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Toyota Prius MPG-Real World Numbers



  • How long is your typical drive (minutes)? Do you make a lot of short trips? What is your typical first 5 minutes MPG?
  • My Toyota Prius seats five adult passengers ans is about the same size as the popular Toyota Camry. Larger than the Honda. Toyota Prius is still one of the most efficient cars on the road and can travel more than 625 miles (1000 km) without refueling. A fully conditioned hybrid gas-gas electric Toyota Prius gets about 60 mpg (25 km/l) on the highway.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    The best I've ever got with my '06 Prius was 55mpg average going about 65mph on the highway on long road highway only trips. What year is your Prius? Also, the gas warning light blinks and when I fill it up I can at most put a little more than 10gal, even though the fuel tank is supposed to be 12.9gal. I suppose I could drive another 100 miles with the blinking low gas light on, but I'd be nervous to do so.
  • My wife's commute is 15 to 20 minutes one way. I think that may be the biggest factor. I've read that it takes nearly that long to 'charge' the battery system so that it may take over more often and save gas. Does that sound correct?
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    No, the battery system will be charged pretty quick. The main factor is the type of driving on the 15-20 minute commute (speeds, highway, city, style of driving, etc).
  • You're on the right track. 15 - 20 minute drive is fairly short and your first 5 minutes will drag your average down. Typically your first 5 minutes is ~25MPG (unless you prewarm your car with an EBH). The battery should not be a factor. I typically end up with a low battery at the end of the day but able to charge it back up in the first 5 minutes. I figure this is a good method as the car is warming up that the battery charges at the same time.
  • killianagkillianag Posts: 3
    edited September 2011
    What I did for my 2008 Prius with 100,000 miles:
    1. Increased tire pressure to 42 PSI in 51 PSI tires
    2. Use the recommended octane
    3. Use a top tier gas (see
    4. Use full synthetic oil
    5. Use a K&N air filter (lightly oil it)
    These are in order of least to most improvement. Items 1-4 were made this year.

    Best results thus far with all 5 changes:
    • 57 MPG driving 55 MPH
    • 56 MPG driving 65 MPH
    • 55 MPG at fill-up with a mix of city and highway driving

    I use cruise control for most of my highway driving. I have no results for any speeds over 65 MPH.

    The basics of my city driving:
    • Normal acceleration from a dead stop to get to the speed limit.
    I do not baby it, but I do not hot rod it either.
    • Use the Consumption monitor to know when to ease up on the gas pedal.
    I want to get the best MPG and maintain speed.
    This applies when NOT driving up a hill.
    MPG is pretty much out of your control when going up a hill.
    The purpose of using the Consumption monitor is to cause the ICE to stop running and the electric motor to take over, or to at least enable the ICE to get the best mileage possible.

    A word on tire pressure... I believe low rolling resistance (LRR) tires are the better option. Consider LRR tires when you need to replace your tires. You should do some research to find good tires. I found where some tires marketed as LRR actually hurt the fuel economy (
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    Always travel with a tail wind and avoid going up hills. ;)
  • Plan your trips according to wind direction.

    Only choose routes that are downhill.

    Drive towards the equator to reduce the pull of gravity.

    Follow sarcastic people to take advantage of the vacuum they create.
  • Failed to add this

    • 71 MPG city
  • hansjhhansjh Posts: 2
    I have driven about 6300 miles sofar and kept stats.
    1. According to Toyota, (i keep one trip meter without ever clearing it) I am averaging 53.1 mpg.
    2. I reality i have driven 6301 miles and used 124.249 g. That is 50.71 mpg.
    3. Using the Toyota stats, i should have used 118.663 g. Difference of 5.6 g. Who is right? Either the gas stations are ripping me off or Toyota is measuring fairly inaccurately!

    Another note: The dashboard indicators show an indicator gauge from 0 to 100 labeled mpg. Are they kidding? Do they know what mpg means? 100mpg is easy to do on that dial but how do they know it is not 1000? Would be nice to have meaningful labels!

    Still i love this car.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I think it is all about when the pump or you shut it off. On my car I can get another gal. of gas in before it is full even though I don't do this as they say it can cause troubles.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    The dashboard indicators show an indicator gauge from 0 to 100 labeled mpg. Are they kidding?

    I don't think so.

    Do they know what mpg means?

    Pretty sure they do. ;)

    100mpg is easy to do on that dial but how do they know it is not 1000?

    Does it really matter? It's for an approximation of instantaneous mpg. You'll never average anything close to 1000 mpg (or 100 mpg for that matter) on a 2011 Prius. Think about how big the dial would need to be to go up to 1000 mpg... if it could ever get that high. I suppose a digital readout could be used, but then folks might think it's more accurate than it really is. My Sentra has a digital mpg readout, but then I get to wondering, is it really 35.2 mpg? Maybe it's 35.0 mpg, or 35.5 mpg...
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    The MPG estimate show on trip computers for most cars isn't as precise compared to manually calculating MPG (miles/gallons actually used). From what I've read, most are 5-10% inaccurate, so if your trip computer shows 53mpg and you calculate 50mpg that means the trip computer is 6% higher than your manual calculation, which isn't bad.

    Instant MPG readouts can be very inaccurate, unless you're driving with the cruise control while on a flat road, since even slight variations in road or foot pressure on the gas pedal can greatly change an instant MPG. Remember MPG is Miles Per Gallon, so an instant MPG is looking at the MPG for one second and in one second at 60mph you've only driven .01667 miles, so when that .016667 mile is driven, only a tiny fraction of a gallon of gas is used. When that tiny fraction of gas is multiplied up to equal one gallon, any error is also multipled up. That's why in general estimating MPG is more accurate when calculated over greater distances...sort of like increasing the sample size in a survey to make it more accurate. You're wouldn't believe a survey if only one person was asked the questions, but you need hundreds or thousands of samples to get an accurate survey.
  • aghoshaghosh Posts: 21
    edited December 2011
    My 2010 Prius is now giving me about 42 mpg in city. This used to be at least 45 in the summer with the AC on. I have changed my tires from the original goodyear assurance to michelin primacy mxv4. Is that the reason? :confuse:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    What are temperatures now? Also do gas stations in your area switch to an ethanol blend in the winter? Those one or two factors could by themselves explain what you are seeing on mpg. I know where I live, with temps now in the teens to 30s, I've seen my average mpg for urban driving (not in a Prius, but a Sentra CVT) drop from low 30s to upper 20s.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Our 2006 Prius goes from high 40s to low 40s MPG every winter due to the winter gas blend that in our area runs from Dec - April, as well as the colder temperature requiring longer engine run times to keep everything warmed up. You may notice that at stop lights, in the summer the engine may have been off but in the winter it may be running, especially if you're running the heater, since the heater needs hot water (hence hot engine).

    Also, my Honda Fit's MPG also goes down in the winter, from the mid 30s to the low 30s, so this isn't unique with the Prius. I think that that Prius owners just track MPG more closely, so they notice the winter MPG drop more.
  • I think reading too much forum raised my expectation too high. My first tank full of gas will get me 500 miles, mostly local 15 to 20 min communte. Display shows 48 mpg but if the full tank is 11.9 gallon, I will be getting 42 mpg. If dealer only filled up 11.5, then 43.5 mpg. Not too bad but not like what some report. Should I check tire pressure? Any suggestion to boost up mpg more?
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    Drive for 5 minutes to get the car warmed up and then reset the mpg button. See if that helps.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    You need to fill it up and divide the miles by the gallons to get your MPG. For that 500 miles of driving you did, you probably only used a little over 10 gal of gas.
  • Guess I have to check what next tank will do. thx
  • aghoshaghosh Posts: 21
    edited December 2011
    Thanks Backy and Bobw3. Bob, you are right on the money-the engine rarely shuts down at stoplights now, but earlier it seemed to shut down if I had to stop for more than like 10 seconds.
  • Just aquired my gorgeous 2010 Prius for $15,400 (has 45K on the oh-do). So far, after just 1/2 a tank, my car seems to be averaging only 47mpg according to Prius trip computer )which means I am probably getting just 45 mpg). I just placed more air in the tires and am learning from all of you how to goose more mpg from the beast. Janaury is a horrible time to set the bar for this car, so perhaps with warm weather and a few tankfuls I will see something over 50 mpg. The problem is my city commute is only 8 miles one way, and the car is barely warmed up by the time I get to work or to home. I have started to carefully track my gallons per fill-up and my odometer readings, so I should know in a month what my true MPG is going to be.

    On the freeway I easily achieved a mpg over 50 mpg . . .which i find a little odd given the EPA estimates--but I realize athose estimates are based on paritial usage of the EV mode in the city, something that can't be accomplished on the freeway.

    Anyway, I am a total computer/mileage geek, and so I am completely in love with the "geek-out" experience offered by the Prius computer readouts and such. It truly is an engineering marvel.

    I dont think my tires are low rolling resistance tires . . .they are Westlake SP-06 . . .seem to be a softer tire made more for traction and/or quietness versus low RR. Seet this link and maybe you can comment on them? and recommend another tire? Is the "Michelin Energy Saver A/S" my best best?

    Thanks so much.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    If you are averaging 45 mpg on an 8 mile commute you are doing great -- really great. The $500 you will spend for new tires won't change much. Wait until you need them.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    edited January 2012
    i agree with jayrider...45mpg on an 8 mile commute in cold weather is really good.

    One trick I learned with my '06 Prius in cold weather is to keep the temperature high on the heat setting (about 77 deg) but after the car is warmed up inside to turn the fan to the Off position. This seems to prevent the car from running so much at stop signs and traffic lights, but keeps the warm air "floating" inside the cabin as the car is moving.

    Or you can just turn the fan to the OFF position when you come up to a light and then turn the fan back on when you start driving again. Personally I wish the Prius had an "ECO-CLIMATE" control setting that would automatically do this to prevent the engine from running when stopped just to keep the hot air blowing in the cabin.
  • Sorry folks--when I typed that I am averaging 47 mgp, I should have made clear that this is reflective of ALL my driving to date, not just my 8-mile commute; the average for my 8 mile commute is much lower and is screwing up my overall average. As you all know, the first five minutes in the Prius gets you about 25 mpg. My 8 mile commute is about 15 minutes in length with Atlanta's typical city traffic stop and go.

    I brought the car home from the dealer with about 1/2 a tank and averaged 47 mpg on what was left of that first tank, as I reset the trip odometer when I took possession of the car. I then tanked up the gas on Saturday and so far have driven 98 miles . . . and so far my average has dropped to 44.5 mpg . . .my 8-mile commute makes up a fair share of my driving. If i had realized that the first five minutes of running time gouged the MPG this severely, I wouldnt be as disappointed as I am now . . . I would sure like to average 50 mpg and realize the cost savings . . . maybe I should move to the suburbs and do the 45 minutes commute :-)

    Anyway, i tend to do longer drives on weekends, and with the 3-day weekend coming up we will see what my MPG turns out to be on my first tankful. In the meantime, thanks to all of you for your suggestions. The fan suggestion is a good one that I hadn't thought of, so thanks much.
  • On two tanks I only got 43-44 mpg via miles/gals to fill. The TripA CONS display showed 47-48, so about 10% inflated. I'm guessing most Prius reviews are using the inflated value vs actual mileage calculation.

    Still pretty happy, but not as astonished as I once was.
  • OK the verdict is in: I drove 405 miles on my first tank (was down to one bar, but the bar had not begun to blink yet---I was supposedly 40 miles from empty but I know this car has a 2 gallon reserve tank, and for good reason). Anyway it took 8.886 gallons to fill it up. So 405/8.886 = 45.6 mpg. My Trip A display showed 47.2 mpg. I am happy that I got 45 mpg, but gosh I was hoping to be one of those lucky folks who owns a Prius that gets 55plus mpg.


    1) dealership where I purchased the car (non-Toyota dealer) did not put synthetic oil in the car, so I intend to do that and perhaps see some increase.

    2) the cold weather of late has not helped the mileage. Even Atlanta gets to freezing temps every now and again

    3) I'd like to hyperinflante the tires and see what happens.

    Time will tell. But I know the single biggest factor in my own mpg are themany short trips I take (very short work commute, etc).
  • So far, I have driven my used 2010 Prius 1,343 miles on three fill-ups of a total of 27.35 gallons of regular unleaded fuel (10% ethanol). Those numbers yield an actual MPG of 49.10. However, in keeping with the optimistic tendency of the computer, the car calculated my mileage to equal 51.1.
  • :( I just purchased a Prius 2011 a few weeks ago, have only 200 miles and change on it and so far the MPG shows as 32.4, what am I missing? My commute is only 3 miles long each way...can someone help with some guidance?
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