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Toyota Prius MPG-Real World Numbers



  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I agree that trying to calculate MPG in the Prius can be difficult. The computer readings are generally high, plus with the bladder fuel tank on my '06 Prius, depending on the temparate it can really vary how much fuel I can put in.

    I had a manually calculated after fill-up of 42mpg a few weeks ago, which seemed low as compared to the 50mpg shown by the computer. But the next manual calculation after fill-up I got 57mpg, which seemed to high. The computer showed 52mpg for that tank.

    I mostly use the same gas station and always stop filling after the first "click." I'm guessing what happended is that when I was filling the tank this last time, it didn't fill up as much as the previous time, so the mpg seemed higher than normal. On the time before that maybe the tank took more than the normal amount of fuel, hence the lower than expected manually calculated mpg.

    So what I do is estimate after two or three tanks to adjust for that variation swing of a really high vs really low calculated mpg. We'll see how it goes for the next fill-up. Based on how fast the gas gauge seems to be going down, I'm thinking that this will be a low manually calculated mpg because the tank wasn't fully full after last fillup.

    In the summer the manually calculated mpg is more consistent tank after tank, so I'm guessing it has to do with the bladder fuel tank. Overall I'm happy with the mpg, which is about 50 in the summer and in the low 40s in the winter.
  • You're correct in your explanation for the difficulty of manual MPG calculation however I do not think that the MPG calculation is difficult. The MFD on the Prius tells you what your MPG is and it is the single most reliable source. You describe the difficulty in the manual calculation and some remedies. I would add one more observation: how fast you're feeling up also makes a difference. A slower pump flow will get more gas in your tank. If the flow is faster then the first click (where you stop) will happen sooner. I don't now why would anyone rely on manual MPG calculation on a single tank. In the long run the MFD MPG is ~2% from the total manual numbers calculated (add up total fuel purchased and total miles driven). I call that statistically in significant!
  • The problem is that how do you calculate the total miles driven if the odometer is off by 4-5% ( speedometer off by a like amount).
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    We go to the same Sam's Club gas station for fillups, so the first click should be pretty consistant. I guess I could keep a log of the gallons purchased over 10 fillups for example and divide the miles driven over that time, but it's more convenient to calculate it right at the time of the fillup, so I don't have to write anything down. Plus once the weather warms this gas tank bladder issue will go away. In general it seems like the car's self-reported MPG is generally high in any car I've ever driven, so using the manual method is just like a simple check.
  • We just bought a used 2008 Prius from a dealer. Over the first hundred miles, it is getting 24 mpg. It is winter and we are driving in the city, but this is much lower than we ever got over any 100 mile period with our 2001 Prius, which we just traded in. Any ideas what might be going on?
  • prius2007prius2007 Posts: 41

    How long (time / distance) is your typical drive? The first 5 minutes in cold weather will yield ~25 MPG (unless you use an EBH). Take it out for a longer drive / HWY and see what happens.

    Other things you can check:
    1. tire pressure - make sure you're not under inflated
    2. make sure engine oil is not over filled

    Good luck,
  • low tire pressure is mainly to blame...if you only drive in town...try 41 psi each tire instead of 35...
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    For short distance start and stop driving,that is about what I get on my 2007.Heck,in my 4 Cylinder KIA Optima in the same driving conditions I get 14.
  • kam327kam327 Posts: 115
    Recently rented a '11. Drove about 300 highway miles and maybe 20 city miles and averaged about 44 mpg.
  • steversksteversk Posts: 9
    Just got my new Prius 3 last weekend. The first tank of gas showed 50.1 mpg on the car, calculated out at 52.6 mpg. This tank is showing 54.3 mpg about 300 miles into it. I drive about 600 miles per week, so the great milage is great. Traded in a 2008 Civic hybrid. The Prius is a nicer car to drive and is getting about 10 mpg better mileage. I do drive fairly easy. Stay at the speed limits and usually drive in eco mode except when climing hills. I think the mileage will get even better as it breaks in and I get used to driving it economically.
  • Got my new Prius II two weeks back. Started at 35 miles ODO and a full tank of Gas. Now at ~540 miles. Still running on the first tank of gas. Current MPG onboard is 56. Learnt quite a bit in the last few weeks.
  • maybe you should have purchased a VW TDI and got an ACTUAL mileage of 50+ instead of a crappy hybrid
  • thanks for the advice but I drove a VW TDI from Berlin to Barcelona on a recent trip to Europe which was a 1.8 L Passat...we got 40 mpg which was impressive as was the car. Diesel is much cheaper in Europe than gasoline whereas just the reverse is true here, diesel costs quite a bit more than super unleaded, last time I looked...anyway, I believe electric cars with fuel cells or even with batteries alone are the future and the Prius is a very good temporary compromise. I would like to see the gasoline engine replaced with a hydrogen engine...while in Berlin we saw an Opel parked in front of our hotel as an advertisement. It had the message that "I run on hydrogen" (in German) painted on its side. Its waste product is water! which might be captured and decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen and re-burned to water and so on, round and round, at least it sounds possible.
  • stevem9stevem9 Posts: 2
    What is an EBH????
  • prius2007prius2007 Posts: 41
    EBH is engine block heater. People use EBH to pre-warm the engine (you can use a timer) which will allow you to drive in the efficiency zone even in the first 5 / 10 minutes. As you probably know the first 5 - 10 minutes is a big drag on your overall MPG especially for shorter drives.
  • So what kind of mileage do you think you would get running the highways in Germany in a Toyota Prius? At highway speeds is where the Prius falls off since it is not designed for that type of driving and is you drove from Berlin to Barcelona you were running a lot of autobahns since Berlin is a least a 12 hour drive away. For anyone to buy a hybrid where they have to run the highway most of the time is a waste of money and resources.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    I get 54-58mpg hwy at 60-65 mph. Pretty good. It only pays off if you drive a lot and watch the speed. In europe gas is way higher so lots to figure.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I get in the low 50s MPG at 65mph in my '07 prius. Aerodynamics make the big difference on the highway.
  • caravellecaravelle Posts: 3
    Have 2005 and 2010. O5 does better on the freeway and the 10 better in town. Both cars show 2 mph high on speedometer, but odometers are accurate. Both cars have one to one ratio between mph and mpg between 65 and 75. That is, for every one mph, mpg changes by one. Keep notebook and record all gasoline added to tank, so bladder in the 05 taken out of the picture. 05 trip computer reads plus or minus 2%. More times it will read more than actual mpg. The 10 trip computer always reads about 5% higher than actual mpg. Only 60k on the 05 and just 5k on the 10. For the first 5k miles the 05 averaged - actual, not the trip computer - 44.5. The 10 - actual, not the trip computer - averaged 44.4. The 05 varies from high 30s in town to low 50s on the freeway. The 10 varies little between in town and freeway driving. Freeway speeds are usually 73 actual. Saw no difference playing with increased tire pressure on either car, but changing the 05 OE rim protectors to much better tires at 20k miles (quieter, rides better, handles much better, much much better in the wet) cost about 2 mpg. The 10 did not come with hard tires (tread wear rating only 300), so changing to fuel economy tires may increase mph a little. No difference seen in mpg with a/c on (a/c works great in the 05 - not nearly so well in the 10). Do not use ECO mode in the 10. Test over several tanks showed no improvement in mpg). 05 feels like the 10 when 10 in PWR mode. This may be why the 10 does better in town when in NORM (virtually always for me). ECO is very sluggish, NORM is tolerable, and PWR feels fine. (in the 10, ECO mode also reduces the performance of the already weak a/c, so for me ECO is a no-no (note: my 10 a/c works as well as friends' 2010s). I wonder how much difference location makes in mpg (different fuel blends for different areas of the country). The 05 has had synthetic oil since a few weeks old. the 10 comes with synthetic
  • formerly CHERYL06PRIUS, i'm now CHERYL08PRIUS, with a 2010 Prius. Stats for May-2011 are 2763 miles using 47.62 gallons, translates to 58.02MPG. I've developed a system of filling the tank to the same precise level each fill up. Usually the on-board FE computer shows 2-3MPG better than observed, i.e. if the computer shows 61MPG it is actually 58-59MPG. Driving is in Western NY about 50-50 mix of highway&city, moderate elevation.
    At gas station fill ups I frequently field questions about the Prius FE, summarized my advice is drive conservatively, time the stoplights to minimize full stops, and inflate tire pressure to 50PSI. The later is controversial but I logged 83,000 miles on my 2006 Prius at those pressures with no abnormal tire wear, just a stiff ride. Be forewarned, after servicing the dealer will deflate the PSI, rather than argue with someone who has no experience with this issue, I reinflate with my home compressor.
  • Thanks for your straight-forward report on the FE. It's easy to understand and is based on more long-term experience than I often see in the Forum. I can hardly wait to get a Prius.
  • jimbo103jimbo103 Posts: 3
    Caravelle: You have posted the most accurate statistics I have seen on this site. My MPG data agrees with what you have noted. Question, how did you determine your odometer accuracy?
  • jaygettyjaygetty Posts: 1
    plugs, air filter, tire pressure, lead foot, oil change, some tires roll worse than others....I bet if I drove it, it would get 40+ winter...53-57 summer.
  • Miles per hour checked two ways. First, I noticed the difference using regular mile markers and using measured mile markers on the freeway, cruise control (steady speed mode), and a stop watch. Second, there are two speed notification radar units near me. I noticed the one in the housing neighborhood was always reading 2 mph less than my speedometer (32 vs 30). The other unit is on a road where I can test the speedometer at varying speeds. I checked at 30, 40, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, and 75. Always the speedometer showed 2 mph less than the radar unit. This was the same with the 2005 and 2010. A friend with a 2010 reported the same results on his Prius.

    I've noted a number of posts with much higher mpg than I get. I can also 'force' my mpg higher by not driving with traffic (slower and or driving for max mpg without respect to surrounding traffic flow). Sometimes, just for 'fun' I drive the two miles home from the store (and gas station) keeping keeping the average mpg at 99. It is both up and down hill and speeds reach as high as 45 on battery power for this two miles. 2010 now at 10K miles and mpg remains at about 43 (summer freeway traffic is getting faster (75-80), reducing freeway mpg to about 42). Traffic around here is usually very fast on the freeways and heavy on non freeway roads, making it hard to max the mpg unless one is willing to not become nervous by rapidly approaching traffic from the rear.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    Don't be concerned by super high mpg posts. Too many variables. I have 14k miles on my 2010 -- drive like I want and get 45-55 mpg according to the computer. Have better things to do than obsess about my gas mileage. Figure that you are getting the best mpg available in a non electric auto and relax.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    If you're driving in the right lane on the highway and are going about the speed limit, I wouldn't worry about what other folks are doing when you're on long highway drives. Now if you're only on the highway for a couple of miles, then it might be just better to keep up with traffic, since those 2 miles won't hurt your overall MPG by much. But to me it's more relaxing to travel slower than the average traffic speed on the highway, because you can keep it on cruise control without hardly ever catching up to folks and needing to pass. People may think they're getting to their destination quicker by speeding, but when they speed and get worse MPG, they'll end up having to stop and get gas more often, so they've just lost any gains they had by going fast.
  • Just bought a CPO 07 Prius with about 52k miles on it. It was a CPO so I haven't checked/done any maintenance to it. Live in GA where it is 100 degrees during the day right now and 86 at night. Have only gone through 1 tank of gas so far. Computer shows an average MPG of 40.5 (when I baby it). I believe Toyota says 60 city / 50 highway / 55 Avg. Can anyone fill me in on how I should change my driving habits to achieve at least 50 Avg? We replaced an SUV that got 15 MPG so we are obsessed with understanding how to maximize MPG since that is why we bought it. Someone posted they inflated their tires to 50 psi? Seems like that would NOT be a good thing but they claim they haven't had any adverse effects. PLEASE SOMEONE HELP! Thanks!
  • I do not know what a CPO Prius is but, in past years I had a 2005 Prius and regularly got between 47 and 55 mpg measured by miles driven and gallons used to fill the tank to the first click. One of my sons took over that car and still gets high 40's although he drives it with a lead foot. The car has more than 100K miles and everything is fine.
    I bought a 2010 Prius (base model) and have one time broken 50 mpg by the same method of calculation. Most of the time I get mid to high 40's.
    I know that around time if you accelerate to say 30-35 mph and then feather the throttle you are able to turn off the gas engine for awhile but not forever. If you don't try towing things, carrying a bike rack, or other external attachments so as to allow the aerodynamics to work optimally then you will edge up towards 50 mpg in honest figures or better.
    Watch your tire pressure! My new Prius came with optional 17 in wheels and Pirelli tires. I had been running them a 35 psi, and checking around I found that the max psi for those tires was 50, so initially I set the pressure at 45, that's when I broke 50 mpg!
    Finally, remember that nobody is getting better mileage than you, so take it easy.
    The high external temp is not very important, you know, the AC compressor is electric and does not depend on the gasoline engine as in other cars.
    Only in cold weather when the engine needs to warm up do you use more gas because the computer controls that and doesn't allow much "eco" mode work.
  • Ok well I will check the tire pressure first. This may be a big help. I'm just concerned something may be wrong with the car is we are supposed to avg 55 but only avg 40. I could understand if we avg 47-50---but 40 seems low. I am still happy with 40, but our budget was based on saving gas money at 50mpg. Thank you for your insight! Every but helps

    P.S. CPO means Certified Pre-Owned by Toyota.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    The actual average is only in the high 40s mpg, but if you a lot of racing around or 80mph hghway drives it's be about 40mpg.
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