The ICE in the Prius is basically the same as in the 2001 Echo I drove before I got my 2004 Prius. It is one tough little engine and noted world-wide for reliability. I used Mobil 1 5w-30 with a 7500 mi change interval and was amazed at how clean the used oil was in comparison to what used to come out of my Dodge truck. Since Toyota calls for 5000 mi. changes in the Prius, that's what should be done, at least until the warranty period has passed, then it's your call. As far as the use of synthetic oil - I have used Mobil 1 for many years. It is definitely the best oil available OTC. It keeps engines very clean and helps to improve fuel economy. I think most people here are interested in getting the most out of their Prius and a few extra dollars to provide the best ICE protection available won't bust anyone's budget in the long run. I do all of my own oil changes so I am putting the money saved from the oil-change place into better oil and longer life for my car.