college student I'm trying to make these drives as affordable as possible.

    A relative has agreed to let me temporarily swap my car for his 2008 Prius for the next 2 weeks in order to cut down on the gas costs but since I've never driven a Prius before I'm trying to figure out about how many miles I can go before needing to refuel. The reason for this is that I can get a major discount on gas but only at Citgo stations, so I'm trying to map out the Citgo stations along the route ahead of time so I'll know when and where to stop. However, I don't know how many miles apart I should map them out since I'm not sure how many miles the Prius will go before needing to refuel. If I'm to believe the stats I've found online, the '08 Prius gets roughly 45 miles per gallon and has an 11.9 gallon tank, which would mean I could go 535.5 miles before running empty. But there are several things wrong with that, namely that I know the usable amount is less than 11.9 gallons, that you're not supposed to let it run close to empty, and that the 45 mpg could be higher or lower depending on the driving conditions.

    So what's a realistic number of miles that I can expect to drive with this car before filling up? It'll be highway/turnpike driving the whole way in temperatures ranging between 60 and 95 degrees. I'm not looking to drive until it's empty and I don't need an exact number, just a rough estimate.
    Thanks for any help!
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    If you plan for 400 miles, you will never be too short. And you have to pee by then anyway.
    1 person likes this.
  3. tls1

    tls1 Junior Member

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    I usually try to find fuel at about 400 miles but my 2008 did one tank of 508 miles from Central California to Oregon over the mountains and the low fuel light had not come on yet.
  4. camden

    camden New Member

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    Just figured I'd share the results I recorded for the second of the two trips in the '08 Prius:

    Turns out all that planning ahead and mapping out the various Citgo stations between 375 and 425 miles away from the location of my last fill-up was a waste of time since the Prius didn't get anywhere near the 400 miles I was anticipating between fill-ups. On the second trip I drove a total of 1,425 miles and filled up 4 times, resetting the trip info mileage after each fill up. Here are the results I recorded.

    **Note: on three of them I have the MPG listed twice -- once for what the Prius' "Trip Info" display said and once for what an online mileage calculator said (milesgallon[dot]com)...not sure which of the two is more accurate or why their numbers are different...

    ----

    Fill up #1:
    337.6 miles
    8.805 gallons
    Fuel price: $4.259/gal
    38.3 MPG (online mileage calculator)
    ($0.11/mile)

    Fill up #2:
    343 miles
    8.267 gallons
    Fuel price: $3.799/gal
    41.9 MPG (Prius Info) / 41.5 MPG (online mileage calculator)
    ($0.09/mile)

    Fill up #3:
    340.2 miles
    8.493 gallons
    Fuel price: $3.459
    43.3 MPG (Prius Info) / 40.1 MPG (online mileage calculator)
    ($0.09/mile)

    Fill up #4:
    351.4 miles
    8.716 gallons
    Fuel price: $3.699
    39.6 MPG (Prius Info) / 40.3 MPG (online mileage calculator)
    ($0.09/mile)

    ----

    Now, I'm not sure how much further I could have gotten away with driving before refueling...I never saw a low fuel light come on but the gas gauge went down to "one pip" around 325 miles each time so I tried to refuel ASAP after that since I wasn't sure what would happen once that one last pip ran out (what DOES happen btw?)
    Also, each fill-up was between 8.3 and 8.8 gallons...how close to empty does that mean I was? Could I have safely made it to 400 miles before filling up in any of these cases?

    If the Prius' "Trip Info" display is to be believed, I averaged about 41.6 MPG on this trip. If the online mileage calculator is to be believed, I averaged about 40 MPG. Aren't these fairly sub-par ratings? Although to be fair, this latest trip was from Friday, August 26th to Monday, August 29th and right along the northeast coast, so I was right in the thick of Hurricane Irene and had a ridiculous amount of traffic to deal with, aka idling behind thousands of stopped cars on the freeway for hours, so I'm sure that didn't help matters.

    In any case, it's a lot better than the consistent 22 MPG rating my CR-V gets (about $0.17/mile) so I guess I can't complain too much.
  5. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    After One pip, a bell dings once and that one pip starts blinking. At this point you have between 7 and 70 miles to get gas. Choose wisely.

    If alone in the car my 'goal' is to turn into the station just before the single bell., If my wife is also in the car, my goal is to turn in just as it goes from 2 pips to 1.
  6. xpcman

    xpcman Active Member

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    The Gen II Prius has a rubber bladder in the gas tank. This bladder has a mind of it's own when it comes time to refuel. I don't think I have ever managed 10 gallons.
  7. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    But you are in the Bay Area where a hot day is 75 degrees, I can get 10.5 gallons in the bladder at 100 degrees. It gets more flexible.
  8. pkallaus

    pkallaus Junior Member

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    Plug-in Base
    I am in Hawaii and the most I have ever gotten in was 8.4.
    How fast were you driving? I routinely get over 400 on a tank.
  9. mikewithaprius

    mikewithaprius New Member

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    First, thanks for coming back for the update.

    It sounds like it had to do with the traffic and in particular the weather, especially if you encountered winds, since that is rather low, even for "normal" driving of the car. I would've expected 45 mpg in regular conditions at the least, and with a little bit of restraint, closer to 50. There are ways to get through traffic with a minimal hit, but it takes some practice and getting used to.

    I'm curious...were you mostly going 70 mph or more during the times traffic was moving?
  10. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    i fuel up between 6 and 8 gallons. that's roughly 240 to 320 miles... sometimes i'll push further. i don't push it very often because as you go long distances you get expensive followed by cheap gas... on and on.. sometimes a station is closed and it's the only one for an extra 80 miles or so (happened a few times to me... i was crunching numbers)

    i only get 40mpg or so. with stock tires i not being used to the car... i would expect at least 42mpg...

    btw.. don't ever top off the gas.

    what kind of car do you have? (curious for mpg comparison) if you get 25mpg, it's roughly 200 dollars.. if you get 40mpg it's just over 100 dollars.. depending on prices of fuel.

    you save fuel, emissions, money, and the abuse on your own car...
  11. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    It's hard to say how close to empty it came because you don't know how full the tank got. See/listen to http://priuschat.com/forums/other-cars/94001-gas-gauge-says-full-but-thats-not-quite-true-npr.html. The most I've ever put in was 9.975 gallons. I normally get gas soon at 2 pips get gas NOW if I ever run to down to 1 pip (almost never).

    Any reason why you're using an online mileage calculator and why there's a question of its believability? You can do the manual math yourself.

    As for subpar, given what you describe about horrible traffic and "a idling behind thousands of stopped cars on the freeway for hours", that definitely hurt your mileage and we know nothing about the condition of the borrowed car, what tires it has, alignment, air pressure, oil level, etc.

    I suspect your CR-V would've gotten far below 22 mpg. http://priuschat.com/forums/other-c...eage-no-its-your-gallonage-really-counts.html might help put things in perspective.
  12. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    I'd call that on the lower edge of "normal". If you look at the link below you'll see that the vast majority of owners get somewhere between 40 and 60 MPG. That's quite a range.

    There are many factors that can affect your mileage. Maintenance issues and non LRR replacement tires are a common problems. Wind and rain are also important factors.

    See: http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...l-what-mpg-you-getting-in-your-gen-2-a-8.html
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