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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just rented a 2005 Prius for a week to try out (TRAC). I used it solely for commuting in the Portland, Oregon area. My commute is 10 miles each direction and whether has been mid-to-high 50's in the morning and 70+ on the way home. I've been driving the Prius as economical as I can trying to conserve fuel. When I filled up the tank (which I also did when I picked up the car), the calculated mileage was 41.73 using distance traveled divided by gallons used. For me, it's hard to justify spending $25K to save a bit of gasoline. My current vehicle is a 1993 Chrysler Imperial that averages 19.1 MPG lifetime doing the same commute and 3 years ago I paid $4950 for the vehicle. It seems like a small car such as a Corolla or Echo would do at least 40+ MPG without all the technology to worry about and the extra maintenance? Am I wrong?

And, I rented a 2002 Prius a few years ago doing the same commute. I drive it 90 miles on 1.77 gallons. So it did much better. Did they mess up the 2004's and later economy?
 

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You wouldn't have as interesting a topic of conversation but as for saving money with a hybrid the only possible way to do it is if you are starting from scratch so you don't lose the bucks you have invested in your present car and are willing to go the economy route. Even then you can pick up a fairly new Camry and drive it for years for free with the gas money you saved on the purchase rather than going for a new Prius.
Hybrids are the future but not until you can get the cost of the synergy power plant reduced by 4 or 5 thousand dollars.
 

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A little off topic, but how much did it cost you to rent the 2005 Prius you rented for a week? Can you rent for shorter or longer periods of time?

Are there age limits?
 

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kitra said:
I just rented a 2005 Prius for a week to try out (TRAC). I used it solely for commuting in the Portland, Oregon area. My commute is 10 miles each direction and whether has been mid-to-high 50's in the morning and 70+ on the way home. I've been driving the Prius as economical as I can trying to conserve fuel. When I filled up the tank (which I also did when I picked up the car), the calculated mileage was 41.73 using distance traveled divided by gallons used. For me, it's hard to justify spending $25K to save a bit of gasoline. My current vehicle is a 1993 Chrysler Imperial that averages 19.1 MPG lifetime doing the same commute and 3 years ago I paid $4950 for the vehicle. It seems like a small car such as a Corolla or Echo would do at least 40+ MPG without all the technology to worry about and the extra maintenance? Am I wrong?

And, I rented a 2002 Prius a few years ago doing the same commute. I drive it 90 miles on 1.77 gallons. So it did much better. Did they mess up the 2004's and later economy?
I don't think 40+ is possible, in a corolla or similar, on the route you took the Prius on if you only got 42 in the Prius.

But that isn't the point. It's been discussed ad nauseum that unless you have a long commute and log a lot of miles annually that from a pure dollars and cents perspective the Prius is not a good value.

But, you mention worrying about the technology...I don't know why you would, but if you do then don't buy a Prius...or fly on an airplane, or buy a modern TV or a computer. The Hybrid technology has now been on the market for 8 years with constant improvements. It's proven extremely reliable. You also mention extra maintainence. AFAIK, there is no extra maintainance other than changing the Inverter coolant...what's that, once every 100k miles or something...I know I haven't had to worry about it enough to memorize the time frame and have had my Prius for over 30k miles.

Now, you had a brief rental...although it is possible that the mileage you obtained would be accurate for the life of your car I highly doubt it. Most people learn to drive their Pruis better with time thanks to the display's feedback. But then again, you must live in a cool area if your am temps are already down to 50, so lifetime averages may be in the low 40s--do you have a short commute with lots of stops?

Finally, saving "a little gas" isn't such a minor thing if you can think a little beyond your own wallet. If everyone "saves a little gas" it reduces our foreign dependence on oil. It reduces pollution. It is a step toward making the world a better, cleaner place. People buy various cars for lots of reasons without a thought as to whether it makes sense on a dollars and cents basis. It makes no sense to buy a luxury car, or a sports car, or even a fancier model of a family sedan if you boil it down to dollars and cents. Yet so many people insist on doing so for the Prius...I just can't understand that. To me you're buying a really nice car in the family sedan size class that has the added features of good fuel economy, very low emissions, and a satisfaction to own and drive derived from those things and knowing you're really doing your part for the world. You're promoting further development and marketing of technology that can benefit the world once more universally adopted. You're sacrificing nothing (IMO)...it has plenty of speed, power, personality, style and features that you can usually only find on some of the most high end luxury vehicles on the market (BT, NAV, SKS, etc). It's incredibly safe with the VSC and extensive air bags.

So why do you want to boil this down to dollars and cents? If your budget is such that you would not otherwise consider a vehicle in the Prius' price range then I understand. But if you are in the market for a new car. And your budget includes the Prius' class. And the Prius has the features you desire, then why not put it on equal footing? If you're not in the market for something that expensive then why consider it in the first place?

I just think maybe you haven't explored your rational for considering the Prius completely. You will, eventually, save money with the Prius over a vehicle like a new Camry or even a high end Corolla, particularly if you drive over 15k miles per year and gas prices stay in the $2.50+/gal range...it may be 7-8 years, but look at what you've done for the world in that time frame. And look how smug and smart you'll feel if/when gas hits $4-5/gal in a few years.
 

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kitra said:
I just rented a 2005 Prius for a week to try out (TRAC). I used it solely for commuting in the Portland, Oregon area. My commute is 10 miles each direction and whether has been mid-to-high 50's in the morning and 70+ on the way home. I've been driving the Prius as economical as I can trying to conserve fuel. When I filled up the tank (which I also did when I picked up the car), the calculated mileage was 41.73 using distance traveled divided by gallons used. For me, it's hard to justify spending $25K to save a bit of gasoline. My current vehicle is a 1993 Chrysler Imperial that averages 19.1 MPG lifetime doing the same commute and 3 years ago I paid $4950 for the vehicle. It seems like a small car such as a Corolla or Echo would do at least 40+ MPG without all the technology to worry about and the extra maintenance? Am I wrong?

And, I rented a 2002 Prius a few years ago doing the same commute. I drive it 90 miles on 1.77 gallons. So it did much better. Did they mess up the 2004's and later economy?
I drive all over Portland every day, averaging 50 miles a day.

I get 50-60 miles per gallon; depending on my route.

If you commute over the West Hills daily, you'll get in the mid 40s. If you commute from Gresham to Downtown Portland daily, you'll probably average in the high 50s. If you commute from inner-NE to downtown, (i.e. your about 10 miles a day,) you'll probably only get in the high 30s to low 40s. That's because the Prius is just as inefficient as a normal car for the first 15-30 minutes of driving. My approx 4 hours of driving a day (with at most two hours between drives,) gives it plenty of time to warm up and become efficient. The Prius was designed first-and-foremost to lower emissions. To achieve this, it is INEFFICIENT early on, because it makes the whole system warm up faster and lower emissions in longer drives. If you only drive about 10 miles a day, you MIGHT be able to get away with driving it in solely 'electric vehicle' mode on a Prius with the modification to enable it.

No, the Prius does not make economic sense based solely on gas prices. If your only attraction to the Prius was gas savings, sorry to disappoint, it won't realistically pay for itself very quickly. (By my math, buying a Prius over buying a Hyundai Elantra GT won't have the Prius come ahead until about the 200,000 mile mark.)

The Prius is about the whole package. Technology, environmental friendliness (emissions as well as gas savings,) and a little bit of hype/trendiness mixed in.

As for your better performance on the 2001? It was probably broken in when you rented it; and/or you drove a 'better' route. Out of curiosity, what route have you been driving? I've found that I can get significantly better mileage by just changing the route I take to get to the same place.
 

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Hi Kitra,

I take issue with your statement "without all the technology to worry about ". As the Hybrid Synergy Drive does away with allot of the most unreliable technology which inhabit the engine comparments of most cars. Alternator (I changed out 4 of these on a Ford Tempo), Starter (2 on that same Ford), Automatic Transmission which has clutches and 3 times (some cars 4 and 5 times) as many planetary gear sets as a Prius. The 60 K mile automatic transmission rebuild for the Tempo cost $2500 in 1995. It would probably allot more these days.

In the Prius these Big Three of Car Breakdowns are replaced with two brushless motors (about as reliable a motor as there is) and a gear set (NO Automatic Transmission clutches or Van Dorne type CVT Belt). Are you aware how complicated an automatic transmission is mechanically? And most automatic transmissions sold now have their own computer besides! One would think that Manual Transmissions are not complicated, but even so at an engineering expo my PHD buddy and I took about 20 minutes to have it taught to us by a ME grad student. Automatic transmissions are are whole other realm of complexity!

My opinion is that the HSD technology in the Prius is a great leap forward in reliability. "All the technology to worry about" is in a standard car, not a Prius! In the Prius the functionality is done with redirecting electrons rather than tacking on yet another kludge contraption.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone

OK, the response was great. I too am concerned for the environment and that was my main reason for looking into a Prius. When I rented the 2002 Prius, the Delear told me that the CVT has coolant that is expensive to replace. I don't know as I don't have first hand experience.

I would have been driving a new 2005 Prius except both Dealers had big markups (Beaverton Toyota and Broadway Toyota). But I found a Dealer up in North Wasington that was below MSRP - small town Dealer. So I haven't decided for sure - wonderig what 2006 will bring?

To rent the Prius was $50 a day. My commute is on the West Side, the Sunset Highway bottleneck. I work downtown so it's just 9.9 miles to and a little over 10 home due to route.

I agree that we need to save the Planet for another day, as Neil Young would say (Greendale). It's in bad shape and it's too bad we are so dependant on Oil. I suspect I will own a hybrid soon, but not a Ford. I'm done with Ford products. I've never owned a Toyota so maybe it's time. Thanks everyone for your great feedback. I'll read this site more and make a decision soon.
 

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just a note, after reading this thread.

If, by driving a Prius, you save a gallon a day, you have saved 365 gallons a year.

If everyone could save like that, then we, as a planet, would be doing so much better.

And that is all I had to add.
 

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The coolant replacement may be expensive for the classic (2001-2003) as it uses the long life coolant that needs replacement every 30K (long life? Sounds standard to me!). The new cars (not just the Prius) use super long life coolant that is good for 100K initially, 50K after that.
The coolant itself is a little more, but more of the cost is in the labor since you have a heat tank for the ICE side of cooling, and you have to be extra sure to have all air pockets purged in the inverter cooling system. But again, you'll only need to do this 2 maybe 3 times in the life of the car (assuming 200K).

It is not fair to compare the 2005 to an echo or a corolla. They are different size/class vehicles. If you put the 2005 hybrid drive train in the Prius classic body (similar to an Echo), you'd get awsome mileage, probably topping the Insight. But the echo is too small for many people, and Toyota wanted to appeal to a broader consumer base, so they made the car bigger and more versatile, while increasing efficiency to compensate (and in some cases surpass) the classic.

It is also not fair to figure gas mileage on just one tank. You can never be sure you put in the same amount of gas you actually used. For that, use the MFD figures. Yes, the MFD can be optimistic, but only by 1-3 gallons per mile. It is enough to judge for short term.

I have about a 48 mile one way commute, or about 100 miles round trip at an average of 45MPH. I get 55MPG average. Now that the weather is cooling off, it is starting to head up to 58MPG. Short trips or high speed trips will probably give you high 40's to low 50's.
 

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kitra said:
When I filled up the tank (which I also did when I picked up the car), the calculated mileage was 41.73 using distance traveled divided by gallons used.
What was your mpg according to the screen? Because it is very difficult to get consistent fill levels on the Prius, for any single tank that number is likely to be more accurate than the traditional gallons/miles traveled method. (Over several tanks, the gallons/miles method evens out.)

The '04/05 Prius gets slightly better mileage than the '01/03 - about 3 mpg better according to the GreenHybrid database.
 

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"You're promoting further development and marketing of technology that can benefit the world once more universally adopted. You're sacrificing nothing (IMO)...it has plenty of speed, power, personality, style and features that you can usually only find on some of the most high-end luxury vehicles on the market (BT, NAV, SKS, etc). It's incredibly safe with the VSC and extensive air bags. "

I could not agree more, excellent answer. Why do you guys think that anytime somebody is buying a Prius they have to justify penny of their investments? How much cost a better future? how much cost to live in a less polluted environment? How much cost us to depend less from foreign oil from countries that hate us and we are over there (or sending out troops) because our huge oil dependence? if anybody have any doubts ask how much cost all the lives that we lost in the World trade Center at New York and then your spreadsheets will start making more sense

Buying a Prius is sending a message to the automakers, WE WANT MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT VEHICLES!!! We don’t want to be terrorized anytime a hurricane hits the south of the country where a big part of our refinery capacity is located. I do no want to be terrorized by a dictator in a oil producing country, I do not want to be afraid anytime I go to buy gas.

Think about all of these then buying a Prius will make all the sense of the world my buddy.

Thank you very much!!!
 

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Re: Thanks everyone

kitra said:
To rent the Prius was $50 a day. My commute is on the West Side, the Sunset Highway bottleneck. I work downtown so it's just 9.9 miles to and a little over 10 home due to route.
Yes, driving over the West Hills will KILL your mileage. As will slow stop-and-go driving. (Regardless of what Toyota says, you don't get the best mileage in this situation, but you are getting significantly better than anyone else stuck in the same traffic.)

You may want to try a route that you can hold a nice steady 30-40 mph. Try to take Cornell up and over into NW Portland, or Barnes/Burnside. Either way, though, you're still going over a great big hill. (If you want to see what it's like over a longer, flatter, route, try 217 South to I-5, then I-5 North. You'll probably get in the mid-to-high 50s.) Taking the longer route will also give the engine time to fully warm up and let the hybrid system work its magic properly.

Another big key is to stick to the speed limit, regardless of the fact that absolutely everyone else drives over it on those roads. But, I must admit that it's fun to take 26 and have a full battery at the end of the trip. (Which means you can then cruise all through downtown on battery power alone if you're careful with the accelerator.) About a month ago, I drove my stepson to and from Zoo camp every day for a week. I live in SW Portland near Capitol Highway, so I'm pretty close to the same elevation as Beaverton/Hillsboro. That week, my average mileage went from the low 50s to the mid 40s. If you take out my morning/evening drives to the zoo, I averaged in the high 50s. Driving up that hill KILLS mileage.

I also found it odd that Broadway was charging over MSRP, I thought they charged exactly MSRP... (In fact, I thought the only one in the Portland area still charging over MSRP was Thomason in Gladstone.)

(For those that don't know Portland's topography, here's a Google Map. The big orange US Highway 26 West of the river is the 'Sunset Highway', with the part where it intersects with the large green park being about 1000 feet higher than the rest of Portland. Those are the 'West Hills'; they run the entire length of the large green park, then continue Southeast almost to the river, stopping pretty much just before Interstate 5 at the Veterans Medical Center. The Medical Center is, indeed, at the top of the hill. Right there has two major hospitals, and is nicknamed 'Pill Hill'. The zoo is right where Highway 26 hits the green park.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Prius PDX

ehurtley, I know if traffic is really bad, which it typically is, it kills the mileage on my Chrysler Imperial. My Employer has been awesome and allowed me to switch to an earlier shift, 7am to 4pm. So I do better with my mid-size auto. I too was surprised about Broadway Toyota as they advertise no markups, etc. I went through their internet manager for a quote and there was approximately a $2000 markup on package 6. I replied and said "I won't pay over MSRP for anything" and the reply I received was "you won't be owning a Prius then". So that was that. But I talked to a Dealer in North Washington (need to look at PC at work for their name) and they quoted $800 below MSRP and offered to deliver the car to me. So when I decide, I will contact them. I talked to the Sales Manager up there and he said small town, you need to treat people right. Awesome. My dilemma right now is my Chrysler is running perfect and is a classy looking car. Digital dash, trip computer, memory seats, leather, Infinity sound, etc. Does everything for you but steer and brake which is my duty. Beaverton Toyota offered me $800 bucks for my car which was an insult. It's a 1993 but was senior owned and has 82,000 miles along with a new factory transmission I just had installed. So I need to learn to part with my Chrysler and move to an environmental friendly auto.
 

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OK, I think there you have your answer. The car has 82,000 miles, and is on its second Transmission -- at least. That should make the choice easy.

Why would you have to replace the transmission?

You imply a lifetime of gentle responsible treatment at the hands of a senior, why should the transmission need to be replaced?

You say running perfect, but you had to replace a major component. That is isn't perfect, excellent, or even good. At that cost to your gas savings.

I gotta say, not to be mean, but take the $800 bucks or so. They aren't going to sell your car on the dealer lot. They are going to put it out to auction or sell it to a wholesaler. For that car, no matter what the mileage and treatment, there is virtually no market -- except as a very cheap car.

You can't compare on financial terms, keeping your current car, to spending $25k on a new one. It just won't ever work. If you tripled the Prius mileage it wouldn't work. But in 5 years, I will bet BIG $ that your Prius will be worth more than your Imperial -- a lot more. But you would have had a nicer and likely safer car to drive all that time - what value that? You would have spent less on gas and mait, but more on insurance.

Super short drives are not the best for testing mileage -- on any car, but the change is more drastic in the Prius.
Put it this way, I get better mileage in my Prius, than I get on my motorcycle. How astonishing is that?

If mileage is your bag, and you are single, look at picking up a used Insight. Better mileage, and not quite the rabid demand you see on the Prius.

Spike
 

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Re: Prius PDX

kitra said:
ehurtley, I know if traffic is really bad, which it typically is, it kills the mileage on my Chrysler Imperial. My Employer has been awesome and allowed me to switch to an earlier shift, 7am to 4pm. So I do better with my mid-size auto. I too was surprised about Broadway Toyota as they advertise no markups, etc. I went through their internet manager for a quote and there was approximately a $2000 markup on package 6. I replied and said "I won't pay over MSRP for anything" and the reply I received was "you won't be owning a Prius then". So that was that. But I talked to a Dealer in North Washington (need to look at PC at work for their name) and they quoted $800 below MSRP and offered to deliver the car to me. So when I decide, I will contact them. I talked to the Sales Manager up there and he said small town, you need to treat people right. Awesome. My dilemma right now is my Chrysler is running perfect and is a classy looking car. Digital dash, trip computer, memory seats, leather, Infinity sound, etc. Does everything for you but steer and brake which is my duty. Beaverton Toyota offered me $800 bucks for my car which was an insult. It's a 1993 but was senior owned and has 82,000 miles along with a new factory transmission I just had installed. So I need to learn to part with my Chrysler and move to an environmental friendly auto.
I concur with Spike. Even without the transmission replacement, 80K+ on a 12 year old car won't make it worth much.

As for the salesman's comment "you won't be owning a Prius then." I would respond "Oh, I'll own a Prius, but it looks like you won't be making the sale". And then, once you got the car, go back to that salesman and say "See, I said I'd be owning a Prius. Big mistake. Huge!"
 
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