Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Prospective owner

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Posted by drf on April 18, 2006, 4:30 pm
I am seriously considering buying a Prius and I have a few questions
for you experienced owners. I'll post just one right now:

How far do you go on a tank of gas on the open road? I am thinking of a
road trip where I am driving at 75-80 mph all day. In my present car,
an 02 Saturn V6, I go about 350 miles and fill up when the gauge is at
the one-quarter full mark.

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Posted by Bill on April 18, 2006, 8:33 pm

I'll drive 75-80 mph all day and report back.  Meanwhile, look up the fuel
capacity and EPA highway rating of both vehicles.  Using the ratio of these
ratings (division), the difference between capacities (subtraction) and a
simple multiplication you can figure this out for yourself.

Posted by drf on April 18, 2006, 9:03 pm
 I can do this calculation, and I could even use people's reported fuel
consumption in place of EPA numbers. I am sorry that it is too much
trouble for you to simply say what the fuel capacity of your car is,
and you must live in the east to have no idea of your car's performance
at highway speeds.

Posted by Bill on April 18, 2006, 9:25 pm

I live in Minnesota.  I drive 55 on the highway even when the posted speed
limit is higher.  Fuel economy for all vehicles drops dramatically as speed
increases, which is why I suggested you use a ratio formed from the two
vehicles EPA ratings.  You can find Toyota's specifications at
www.toyota.com.   The Prius sold in the U.S. has a bladder inside the tank.
Experience has taught most Prius owners that capacity varies with the
bladder's flexibility between summer and winter, and seems to be affected by
the fill rate.  I've never been able to squeeze more than 9.5 gallons into
mine even when the fuel gauge was blinking on one bar.  To calculate my
range I use a common "rule of 10's" whereby I multiply the mileage displayed
for the current tank times 10 and fill-up before driving more than the
number of miles indicated by that product.  My current tank has 70 miles on
it and is displaying 54.7 mpg.  Using the rule of 10's, then, I have a range
on this tank of 547 miles.  Of course, if I make a couple dozen 3-mile trips
on this tank by the time I'm close to empty it will be reading around 48 mpg
and I would want to fill at or before 480 miles.  My range, however, is
meaningless to you, as will be the range of other drivers who might respond.
In order to factor-in your own driving characteristics you really need to
use the EPA ratio and tank capacities.

Posted by Michelle Steiner on April 20, 2006, 5:18 am

I did that once and ran out of gas before I could reach the next gas
station.  The mistake I made is that when driving up hill (in this case
the Grapevine on I-5, heading north), the car gets much lower gas
mileage than the average mileage to that point.

Stop Mad Cowboy Disease:  Impeach the son of a Bush.

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