Refueling Advice Requested

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by cybele, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. cybele

    cybele New Member

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    Here's my question at the moment:

    I'm getting 50.4 miles per gallon on this tank. I've gone 352 miles.

    On my last fill-up I put in 8.7 gallons.

    The last light started blinking last night at about 340 miles.

    By my calculation, I should be able to go (if current mileage holds) another 85 miles or so. (And that doesn't include whatever gas was in the tank from the last refuel.)

    I have to go to my class tonight, which is 31 miles away. Should I refill first? Wait till after class or wait until tomorrow morning (meaning a full 62 miles later) or should I really push it and wait until I use up all the gas I know I put in it.

    My usual practice is to refuel 50 miles or so past the blinking bar. But the blinky bar came on rather early for me (drat!). Most tanks I'm getting about 400 miles at 49 or so MPG.

    I usually don't get too worked up over refueling, but I'd hate to be stuck on the 110 at drive time if this doesn't go well tonight.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    Which section of the 110? North or south of downtown?

    Seriously, what do you value more, your personal safety or the convenience of fueling the car up tomorrow morning.

    For someone who is intimately involved in the criminal justice system of Los Angeles County, it is a no brainer.
     
  3. jamarimutt

    jamarimutt New Member

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    Run out of gas, Prius records incident and reveals it to Toyota when he plugs in a scanner, tech manager refuses to honor warranty.
     
  4. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Keep the car topped off.

    There are enough scary criminals in the United States and Canada that running out of gas is like taking your life in your own hands. It's like waving a giant flag "mug me!"

    By keeping my vehicles topped off, I can pick and chose what I feel is the safest time to refuel.
     
  5. Robert Taylor

    Robert Taylor New Member

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    "By keeping my vehicles topped off, I can pick and chose what I feel is the safest time to refuel."

    Absolutely right.

    Condition Orange: Aware and alert to surroundings and potential threats

    Condition White: unaware of surroundings and potential threats. A person is in condition White when asleep.

    Society teaches people to be in Conditon White while awake, to deny the existence of the threats to personal safety that exist. Retrain yourself to the human condition that has and does exist. Threats exist, and you must spot them. Aware and alert victims are not typically attacked. It is easier to stalk the unwary, to take them unknowing that the attack is coming.

    Given all of the above, why would anyone want to refuel at night or in places where the observation of typical conditions has not taken place yet? The manual says refill at a quarter tank. Half would be better, but in no case put yourself into a positon of needing to refuel at night.
     
  6. cybele

    cybele New Member

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    Wow, I was just asking for advice on my math. This has turned out most depressing.

    I refuse to "top off" my vehicle, as I bought it to reduce evaporative and refuelling emissions. But I will stop tonight before I get on the freeway to be safe - I wouldn't want Toyota breathing down my neck because the car mysteriously couldn't go as far as the amount of gas I put in it last time.

    As for being paranoid about muggers, I've never run out of gas, so I don't know about that, but I have gotten gas in the dark before in many neighborhoods other would consider "dodgy" without incident. I certainly wouldn't care to live the rest of my life with that sort of poor attitude about my neighbors.
     
  7. Frank Hudon

    Frank Hudon Senior Member

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    Jeeze Cybele the light is blinking fill the thing. This isn't topping it off this is filling the car. It's not a test to see just how far each tank can go. It's about having a reliable mode of transportation for any given situation.
     
  8. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I stand by my original comment. This has nothing to do with evaporative emissions (You generate far more evap's refilling a bone-dry tank than a full one), whether the gas line will freeze in winter (Not a problem your way, I take it? A family near Winnipeg was stranded 5 hours during a blizzard when their line froze at -39), or how far the car will go when Mr Blinky turns on.

    Thanks to a handful of do-gooders, our "justice" system has awarded far more rights to criminals than their victims. This is especially true here in Canada, where you cannot even legally defend yourself in the event of a home invasion. Or the case of an RCMP officer who was recently charged with manslaughter as he shot a prisoner who tried to get his gun off the holster.

    I like to pick out gas bars in busy areas, with a known low incidence of robbery, in the middle of the day, and preferably when nobody else is around. I give the area a careful once over and quickly zip in to refuel.

    While refueling, I keep careful watch for anything suspicious. Refueling from 1/2 or 3/4 is usually done in under 20 to 30 secs, so I quickly pay and leave.

    In an "ideal" world, I would never have to worry about locking my door, and I could leave the keys in the car. BTW: despite the nonsense Michael Moore tried to put across about how safe Canada is, I don't know of anybody here who leaves their door unlocked. You'd be asking for it.
     
  9. rflagg

    rflagg Member

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    Cybele, let me make you feel better - doing the simple math you're doing to estimate how much further I could go (regardless of when the blinking light goes off), I've never run out of gas. Go for it and if it runs out, is it really that hard and scary to call your insurance company for a fillup? Geeze, people are too afraid to do anything anymore.

    -m.
     
  10. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    The fact of the matter is that the 110 bisects some of the most crime ridden neighborhoods of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

    I would not risk running out of gas on that freeway between the 10 and the 405.

    I have seen too many crime statistics.
     
  11. pshady

    pshady New Member

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    The advertised fuel capacity is somewhere north of 11 gallons, yet I always get the blinking light and the most I've ever re-fueled is 9.7 gallons.

    I guess I need to stretch my bladder.
     
  12. hbolter

    hbolter New Member

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    If I might interject here...I think there can be a happy medium between the perception that the world is filled with criminals and everywhere is dangerous, and the perception that almost everyone is basically good and almost nowhere is dangerous.

    I used to work in Crime Prevention for a law enforcement agency, and we always promoted being aware of your surroundings at all times, and not taking unnecessary chances. That being said, we were also careful to point out that being aware and careful is NOT being filled with fear and suspicion every waking moment. You can be aware of crime, careful with your choices and still lead a happy, productive life, free of fear.

    SO...in my car (which is not a Prius--yet), I try to never let the fuel gauge drop below 1/4 of a tank and I try to fill up at gas stations with which I am familiar and comfortable (not to mention that my favored stations are ones with lower gas prices!). If I have to go to an unknown gas station, so be it. I am always aware of my surroundings, and if I don't like the looks of one station, I find another. I don't feel that I either A) live in constant fear, or B) take silly chances with my personal safety.

    Just my two cents...

    Harrison
     
  13. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    Cybele,
    If you are conservative and assume the computer MPG and the pump to both be high by 10%, you should get minimally 355 miles from the 8.7 you put in last time and can go over 500 miles on the tank.

    The potential flaw in the calculation is that you don't know how much gas was in the tank when you last drove away from a pump. You put in 8.7 gallons but that doesn't NOT mean there were 3.2 left in the tank. The only way to KNOW how much is in there is to drain it and put in 11.9 gallons.

    Is your car in the "fuel tank/filler neck" problem range? If it really was at least close to full after you added 8.7 and you are getting 50+, I'm very surprised you got '1 bar blinking' at 340 miles. The best tank I ever had was just over 49 MPG and 1 bar blinking happened at 493 miles.
     
  14. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    Blinking doesn't mean imminent empty, there is a separate warning for that. :) My prior vehicle had a little gas pump icon that would light up at about 3 gallons shy of empty. Those 3 gallons would get me 60 or so miles. It had relatively constant MPG - 20 winter, 22 summer, for my regular driving.

    The difference between it and the Prius is that the Prius MPG is much more variable, dependant on the temps, trip terrain and how many trips. Since the number of gallons I get in after '1 bar blinking' is variable, I assume it means 'X miles to empty' based on current tank MPG, not 'Y gallons left in the tank'. I just don't know what X is. Like you, 9.7 is the MOST I have ever gotten in after 1 bar blinking (I don't push to find max miles after). If X is 100 miles, then the # gallons I can put in would be 9.9 at 50 MPG but 8.8 at my current 32 MPG. Since people have reported running out of gas well before 100 miles past '1 bar blinking' either my guess is way off or they weren't that close to 11.9 gallons when they last filled up.
     
  15. jimofdg

    jimofdg New Member

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    I agree with those who say you made too much of their use of the phrase "topping off." Pushing to get more fuel in the tank is not what we recommend.

    Given that you are very concerned about evaporative emissions, the choice should be easy. Fill up (in the normal way) in the evening (which is after 7 PM local time) rather than earlier in the day, to minimize solar activity (hence smog production) on your "fumes," if any.
     
  16. cybele

    cybele New Member

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    I was responding to the one specific comment at the time which advocated refilling at the halfway mark, which is "topping off." I'm not arguing that refilling when the blinky light comes on is not a good idea.

    What I was detailing was an anomaly in my current tank. My car was telling me to refuel rather early - I was getting my best mileage since I bought the car, yet it was telling me I was nearly empty when as far as I could tell I had nearly two gallons left (from what I put in ... that doesn't include whatever was in there from before, as Bruce mentions).

    My general attitude towards my Prius is not to drive any further than I've put in fuel ... that's why I only mentioned that I'd put in 8.7 gallons - I filled it until the pump clicked off, but I'll never know if there were close to 11.9 gallons in there. I've never put more than 9 in there, and even if I split the difference with what "should" be in there to what space the bladder may be taking up, there "should" still be at least 3 gallons in there. At my current mileage that's a range of 150 miles.

    Thanks Jim, that's a great tip. I usually refuel in the morning on my way to work (that's the coolest part of the day around here - lately in the low fifties whereas the evenings on the drive home is usually in the seventies).

    Also, perhaps you know, Jim, I though that the bladder eliminated the evaporative emissions issue with a "bone dry" tank because the bladder collapses around the remaining fuel. Should there be any difference in evaporative/refuelling emissions with a bladder depending on how much remains in the tank?

    My car is in the range of those with the fuel tank/filler neck problem. I was planning on dealing with that when I need an oil change again (I'm only at 8K miles right now) and also taking care of the brake light recall while I'm at it.

    For the record, when I filled on Tuesday night, I put in 7.2 gallons - within .15 gallons of what the screen told me I'd used.
     
  17. Don-RI

    Don-RI Member

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    New problem - anyone experience this? Though I did a fill up --- all the way to the click... and even a wee bit more to round off the cents --- the squares did not go all the way to the right... It did not register as full, the final right most square light off, as if I was still down one square from full.

    This happened the last 2 of out 3 fillups at same gas station, same pump, but cold weather. (one problem, then fine, then problem again this AM) Fill speed was moderate, not fast but not trickle in either.

    Is the cold 2 to 10 oF keeping the bladder from accepting a full tank? Or is it full and it's a display problem. Any thoughts?
     
  18. Robert Taylor

    Robert Taylor New Member

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    I quit trying to sqeeze in the last drop or round anything several years ago when the occasional tablespoon of fuel came out. That is just environmentally incorrect, it causes needless fumes and the stuff just evaporates. Does not do the paint one bit of good either.
     
  19. Don-RI

    Don-RI Member

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    I agree. I am certainly not overfilling... just wanted to make the point that the tank did click off... and put a penny or two more in... but the display still shows one square down...

    Wondering if it's the weather, or something to worry about -- meaning I'll have to get the TSB done.... which I thought I read can cause problems too.
     
  20. 8AA

    8AA Member

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    Don-RI,
    Have you tried a different station? It's possible that the nozzles at the one you're using are too sensitive. I don't try to add more gas after the nozzle clicks off, and my car consistently shows all bars after the fillup.
     
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