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since you do not have any warning lights yet, it sounds like classic "Big Hand Syndrome" (like a big hand comes down, holding your car back). Is it basically your have your foot on the accelerator pedal going a set speed, and suddenly you loose speed a bit so you have to temporarily push harder on the accelerator to maintain speed?

When it gets bad enough to leave a check engine light, my guess is that you'll have the error code P1120.

Have your dealer look into TSB EG018-02 when that occurs.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... 018-02.pdf
Sept. 12, 2003, Master, Hybrid & M.I.L. "ON" P1120, 2001-2002 Prius. (symptom: low engine power output (similar to big hand syndrome). fix: replace accelerator pedal assembly.)

Unfortunately, it's only covered by the basic warranty (3 years/36,000 miles), or the extended warranty if you bought it.

I think some people had it fixed by replacing the ECM, but don't quote me on what exact computer was replaced... (ECM is under the emissions warranty.)
 
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