I'm on my 3rd tank and know I only put in 7 or 8 gallons when I go to the gas pump as soon as the fuel indicator starts blinking. I've heard others on here mention not going right away. How far have others out there gone?
04 white #6
Most of the reports I have seen suggested one to two gallons remained after the bar starts to blink. The one constant seems to be that every car is different. Total capacity is different, how much can be added after the pump clicks off is different, and the reserve amount is different, from one car to another. Most seem to think that there is one gallon remaining, but yours could be less.
Play it cautious, or take your chances. On a full battery you can probably go a mile or a mile and a half, at low speed, on a level road.
The one time I ran out of gas, it was only 4 miles after the last bar started blinking. I've also read of people who only refill the tank when they've consumed 10 gallons of gas since the last fill-up, even if the last bar has been blinking for the last 100 miles. (If you reset the trip mileage when you fill up, you have used 10 gallons of gas when the mileage is 1/10th of the distance, e.g. 48.2 mpg and 482 mi.)
If you run out of gas, you will be able to run in battery-only mode for a few miles (probably less than 5 miles, depending on your battery's state of charge at the time you run out of gas). That might get you to a close gas station, and it probably won't hurt the car, but if you try to go too far, you run the risk of a deep discharge of the (expensive) main battery, which shortens its life span.
The conclusion is that the flexible bladder in the Prius (which is sensitive to temperature and maybe also air pressure) makes it impossible to know exactly how much gas is left in your tank at any particular time. So, there's no point in measuring mileage on a per-tank basis, and there's no point in trying to maximize your miles-traveled-per-tank-of-gas. (It can become a game to try to go a little farther on this tank of gas than last time.)
I recommend filling up whenever you get down to 2 bars, and just work on maximizing your trip mileage for fun.
> I recommend filling up whenever you get down to 2 bars, and just work on maximizing your trip mileage for fun.
That suggestion is fine for the CLASSIC model. For the 2004, it is not.
The gauge works differently with the 2004. It is designed to trigger for the 9-gallon non-emergency capacity. So you actually can safely wait for the blinking. In fact, it is an indicator of when to fill up not a warning.
The last 2 times I've driven to blink, I went 20 miles beyond it. Both times, the fill took a little over 9 gallons. The gauge in my 2004 is dead on.
Also keep in mind that the bladder itself needs break-in. It may not be as flexible at first. So give it some time before drawing a conclusion about what the gauge detects.
My (unintentional) out of gas experience came on the first tank, I was on 2 bars, then one, and then blinking began but I was in a hurry to keep an appointment 15 miles away. After meeting my friend, I was going to follow him home (another 16 miles), but after 5 the ICE died and all the dreaded warnings lit up (very impressive)
I used the BT phone to alert my friend and we immediately exited the freeway and made it to a station about a mile away, no troubles there. But I was quite surprised when the receipt showed 12.676 gallons had been put into the car. Even though I let the automatic shutoff stop the fill, there was a little burp of spilled fuel - but certainly nothing near 0.8 gallons (more like a tablespoon). I think the pump may have been less than honest about the amount and this is annoying considering the cost these days... ODO at fillup was 441 miles and the displayed average mileage was 44.1 so I'm guessing the dealer filled it to ~10 gallons. After driving another 100 miles, all 10 bars are still lit on the fuel gauge.
My experience seems quite different from most of the postings I have read here (concerning fuel tank capacity). I will keep a closer watch on this and look forward to comparing with other's experiences.
On a more general note, I decided to buy my Prius without ever having been in one (any model). The first time I actually sat in one was the day the dealer called to say they had a car available for me. So far I'm loving the car and the way it performs. I am well on my way to being another very enthusiastic owner
Your results may vary. I live in Texas so my temperatures at the time of fill-up are in the 70s. All of my tanks so far have been within a vfraction of the computer calculated MPG. My current tank is averaging 53.7 MPG. My last fill-up was 10.5 gallons. 10.5x53.7=563.85. I will fill up at around 550 miles. I am currently at 525 miles. My add fuel indicator started flashing at 440 miles. I am confident that I could go 600 miles on this tank and I just may wait that long but probably not. BTW, this weekend I adjusted my driving strategies and I'm seeing marked improvement. My new approach is to avoid allowing the Ice to charge the battery. This means avoiding in-out flows to the battery when accelerating and coasting, when possible, and maximizing regen braking recovery by applying light braking pressure when coasting to a stop, rather than just foot-off coasting. I will try to get near 60 MPG on my next tank.
Regards to all who have helped,
I filled up on the way home. I had 555 miles on the tank. I put in 10.7 gallons. I had gone 115 miles after the add fuel warning. Next tank I will fill up after 600 miles. I'm guessing that will be after about 150 miles beyond the add fuel message. Have I said yet how much I love this car?
I think we went about 7 miles after the light started blinking on our '02 before all the scary "shut down the car now!" warnings came on. Then we walked the two miles or so to the nearest gas station, in 100+ degree heat. The wife was not impressed. :shock: