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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read this in the "Pruis Users Guide" I picked up on this website: http://john1701a.com/prius/prius-userguide.htm.

"When there is less than half a tank of gas remaining, the gas gauge is less accurate due to the flexible nature of the bladder within. A helpful measurement alternative is to base refill timing on the mileage you drive. Just reset one of the three odometers (A, B, or the one on the multi-display) every time you fill the tank.

450 miles (725 km) in the summer and 400 miles (644 km) in the winter is a good distance to start with. You'll quickly figure out what works well for your particular needs."

Here is my question: I am on my first tank of gas, and am down to 1 little square on my gas guage, but I have only driven 397 miles. Where does this 450 come from? I'm not even close. I plan on hitting a gas station before heading home (18 mile commute), but I keep reading about issues these cars have with filling up - pump shutting off before half full, etc. Can I get some guidance here?

Thanks.
 

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Don't you always feel fine everytime you have a full tank of gas regardless of the car you are driving? It doesn't cost a penny more to fill up on Monday than it does on Thursday so any time you see more than two or three hundred miles on the odometer and it's convenient, pull in for gas and get that "good" feeling. You'll never be faced with an emergency trip and the thought that you will have to stop for gas cause the guage reads low.
Just because you bought a Prius is no reason to ever drive with a low tank of gas.
 

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Don't pay too much attention to distance-based schemes for deciding when to get gas. There's no way to accurately know how much gas is left in the tank, and, unless you can drive with absurd consistency, no way to know how many MPGs you will get while burning that gas. The one sure thing is that when the last pip on the gauge starts to flash it means that you're getting near the bottom and should buy gas soon. I fill it at two pips or so, to reduce the chance of surprises about how far it might be to the next gas station.
 

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a potential 700 club member?

Or if you're a thrill seeker who likes the occasional adrenaline rush, there is nothing like driving around with that last pip blinking and the nearest gas station is miles away.

I think my pulse just went up a few beats per minute thinking about it!
 

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On your first tank of gas I'd just fill up now. With time you'll get a better sense of how much fuel you can add based upon the fuel guage level.

As you're already familiar with John's site you'll notice that he also likes to tout his "MPG x9" rule of thumb. That's a pretty conservative way of deciding when to fill, but reasonable. In other words, look at your current tank MPG and multiply that times 9...you can drive that many miles before you should feel compelled to fill the tank (assuming a full tank at the last fill up).

I rarely fill before the last bar starts blinking and do not like to go more than 40 miles or so after it starts blinking as there have been horror stories reported of running out of gas moments after the last bar started blinking.

But, like I said, either use John's x9 rule, or just fill before the last bar starts blinking until you become more familiar with the characteristics of your car.

FWIW, a lot of us prefer to try to use not only the same gas station, but the same pump at that station whenever possible. Different pumps can allow you to put in more or less gas due to the way the bladder affects the automatic cut-off of the fuel flow from the pump. Using the same pump might not fill the tank as far as another pump would, but it gives some reassuring predictibility to the process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your responses. One thing that was mentioned to me today by another Prius owner in my office is that even though I had 10 pips when I got the car (exactly a week ago today), it doesn't mean the dealership filled it all the way up, so this first tank doesn't count. Let's see what this next tank brings in the way of mpg, miles per tank, etc. Whatever it is, it is certainly less than my 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan, which, BTW, is for sale on Craigslist-Raleigh.

Thanks,
Betsy
 

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Although I have been guilty of stretching the limits a time or two, (search for "700 Club" here) I usually like to fill up when it is convenient, rather than running close to empty and worrying about running out or finding the time to get gas. One difference I have found between my previous Prius and my new one is that the amount of fuel left when the last pip shows can vary significantly. My '06 is VERY LOW on fuel at that point, whereas the '04 had at least two gallons remaining when the last pip showed.
The Prius is no different from your previous car when it comes to the inconvenience of running out of gas, and it is not good for it to try to run on the battery only.
Another factor here is that you don't know how "full" the tank was when you took delivery. The guage could indicate a full tank with only ten to eleven gallons, for instance. When you have filled it yourself, you will know the amount of gas you can count on being in the tank. If you manually reset the average, assuming you have an '06 model, you'll have an idea how far you can go, as in the "MPG X 9" example.
 

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I have to agree about the uncertainty of how full the tank was. That first pip can have a range of at least 3 gallons. So if you filled it completly up, and used 3 gallons, you'd still have all 10 pips.
 

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quagmire0 said:
So I take it that the battery cannot sustain running the car when the engine runs out of gas? Or is it that these people have run out of gas and then the battery drains? :?:
Battery gets you to the side of the road. Maybe. It's not an electric car.
 

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I filled up Sunday afternoon. Last I looked (which was a few tens of miles) I still had all 10 pips, so no problems anticipated. Besides, it doesn't look like it will be a hurricane.
 

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Roger V said:
DanMan, you have a pretty good story about just this situation, as I recall. Care to discuss it once again?
By 'this' what are you referring to. When I ran out of gas last year? I didn't run the battery down, but had to call for a fillup since I was 3 miles to the next gas station. If the station I was near had finished being built that was about a mile away, I might have made it there, if I had remembered to turn off the AC.
 

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quagmire0 said:
So I take it that the battery cannot sustain running the car when the engine runs out of gas? Or is it that these people have run out of gas and then the battery drains? :?:
Toyota specifically says in their FAQ, question 13:
http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/2006/prius/faq.html
Can Prius run on electricity when it runs out of gas?

No. Though Prius can operate in electric-only mode when gasoline is in the tank, it is not designed to run without gasoline. Doing so could cause severe damage to the hybrid system, so drivers should be sure to keep gas in the tank at all times.

Some owners have absent-mindedly run out of gasoline, or purposely ran out to see how far they could go on electric only. Basically, once all the warning dash lights and bells go off, get yourself to a safe location on the side of the road. How far you can go on electric only when the gasoline engine shuts down for no more gasoline will depend on how fast you are going, terrain (uphill or downhill, flat, etc.), and weather. Usually not much more than a mile (so maybe to the next gas station). The longest I've heard was from someone in the UK that was doing highway speeds, ran out of gasoline while coasting downhill for 7 miles. You have about 2 reboots available while out of gas before your hybrid battery is depleted to the point of no longer being able to start the car and needing a special charger to recharge it... So make sure that when you get gas for your empty Prius that you get at least 3 gallons so that it registers!
 
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