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I've been told that in general fuel guages are designed to drop more rapidly as the tank empties -- it's less obvious on a true analog guage than with the pip representation (and I think the Prius one is more nonlinear than most based on my perception). The idea is that if it moves very slowly as you empty, you get lulled into a false sense of security and stop paying attention; a noticeably moving indicator commands more attention.

It takes anywhere from 150-210 miles before the first pip goes away.

First half of tank, each pip is about 30 miles, last half about 50-60 miles per pip.

Even my Saturn pegged above full for quite a few miles.

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Actually, all the fuel gauges in cars are non-linear. They are set up to drop very slowly for the first half of the tank, and then to drop faster for the last half. The auto makers do it this way because a linear guage would drop fast all the time and upset the customer.Astrowoman said:

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Yes, but I do think either the pip representation emphasizes this or the Prius gauge is more nonlinear than average.romad said:Actually, all the fuel gauges in cars are non-linear. They are set up to drop very slowly for the first half of the tank, and then to drop faster for the last half. The auto makers do it this way because a linear guage would drop fast all the time and upset the customer.

I thought the psychology was more to get you to pay attention to the end of the tank then not scare you at the beginning... is this one of those girl/hag optical illusion things?

So how do you account for the Prius gauge, that does the opposite; fast at first (after the initial pip), then slows down?romad said:Actually, all the fuel gauges in cars are non-linear. They are set up to drop very slowly for the first half of the tank, and then to drop faster for the last half. The auto makers do it this way because a linear guage would drop fast all the time and upset the customer.Astrowoman said:

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I haven't noticed that on mine. After the last fillup (22 mpg), it hadn't dropped at all after driving 50+ miles. Since it is my wife's car, I'm not in it everyday.DanMan32 said:So how do you account for the Prius gauge, that does the opposite; fast at first (after the initial pip), then slows down?

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For comparison, my '99 Hyundai Accent (average 35mpg, 10 gallons of usable tank capacity,) acts as follows:

100 miles: needle still beyond the 'F'.

150 miles: needle just at the 'low' end of the full pip.

200 miles: needle at about the 3/4 pip.

250 miles: needle at about 1/3.

300 miles: needle just above the 'E' pip.

350 miles: needle just below the 'E' pip, warning light comes on.

So when I'm halfway through the tank, it still says I'm almost full. In my Prius, it's nonlinear for the first 100 miles, (usually only 1 bar gone, or if I'm having a good tank, it might still say full,) then pretty linear for the rest of the tank.

On that note, today I had the first fillup where both MFD and gas pumped agreed that I got over 50 MPG over the course of the tank. (I've had it where one of the two said I exceeded 50, but not both, before.) The MFD dropped to 49.9 within sight of the gas station, so I EV-mode'd it around the adjacent McDonalds to bump it back up to 50.0. Gas pumped matched MFD calculation spot-on. The gas station attendant filled it one-gas-handle-notch short of full speed, and didn't top off (I'm in Oregon where there is no self serve,) so I'm guessing he either owns a Prius, or fills them up a lot.

First pip off: 180 miles, 180 miles

second pip off: 30 miles, 210 miles.

third pip off: 30 miles 240 miles

fourth pip off: 30 miles 270 miles.

5th pip off: 30 miles, 300 miles

6th pip off: 50 mles, 350 miles

7th pip off: 50 miles, 400 miles

8th pip off: 50 miles, 450 miles

9th pip off: 50 miles, 500 miles

Add Fuel warning, 50 miles, 550 miles.

Car dies: Haven't gotten there, but I have driven 50 miles once. 600 miles.

Actually, the actual divisions are a bit different, I am usually over 300 miles at half a tank, and often get to the add fuel warning close to 600 miles.

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