Toyota Prius MPG: Fuel Efficient or Not?

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Toyota Prius 2009When it comes to hybrid cars, one of the most important, if not the most important metric, are the mpg’s (miles per gallon). So how many miles per gallon does your Prius hybrid get? When I accompanied my fiance to buy one last year, we were greeted with an EPA mpg on the sticker touting a city mpg of 60, and a highway mpg of 50.

60mpg city? Really?

Having owned the car for nearly a year now, with about 5,000 miles on it, and having driven various routes including two different work routes on a regular basis, we can say that we have never gotten close to achieving the 60 mpg advertised on the sticker.

Higher mpg in the city than on the highway?

What’s really confusing is the fact that the mpg epa advertised on the car suggested that we would get more miles per gallon in the city than on the highway. We thought, okay, that’s the opposite of what we’re used to (since the starting and stopping of gasoline-based engines in the city is more taxing on fuel economy than is cruising at a constant speed on the highway). But we considered the fact that this is a hybrid car that also runs off its electrical battery, so we thought maybe the car runs more off the battery at slower speeds and therefore achieves a higher fuel economy. In our experience, and everyone else we’ve talked to – not so!

High 30’s in the city, mid to high 40’s on the highway

We get in the high 30’s on average in the city and in the mid to high 40’s on average on the highway. Our Toyota Prius model is from 2008. While these aren’t bad numbers, and are definitely 15 mpg’s or so higher than what we got in our Honda Civic (non-hybrid), they are not even close to the mpg epa that was advertised at the dealer.

How many mpg’s does your Prius get?

Are you a Prius owner? Chime in below and let us know know how many mpg’s you’re getting. Even if you’re not a Prius owner, but own a hybrid or another vehicle that gets high mpg’s, feel free to share your story.

Priuses Galore

On a recent visit to San Francisco I was amazed at the number of Toyota Priuses on the road.  I don’t think at any one time I could look in any direction on the highway or on city streets and not see one.  It’s no wonder that the American auto market has been eclipsed by foreign auto makers, not the least of which is Toyota, riding the success wave of their gas-electric hybrid, the Prius.

What differentiates the Prius?

The Toyota Prius, unlike other hybrid cars, is only available in a hybrid version.  So when you spot a Prius on the road, you automatically think hybrid and “that person cares about the environment.”  This is in contrast to other, traditionally gas-powered cars that also offer hybrid versions.  An example would be the Honda Civic.  A great hyrbid car, but the only thing giving away the fact that it’s a hybrid is a little icon on the back.

California gives credit to Hybrid owners

Always the clean-air and environmental pioneer, at least amongst U.S. states, California paves the way again by giving people additional incentives beyond those offered by the federal government (tax rebates).  In particular, hybrid cars are allowed to use the carpool lane.  All hybrid cars?  Nope, only those that actually live up to their billing.

Hybrids allowed in carpool lane in California?

Yes, but only those that achieve 45mpg or higher.  That would include the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Honda Insight, according to epa mpg estimates. It’s a good thing the carpool figures are based on the epa figures, otherwise we wouldn’t be getting to ride in the carpool lane during traffic!  Interestingly enough, American manufactured hybrids achieve a mere fraction of the fuel economy gain that their Asian counterparts do, which is the reason this legislation was put in place. Nice.

About The Author:

Michelle is passionate about living a healthy life. She shops farmers markets, cooks organic, and eats vegetarian. Juicing and smoothies are a part of everyday life in her home. So are recycling, composting, and gardening. I guess you could say Michelle has a green thumb. Even when a plant doesn't make it under her care, she is still dedicated to making the earth a greener place for future generations.

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David Benjamin elm
Driving a 2010 Prius in Norway, always 95 octane gasoline , original 17 inch wheels, Toyo nanoenergy tyre, no problem doing 60-70 mpg when above 20 degree Celsius, have tried different types of lubricants with negative effect, original transmission oil atf ws and engine oil Toyota 0w20 gives better fuel economy, also front wheel alignment and tyre pressure is very important, hint: make sure to change transmission oil for every 40.000-60.000 km ! This will prolong the life of components inside, The oil will turn completely black otherwise because of the wear and/or heat generated inside the transmission, 1 time oil change for trans was after 100.000km and oil was completely black and I mean BLACK! Then I refilled with Castrol atf but suffered poor mileage… and after 15.000km changed back to Toyota atf ws, the Castrol oil had become very dark, the Toyota atf oil seems to be low w or something, also improved performance when going from electric to engine power with Toyota atf oil. I have owned many different cars over the years and was and still is a Bmw fan but high fuel prices made us change to a hybrid, the Prius (besides it’s reputation) is a unic car and is unbeatable amongst other present gasoline cars when it comes to fuel consumption. Thank you Toyota
Anony Auris Hybrid
i have recently purchased a Toyota Auris / Corolla Hybrid 2015/16 facelift model.
Not sure whether this is lighter than the Prius but by easing off the gas and using a lighter foot i have been able to average between late 60s to 80 mpg on average.
I wore my heavier shoes one day and found i was averaging more towards 50 mpg.
I wanted to get an idea of how accurate or how much can you right of the MPG calculator.

Unfortunately i can’t work out exactly how much the MPG the car does as i share it with my wife and she has a much heavier foot than me – costing me fuel 🙁

Joe Hatch
I bought my first Prius, a 2008 used car, about two months ago (May 4, 2017). It had 156,000 miles on it, yet it runs great, and the cumulative average fuel economy, as calculated by the car’s computer, is 53.3 MPG. I’ve logged about 3,000 miles in the nearly two months that I’ve had the Prius, and I can say with confidence that the computer is very accurate. I proved that by doing the actual calculation when purchasing gas at refueling stops. I can very easily go 533 miles on ten gallons of gas. I am a fairly conservative driver, and employ a good deal of anticipation concerning stop signs and red lights, but I don’t baby the accelerator pedal too much because that keeps the instantaneous gas mileage so low for too long. It’s better to just speed up and get it over with, and then keep the momentum steady. I do plenty of city driving but it’s balanced by a fairly equal amount of driving on country roads, at speeds from 40 to 55 mph, but I do very little expressway driving over 55 mph. Speeds over 55 mph seem to diminish overall gas mileage in my Prius. The car’s engine oil was apparently newly changed before I bought it, but when I do change the oil, I’m going to use Mobil One synthetic oil, and that may even boost the gas mileage a tad. I don’t know why some other Prius drivers get such lower gas mileage.

I’m finally getting really comfortable with owning a Prius, and I wish I had bought one earlier! The only problem I’ve had is with the 12 volt battery in the back of the car. The car would fail to start up and say “Ready,” and I would get the “Red Triangle of Death.” So I bought a “Yellow Top” Optima battery and that ended the trouble. I was surprised by the price of the 12 volt battery, and I found that it’s a special battery, so Prius owners are stuck paying a premium for one. But then I learned that the Advance Auto website offers, from time to time, online discount coupons, that will save up to $50.00 on purchases over $100. I ended up paying $142.00 plus tax for the battery, after returning the old one (core). The “Check Engine” light came on a few weeks ago, so I had the code checked and it indicated a bad catalytic converter, but then the light went out again. The quotes I got for replacement of the catalytic converter were all around $2,000.00 so I hope the light stays off. Overall, I’m very happy with my new (used) Prius!

I have a 2012 Prius (with 15″ eco savings tires), and I usually get 60mpg (no or light A/C, 20°c/25°c outside), to 44mpg (A/C on full power, 33°c outside), all around town, no highway.

I optimized few things :
– Michelin Eco tires, the best for fuel economy,
– tire pressure 40 front, 39 rear
– 0w16 oil, the thinnest available.
– always ECO mode to manage very precisely the engine behavior.
– the most important : A LOT of anticipation.

engine has 30k miles.

I just started a new refuel right now, and I’m at 80 mpg on 40 miles, doing all techniques to save fuel, without being a snail for other drivers too. But it requires a bit of training, I admit that it took 1 year to fully manage the hybrid system to get the lowest fuel usage.

I just upgraded from a 2006 to a 2014 and have been disappointed that the mpg is still right around 40. Highway and city. Doesn’t make sense as I drive the same way I did with the 2006. Feeling like I made a big mistake to “upgrade!” Advice?
Mario Gonzales
Hello Fellow Prius Peeps… My wife and I bought the “redesigned” 2016 Prius in Feb 2016, and have put on over 27k mi. Now… I have NOT double checked the ACTUAL MPG against the car computer (But I will now), but for now here at my stats… Average mpg for 27k is 44.7mpg. I will also add that I have a heavy foot (by nature) and YES we did maintain an ave. of 52-50mpgs but that was because I was “actively trying” to ease up on my heavy foot, but after driving it for over a year and putting on 27k + mi/yr (which is actual real life scenario), who drives an ave. of 15K mi/yr?!?!? We love to travel and did commute approx 80mi/day for a few months for work. Anyway, back to stats… I noticed that mpgs dramatically dwindled with HWY travel and that is why we are at 44.7 ave now. I am lucky if I can maintain an ave. of 46+mpgs on HWY. However, I did say I have a heavy foot… I normally drive ave. 75-80mph on hwy. I thought my ‘REAL” world experience could help someone when making a decision to buy a prius. Now, for my opinion… Buying the Prius is probably one of the best decisions we could have made, wish we would have bought it sooner. We had a Yaris and averaged 34mpgs which was not bad, but it was a basic Yaris, with manual crank windows (BASIC)! We decided on the Prius Three Touring, LOVE IT!!! The drive is Lexus-Like, seriously, Ive driven many Lexii and I know it’s not a Lexus, I said Lexus-Like! The interior has a Luxury feel and look, very spacious and the easy drop down back seats give you tons of cargo room. The drive is fun, the motor(s) (gas & electric) make it pretty peppy, the redesigned rear suspension and added Touring suspension give it a Lexus-Like drive. The electric mode makes us feel environmentally friendly when cruising through a National Park. I’ve always liked the redesigned body and tail lights, trust me, it turns heads and I cant forget about the headlights (AMAZING) The Bi-LED Headlights are BRIGHT, people often flash their highs on me bc obviously they think my highs are on, who cares, the point is that the road is well lit when my wife and I drive at night and with the highs… OMG!!!
I didn’t think I would write this much, I don’t know if there is a word limit I apologize if this is “wordy.” I just wanted to give readers a perspective from someone who loves to drive fast and also owns a lifted Tundra (Yes we are Toyota Loyal), by no means am I paid to write this… I am a regular Joe Shmoe… just giving back, because I’ve read many posts from Prius owners and told myself I would write a review someday after a year of ownership! Now… I wish we would have waited for the Prius Prime… but… We are instead looking at buying the 2017/18 Hybrid RAV4, because it comes standard with AWD and well… IT’S A HYBRID!!! So if anyone was experiences they’d like to share about the New Hybrid RAV4… all are welcome! PS… I think the Toyota Safety Sense package is Awesome… Adaptive cruise control… where have you been all my life!!!
I get 50 mpg in my 2004 Prius on long highway trips. Less in the city, though I have not measured recently enough to remember the exact number. I suspect that 60 mpg city in my Prius would require ideal driving conditions. Cold weather kills the mileage, as do shorter trips as the car burns more gas for the first 5 miles to warm up to achieve its SULEV rating.
Jack Zeiger
We own two “Prii” – a 2011 and a 2013 (both red). We get close to 50 mpg with the 2011, and a little over 50 (about 52) with the 2013. We have also found that we do get better mileage around town. You must be driving these pretty hard to get down in the 30s. If you brake gently, you get maximum benefit from the regenerative braking. Hard braking uses regular brakes and just wastes the energy.
Rick James
In my 2012 prius that I recently purchased, I average around 57-60 MPG for my trips according to the computer. It is possible that the computer is in error, so I will be checking with my own calculations on the next fill up. I use the eco mode mainly and on some of my routes I’m able to drive solely on electricity for up to 1.5 miles or so before battery depletes. I try to accelerate efficiently from a red light to reach the speed limit and then either go into EV mode to maintain speed or if there isn’t enough battery, I keep the car running at the most fuel efficient RPM. I don’t accelerate like a snail if there is traffic around me, that is honestly what gives Prius drivers a bad reputation. Speed up a bit right before a hill and let the cars momentum assist you in reaching the top. Learning to brake is also very important with the Prius, start braking from as far from a red light as you can to recharge the battery as much as possible. It’s possible to get great fuel economy and keep up with traffic if you follow some common sense and good driving habits.
Neal G. Alldritt
I have a running average of 46.7 m.p.g. since I got the 2014 Prius new. I don’t go by the electronic m.p.g., I go by actual miles divided by gallons on a fill up to fill up: total miles, 15934 divided by gals.,341.249 or 46.7 m.p.g. average. I check my tires often and put 2 pounds over the recommended. I live in Sarasota, FL which is flat, no hills. I coast asmuch as I can to a stop. I don’t accelerate fast. I talked to a Toyota Service Manager and
he claims nothing can be done. I said can’t you tweak the computer or something and he says they can’t do a thing. I told him a couple of car manufacturers have gotten into trouble overstating the E.P.A. miles per gallon. So caviat emptor, let the buyer beware! Neal Alldritt
Ray M.
My 2015 Prius has an 11.9 gallon tank. I’ve gone 440 miles on this tank with 30 miles to go until empty. 470 miles on a tank of combination city/highway driving at 39.5 mpg is very disappointing. My trip meter indicates over 52 mpg on this tank (NOT).

The trip meter is consistently off by 10% (better) when checked against actual gas used. Plus the odometer reads 1 to 1.5 mph higher when checked using GPS and road sign checks. Very disappointed!

An Owner of 2013 from new
Ray M.

Prius run the empty gas light flash with about 25 mile to go but it still can go 50 mile when car said you can go

Tim Dennison
440 mpg divided by 11.9 = 36.97478.. so jus barely 37 mpg at best.. I’m disappointed reading these blogs cuz I’ve been look n into buying a Prius n om not too happy wit the reviews … my wife has an 06 Scion XA n gets low 20s even tho it’s meticulously Maintained drives economically keeps tires pumped a lil over what the door jam states…
2013 Prius…43 MPG mostly highway miles. When on a long highway trip can go up to 46. Frankly not impressed.
I have a 2013 Prius III. Had it for 18 months and just over 10K miles. I have averaged 43 MPG with mostly city driving in the PNW. Best single mileage was 48 MPG on a trip that was about 90% HWY. Have “re-learned” how to drive a hybrid (coasting, pulsing, etc) based on all the blogs. Happy that the mileage beats most other cars; pretty sad that it is a lot lower than EPA results.
Agree 100%!
Getting around 30-31 MPG from Prius (in temperatures of 10-11 degrees Celsius). Very disappointed with Prius. Do use EV mode a lot for a smooth drive. Only satisfaction is low tax.
Sadie Cornelius (Admin)
DK, sorry to hear you have been disappointed in the Prius but at least you are getting the tax benefit and hopefully helping the earth a little with a higher MPG than other cars. Thanks for sharing and reading!
Copper Head
I own a late 2013 Prius. For 7,596 miles it has averaged 42.41 MPG, a long way from the advertised (EPA Estimated) MPG. I am an automotive engineering professional and I drive for economy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifies, monitors, and certifies, with the force of law, a rigidly controlled test regimen by which the window placed mileage
numbers for each class of vehicle are determined. They determine the driving schedule, ambient temperatures, loads, and everything else they can think of. With this process they can make the numbers pretty much what they want them to be. It appears they want us to buy hybrids so they invent test parameters to make hybrids look good. The car companies are required, by law, to post those EPA generated numbers on the window of new cars. Of course they, the companies, are not disappointed if the numbers are favorable. The EPA can also make the numbers look bad for vehicles they want to discourage.
Hugo Rodrigues
My wife and I just purchased a brand new 2015 Prius (IV) and have driven about 800 miles so far. We have yet to break a 44MPG. I am a very smooth and careful driver. We don’t cary a lot of passengers or cargo, and we make judicial usage of the climate controls inside the vehicle. So, I can’t figure out why we are not getting 50MPG as advertised on the sticker?? I will be contacting our Toyota dealership to see if they can shed some light on this. After all, people generally purchase Prius’ for the gas savings. At 44MPG, I could have purchased an all-gas vehicle for half the amount we purchased for the 2015 Prius (IV).
Getta Wright
I am glad for your review. I purchased mine (2015) on mother’s day and had to fill up the take already at 345 miles. This isn’t making sense to me especially when the selling point was how you would go close to 600 miles before filling up. I thought once a month, hey why not? I will be calling Toyota tomorrow as well.
I heard the new Prius 4 which need least 8,000 miles before it gets over 52 mpg. I think the new engine needs get broken in first!
If I am not mistaken, the 2008 Toyota Prius was one of the first models, if not the first model, released when the hybrid concept finally came to the market. Putting it mildly, this car was one of the most anticipated releases in American auto history. Most Americans were reeling from the recent and steady upswing of petroleum prices and a huge push to get into more economical and fuel-efficient vehicles was entering full swing. Waiting lists were not weeks, but months long to buy one of these cars and when they finally were released, many auto buyers were left waiting for their car to arrive on shipment, once they finally became available.

All of this factors lead me to believe that the car in the article was indeed a lemon, but that should have been somewhat expected considering all the things that could have gone wrong. Firstly, with such a high demand, the rush to produce these cars had to be intense, and Toyota was later found to have skimped on some serious safety and quality control later on after the Prius was released.

Secondly, being that this was one of the first years the car was produced, it had to be expected that some issues were going to work their way out of the system as the cars were exposed to the open market. No amount of testing and engineering can fully forecast what will happen to a car once it is driven in real conditions for an extended period of time. Now that the car has been on the market for nearly 4 or 5 years, customer feedback and extensive testing have helped Toyota work out the bugs that original Prius owners had to suffer through.

My sister actually owns a 2010 Prius that she has had great success with. She averages about 40 to 45 miles per gallon in general, with around 55 miles per gallon on the freeway. She has an in-dash control panel that will tell you exactly what the fuel economy of the vehicle is in real time. So as you accelerate and decelerate, you can see how the overall efficiency is affected. Up to this point, the Prius has never let her down in any regard.

Actually the first prius was 1997 (it was a sedan rather than hatchback)
Jonathan baker
I own a 03 Prius and first and foremost you have to know how to drive a hybrid – there’s is a huge difference. It has to do with learning how to control the engines, gas and electric. Once you get the hang of that, you’re set!! I get 55 mpg highway and 75 to a 100 mpg in the city. The sweet spot is from 25 to 40 mph. I will never ever own a regular or non-hybrid vehicle again. I love buying gas only twice a month, sweet!!!!!

I used to owned 2008 Prius which got 55 mph but my new 2015 Prius 4 only gets 45 mpg.
Kathy Faust
Why are companies allowed to blatantly lie about the MPG of their vehicles? It really doesn’t surprise me that Toyota would do this. If they’re willing to lie about cars leading to several deaths, why not lie about mileage. It’s just another reason I choose to buy American-made cars.

Throw in the fact that the government is more than happy to throw out tax credits to hybrid owners and it’s just another reason to be upset about the lies. People were able to purchase Prius vehicles and get the tax credit, even though the numbers were not as good as stated. Where’s my tax credit for my Ford Focus that gets 35 MPG? If the Toyota Prius owners got the credit, I want one, too.

I can’t imagine buying a Prius and finding out that the numbers weren’t that good. Not only do you end up stuck with an ugly, low-powered car, but you’ve still got crappy gas mileage. Who wants that? The one thing Prius had going for it was the mileage. Of course, I actually wonder how many Prius owners realize that their mileage is so bad. Most people just accept the numbers as fact and never question why they’re still going to the gas station as often as before.

American car companies don’t lie? What about Firestone and Ford with all the deaths of the Explorers with faulty tires they continued to sell? And while Toyotas and Hondas got such great mileage for so many years, the American car companies continued to make their gas guzzlers and overweight crap until they absolutely had to get better mpg to survive. Did they survive? Aren’t most American cars made in Mexico anyway; home of the president’s biggest enemies? Something tells me you also think the president doesn’t lie either.
I’m looking into getting a Prius, and am sad that Toyota, a company I thought I could love and trust, would not live up to the mileage on the sticker. But I may just get one anyway. My Scion xB gets pretty good mileage for a car that can hold five people so comfortably (about 27 mpg), but I am looking to save more with a Prius when I get more cash.
Another sad fact is that my local Toyota dealer (St. Louis city) was charging too much in extra processing fees. After they lost the case and I feel got off too easy in fines, I got a $50 service certificate (only from this same shady dealer) or a $100 off a new purchase certificate. So I now had to try to trust the same dealer to do more work when they ripped me off in the past. Do I blame Toyota or the shady dealer? I will not buy from them again or give them more money for any service. I try to think Toyota is not so bad, and that this is the shady American auto dealer at work who has been swindling many for so long.
I try not to talk it up too much, because they are far too busy due to being so good and trustworthy; the place to go in St. Louis in the city for Toyota repairs is Jamco.
Eye on the consumption
Not sure if it’s living in a colder location, but my Prius doesn’t average the mileage it used to get. I was able to average about 47 mpg, and I’m now getting an average of 43. I noticed I got closer to 50 mpg in the summer. Also, since I retired, I do more stop and go travel and less highway travel. This makes a considerable difference in the mpg. Too bad that many drivers are fixated on high speed, just to get to a location 10 minutes earlier. Keeping the speed as consistent as possible, gliding in to stop, and gradual acceleration all contribute to optimizing mileage. Wish I could afford a newer model, but don’t have the “extra” $10,000 to get a more efficient model.

Stephen Beckett
We’re getting 39.2 mpg calculated from Gas Stubs, after driving 11,000 miles. Mileage in town is worse (38 mpg) than on trips (45 mpg). In town we pretty much only have short trips of 5 to 10 min – so all the CC warm up is wasted. We don’t baby the car and or all obsessed about mileage. We drive it like any other car. Run the heat and AC as needed. These efficiencies are better that the average car and no where near what is advertised.

Remi Parent
I just test drove a 2006 Prius 2 weeks ago that only had 53,000 km on it. I did mostly highway (about 85%) and some city driving (total trip was 188 KM). Set to cruise control at 100 km/h (62 MPG) to go there and 105 KM/H (65 MPH) to come back. I averaged 48 MPG for the total trip. The outside temp was between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius and I was alone in the car (I’m a small guy). Although that is very good, I would have really liked to go 50+ MPG due to my very conservative driving. I get 36 MPG with my Pontiac Vibe driving the same way. Going up hills was no problems at all (some seem to think that the under powered car will have a hard time going up hills).

Overall I liked the car, I didn’t notice the handling issue too much like some talk about, but I didn’t “race” the car either nor do I do it with my vibe. I have to agree to a certain point though that if you would need to make a quick turn to avoid an object it doesn’t seem as responsive and quick to act. Only once I can remember in the last 10 years of driving where I really needed to apply very quick maneuver to avoid a bad driver. It was an extremely close call and I will admit that if I would have had the Prius I’m not so sure I would have missed the other car (I may have briefly touched it that’s all, compared to my vibe). Mind you the vibe is not exactly a sports car either so who knows, maybe the Prius would have handled the same way too.

As far as cargo room goes there is nothing to complain about here. With my Pontiac Vibe I find I have lots of cargo room and its one of the reason why I bought it (MPG and cargo room combined with excellent reliability). And the Prius interest me for all the same reasons (cargo room, MPG and excellent reliability).

I find I have just a little more cargo room with the vibe, the trunk is about the same size but deeper. The Prius has the battery underneath hence the not so deep trunk. Overall I really liked the Prius and the big seller of course would have to be with the MPG, most of my driving is highway and I was hesitant because I kept hearing how the hybrid was doing better in city driving but according to most reviews it does better on highway. I’m happy that I have been able to test drive one and although I very much like my Pontiac Vibe but I am looking at a used Prius for the better MPG.

I own both a Pruis and Altima Hybrid. The Pruis has less that 5k miles and is currently getting 39.5 MPG (very disappointing). But I do live in a cold climate and purchase gasoline with ethanol. So I expected to get less that the 51 MPG advertised but not 20% less. My cars are garaged so, I do not fell a need to start the car and warm it up before driving. Within 2 miles of driving the cars are warmed up. The Altima driving the same roads gets 35.9 mpg. The Altima is advertised to get 35 mpg city. So, bottom line both cars get the same fuel and drive the same roads. The Pruis does not get the advertised mpg but, the Altima exceeds the mpg. So, Toyota what is wrong with your advertised MPG! I would rather know that your vehicle gets 40 MPG up front than be lied too!!

My friend bought a hybrid Toyota Prius around the same time I bought my highly-efficient but still traditionally powered Hyundai Elantra. The cars are both 2009 models and on both or our parts we are generally very satisfied with the way each of these vehicles have worked for us over the past few years.

However, I would be lying to you if I did not say that I am envious of the fuel economy that my friend achieves with her Prius. I get somewhere around thirty miles to the gallon in my Hyundai and that is certainly not a gas guzzling number to achieve. With my usage, that generally means I have to fill my tank about every other week. My friend gets nearly twice that though and her visits to the pump are somewhere around every month and a half!

Granted, her car was quite a bit more expensive than mine and certainly was in higher demand, but I think over the years, it is making up for the extra cost by saving her so many dollars in fuel.

Kathy Faust
I have to say that I would be less than happy to find out that the Prius I purchased had poorer gas mileage than stated. I know that these numbers are usually beefed up a bit, but that is ridiculous. After all, it’s not like people are buying the Prius for looks. The main selling feature is the supposed better gas mileage. I really hope the government steps in and requires that these numbers be changed to correctly state the mileage. I actually wonder how many other people have noticed that the numbers aren’t as good as stated.

Personally, I want a hybrid that is American made. The only exception would be a Honda. Honda made many green strides long before any other company even considered it. However, I prefer American made, especially when it comes to a large purchase. Not only do I care about craftsmanship, but I also care about supporting our country. I’m happy to be a Ford owner because they are also one of the few companies who turned down government assistance. That’s saying a lot.

I currently own a 2010 Ford Focus and while the mileage isn’t perfect, it still gets around 35 MPG on the highway. The numbers may actually be bit a bit better since I installed a K&N air filter.

One of the most interesting facts about the Toyota Prius is that it is only available as a hybrid. This is actually unique; considering this is not the case with other hybrid cars (most have both a hybrid and a gas version). The author quickly points out that most people who are aware of this fact will think that a Prius owner really cares about the environment.

Those made me think about the different reasons for someone to buy a hybrid car. Of course, gas savings is probably the number one reason, although the author also points out that there is considerable variety in terms of the actual mileage achieved. Many other people would buy such a car because it produces fewer emissions. That is certainly a great reason to buy a Prius. Some folks would even consider such a car due to how much quieter it is than a normal, gas powered engine.

I think it is very important to be very clear about the reasons for buying the hybrid Prius. Noting the concerns of the author, it is possible that you could be disappointed if the main reason was simply gas savings and a higher mile per gallon figure.

Kathy Faust
First off, I am pretty impressed that you only put 5,000 miles on your car in a year. I work at home and I put more than that on mine in a few months time. Of course I have a young son who has me drive him everywhere. And since we live in the country, I pretty much have to drive anywhere we want to go because there is nothing close to us, which was part of the motivation in moving here.

I wonder if the speed you drive has anything to do with the gas mileage you get and how that differs in a hybrid car as compared to a gas only car. I know years ago they were saying that if you went over 55 you were wasting gas, but they may have been saying that to try and get people to slow down.

I know I use more gas in town because of all the stopping and idling, even waiting on trains sometimes. I get better mileage on the highway, but it would be interest to see if there was a difference in the mileage based on how fast I was going. I might have to try that out one of these days and just hope I don’t get pulled over for it. Maybe I can claim it was in the interest of science.

Kathy Faust
I am really not shocked to read that this car did not live up to your expectations. It’s nothing against Toyota. It’s just a typical business plan. They make one type of product look horrible or drive up the cost to use the product so high that no one can afford to use it. (I’m speaking of gasoline powered cars here) Then, they come out with an alternative that seems much more affordable and makes the owner feel as if they are doing something for the environment. And that is all good and well except for one thing.

The hybrid electric car actually came out in usable (and I use that term to avoid anyone pointing out that people were making their own versions in back yards) form decades ago. They worked very well too. In fact, they were given to celebrities to try out. The problem is that they worked too well and the oil companies weren’t quite willing to give up all those profits yet. However, after seeing it in action, they knew it was more than feasible. So, they killed the idea and found new ways to drive up oil prices so they could have a nice stockpile of profit. No, this is not even close to a new idea.

The author makes some interesting points in this article. Perhaps the biggest shock (at least it was a shock to me, given all of the media attention the Prius has generated) was the fact that their Prius did not come anywhere close to achieving the promised miles per gallon numbers. The author is getting mid to high 40’s on the highway and in the high 30’s in the city.

This made me think about the actual EPA mileage ratings. Perhaps the rating system is flawed? Or, maybe there is a lot of variety when dealing with the mileage of hybrid cars. To me, the idea of a car being able to sense when it does not need to use gas power means that the actual mileage achieved will probably depend on the type of use the car receives. Therefore, it is quite possible that hitting the promised numbers may not happen. If someone places higher demands on their Prius and requires the car to work harder and longer, then the gas engine will be engaged longer. This means less of the promised mileage savings.

One of the cool features of this article is that the author even points out some of the more unusual incentives to buy the Toyota Prius. At least if the reader happens to live in California. It seems that California is trying very hard to convince people to buy hybrid cars. The government is now allowing certain hybrid cars to also use the carpool lane, even if there is only one person (the driver) in the car. The author also points out that this privilege is only extended to certain types of hybrid vehicles. The ones that live up to their promises.

By living up to their promises, the author points out this means the actual mileage the cars achieve. For California, this standard is at least 45 miles per gallon, which many reports indicate that the Prius does obtain. According to the EPA estimates, there are only two other hybrid vehicles which currently meet this standard. That is certainly something to feel proud about; being able to drive in the carpool lanes is simply an additional bonus. It is also nice to know that you are helping the environment.

In my opinion, there is so much cool stuff going on with this car. Toyota is still hard at work on the hybrid model and the Prius line. After all, the Prius is a relatively new product for Toyota, and the manufacturer loves to keep its brands for as long as possible, building them up in new and different ways. For example, in early 2012 Toyota revealed that it was planning a new concept car for its latest United States line. While it is not fully certain that the NS4 (the designation of the concept model) will be part of the Prius line, it certainly seems like Toyota is treating it as such.

This new model will be a plug-in car. Essentially, this means that it is fully dedicated to plug-in features while still remaining a hybrid, a move that puts it well beyond any of the current Prius models on the street. The goal is to make a more fuel efficient car that appeals to a generation that loves its technology as green as possible. Will it work? Who knows – right now plug in cars still have a very doubtful future. But Toyota is working to make the NS4 as attractive as it can. It has redesigned the inside of the car to ensure it has reduced component sizes and weight to save on fuel. It also has a fancy HMI, or human-machine interface that uses a touchscreen to let you control all the media in the car, as well as air conditioning – while also showing you all the details of the internal NS4 workings, such as battery power.

Who knows what this new car will look like when it actually hits the market, but it is using some fascinating technologies. Among them are hydrophobic coatings which help disperse water and make for better visibility, anti-fog films that do the same for mist, a layer to absorb ultraviolet light, and anti-solar film designed to improve wireless signals inside the car – and that’s just on the windows. It sounds like much of this technology would also look good on a more traditional Prius model, and it is likely we will see the features on Toyota cars before the plug-in model is finally released.

Of course, the Prius is aimed almost entirely on young Americans. For other market demographics, the company has other product ranges. There are hybrid Lexis models for older Americans that do not mind spending for both luxury and the chance to save as much gas as they can.

In all this talk of plug-in technology and switching from gas to battery (or ideally, only using the battery for quick trips and kicking the gas only for longer trips, the goal of plug-in hybrids), people often forget that the technology itself is subject to change. The lithium ion batteries of present-day cars may also be replaced by more efficient technologies in the future, leading to revolutions that Toyota, among other companies, will be quick to jump on.

While 60 MPG sounds crazy, it is a very true number, even for city conditions. In fact, there are many ways that you can improve on this number by altering your driving habits. Studies have been done that show people driving hybrids like the Prius actually adjust their driving habits with the knowledge that they are behind the wheel of a gas-saving vehicle. If the result was a positive one, this would be even more reason for you to drive a hybrid and you probably would have seen the results on a number of different car commercials right alongside the amount of gas you can save! Unfortunately, the numbers were horrible. It turns out that people, subconsciously, tend to think of their car usage in terms of gallons used, not necessarily distance or time. This means that when people buy hybrids, they tend to drive more and more freely. In fact, they often drive so much more that they negate any of the energy they would have saved by switching from a hybrid to a normal car.

If you are worried about following this trend and rendering your purchase a little moot on an environmental scale, then concentrate on how many gallons you use after buying your Prius, too. There are many different ways to save gas that have nothing to do with waiting for prices to go down or not driving at all. So when you are out on the road, keep a few of these tips in mind. For example, you can save a lot of gas simply by checking your air filter every few years to ensure it is clean and unclogged. Not something you need to worry about with your new Prius, but something to put on the list for the future. If you do not use a reliable tire services that regularly aligns your wheels, start visiting one. Properly aligned wheels can have similar beneficial effects.

All the hybrid technology in the world cannot save you if your tires are deflated. Deflated tires, while feeling smoother, also make you use quite a bit more gas. So when you take your car in for its other check-ups also check the air – or just do it yourself. Sometimes the easiest way to save on gas is just to slow down. Fortunately, hybrid models make this easier because they have limited speed and acceleration capabilities, but this is also an important point to keep in mind in slower neighborhoods. By driving the speed limit, you are not only avoiding annoying tickets but also saving on gas. For every five miles slower you drive, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7 percent (although it’s probably less than that on a hybrid model). In additional slowness, start working on your driving skills, too. Swift starts and stops and sharp turns will all use more gas than moving more smoothly and slowly. On the same note, try to use the brake pedal less often, too.

2012 Prius III, and have a lifetime average of 53mpg (all driving). My last trip, which was 75% highway & 25% city driving, I averaged 62.4mpg.

Take your parking brake off or something!

I purchased this car used last fall. I do not take it out of town much, but have gone on a couple of out-of-town (one out of state) trips and the mileage was pretty much the same as in town. I get around 41-43 mpg all the time. I expected better, but it is still way above what I was getting with my Nissan Ultima. I recently had my tires aired the way it is suggested to increase MPG and see no difference. I have played around with the gliding, etc. and it helps some. Not a big difference. I have to say that while I am not totally thrilled with the gas mileage I do like the car overall and the gas mileage is much better.

Right now I pay less per month for gas with my daughter driving the Nissan back and forth to school and me driving the Prius all the time compared to when it was just me driving the Nissan all the time (back and forth to work not a long drive but maybe 3X as long as my daughter’s daily drive). I am thinking about taking it into the dealer to ask them about the mileage. Has anybody done this and gotten any better results?

Kathy Faust
I find it very alarming how many companies are getting away with false advertisements like the one about how many mpg you were supposed to get with this car. Sure, other factors are involved, such as the speed you drive and how many stops you have to make, but if they can make a claim like that, they should already have accounted for the average driver and what they do with their cars. And the saddest part is, they most probably are not the only ones that make false claims like that. I wonder what would happen if you called them out on it. Would they do any research or would they tell you some way that you could make your mpg any better? Or would they just make excuses like so many companies have gotten good at doing? I would just be interested to see how they would respond and what tips they would give you, if they gave you any at all.

If you go to a store and they have an item marked wrong, they have to honor what that says, why don’t car companies have to do the same thing? Or, maybe they do and we just don’t know about it. In fact, I might have to look into that because I have been car shopping and I don’t want to get duped.

Reading this article made me wonder about how exactly the various car manufacturers determine their mileage numbers. After all, the author of this piece clearly is arguing that the manufacturer posted mpg numbers for their Toyota Prius is completely wrong. In fact, the numbers that they are achieving are significantly lower than the posted mpg numbers. I wonder if the numbers are just flat out fabrications or if there is something else going on here?

Possibly the manufacturer claim of up to 60 mpg on the open highway was achieved in testing under ideal conditions. The problem with this is that most people in the real world do not drive under ideal conditions for the vast majority of their time behind the wheel. I suppose that ultimately the exact mileage numbers someone achieves is going to be directly related to the driving conditions and even your specific driving style.

In addition to providing good mileage, it is also worth noting that California now allows Prius owners to use the carpool lane.

Kathy Faust
Wow. How ticked off were you when you realized the truth of the matter? I would have been livid. In fact, I can’t say I am happy at all right now just reading about it. I have a couple of friends who own these cars and they do love them, but I do not think that they have really taken a look at their mileage. Even if they did, they might be happy with it anyhow just because it is still better than what they were getting before they bought this car, which brings me to the important stuff.

Why do they think they need to lie to people? People are still getting better mileage than they were, so they would probably still buy the car even if they were not expecting such high mpg. It is not necessary or responsible to lie to the public in order to get their money. And really, all companies stretch the truth a little. They just usually are not stupid enough to do it in a measurable way. I mean, it’s not like they advertised that it would help you pick up women and then it didn’t. It is a flat out lie. I would be taking that up with the company for sure. I know I won’t be buying anything from them if this is how they operate.

Kathy Faust
I, too, would have been skeptical of a car that claimed it got better gas mileage in the city than on the highway. However, I would have been extremely irritated to find out that my car was getting much, much less MPG than stated. A lot of people currently make vehicle choices based on MPG and with good reason. With gas prices double, sometimes triple, what they were a decade ago, it pays to find a car that has great gas mileage. To find out that a car you’ve bought gets over 20 miles less per gallon than stated is unacceptable.

I can’t say that I would ever buy a Toyota in the first place. After the incident a few years back with the sticking gas peddle, I would never buy a Toyota. The company cared more about saving themselves than saving lives and that’s just sick. To find out that they’re also lying about the performance of their vehicles just throws gasoline on the flames – pun intended.

I would be interested to learn if more hybrids are closer in the numbers than the Toyota Prius claims to be or if they’re all overstating the performance. For now, I’ll stay away from hybrids until all the kinks are worked out.

Adam Bynum
I bought a 2015 Prius 3 and it has just over 6000 miles. The computer says I average 47 mpg but I reset the trip odometer at each fill up and I barely get 350 miles from a full tank. The computer says I get 47 but I really get 35 mpg or less. Something tells me that those of you claiming 50+ mpg are reading what the computer displays and not actually calculating it for yourselves.
It always amazes me a little bit when large quantities of automobiles or any other vehicle for that matter, get recalled due to some design defect or problem that was missed in the testing phases. It would seem that the technology has gotten so great and is so advanced that there is literally no scenario that could not be predicted under real-world conditions.

However, nearly every year that is proven to not be the case as we deal with all kinds of issues that the real world throws at these cars and they subsequently cannot handle. For that reason, it does not surprise me that the early numbers released regarding the economics of a hybrid car, namely the Prius, were not reflective of the real world results.

There are a lot of environmental things that can affect the efficiency of the car. One thing is the drivers themselves. The way a car is driven will vastly impact the end result of fuel efficiency. Another is the temperature of the air and the quality of the fuel. There are many others, and it all adds up to a wide range of results.

I’m getting around 32 mpg with my 2014 prius v. Disappointed, to be sure.
I own a highly efficient vehicle that although it is not a hybrid, does achieve about the same numbers that you said your 2008 Prius does. It is a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with a four cylinder engine and a manual transmission. It is a vehicle that is designed specifically with fuel efficiency in mind and I have compared it extensively to other cars in its class and I think it compares very favorably with most of them, regardless of whether or not it is a hybrid vehicle.

One thing that I think makes a huge difference is the control over with which I drive the car. Being that it is a standard transmission (a “stick-shift” if you will) and I control when and how the car shifts from one gear to another, I have a great amount of control over how the car uses fuel. If I am really driving aggressively with the car, it uses more gas, but if I stay in higher gears and really baby the gas, I can make it last for a very long time.

Loving it
I’ve only had my 2012 Prius (level 2) for a week so of course I’ve been watching the mpg. My 20 mile each was comute is from the suburgs, through the shopping district and to the edge of town at mostly at 45 mph with a mix of areas with close traffic lights and areas with light a couple of miles apart. I’m getting mpg from 55-61 mpg. When my husband drove it, it only got 42. I don’t now if it’s his due to his quick start and stop style or if its because he didn’t get stopped at many lights to have a chance to use battery power as much. I was hoping to get 50 mpg so I’m really happy to see 59.9 and 61.1 numbers. For the record, I’m not trying to drive differently, no especially slow stops or starts. Just driving and already finding myself not even thinking about it. However, I am in Florida so no hills. I think my daily route may be optimum conditions for good mpg in this car. I notice the official MPG label hs a ” * ” beside the numbers. The explanations points out that different conditions, terain and drivnlg styles with return results anywhere from 35 to 60, if memory serves me correctly.

I felt this was a great article and really great information for people that are considering the Prius. Gas is super expensive these days, and at the same time, everyone wants to do good things for the environment. The thing is that you’re balancing a practical need to save money and have good gas mileage, with the need to have an environmentally friendly car.

Unfortunately a lot of people can push the second need deep down because it’s not an immediate need in their life’s most of the time. That is why I think articles like this are really great because it answers the questions that many people have and it allows them to make an environmentally friendly decision without worrying about the practical implications. They can have a general idea of what type of miles per gallon the car has and whether it will work in their town, and as part of their lifestyle. I think this was really good work.

I think also California has made a good choice because they really have an obligation to reward drivers that go green, because of all the waste and smog there.

Hey, guys, thank you for this! This is a great article! You really tested the car out extensively, and didn’t make a longwinded YouTube video about it. Sorry, to go on a tangent, but it’s like every good review these days is in video format and sometimes I’d just like to scan an article and get the facts I need instead of listening to someone ramble on about how they have to go to the grocery store after they finish filming their review. Sorry, I just had to get that out. Lol, I guess it makes me guilty of rambling as well.

Anyway, this is such a great article because it gives me the real scope of what I can expect from the Prius in my town and for my commute, and your subtitles made finding the information very quick and easy.

It is interesting that the American hybrids are getting so much less fuel economy than the Honda and the Toyota. I hate to say it, but those brands have always had a good reputation, and I guess they just brought the same quality level into their hybrid production as well.

This is an interesting article, giving a different picture than what people usually expect to see and hear about their cars. The author is questioning whether the mileage numbers that the manufacturer claims for the Toyota Prius is accurate.

Of course, it is also quite possible that the real story depends on your perspective. I think that since we are dealing with a hybrid vehicle, there will quite a lot of variance in terms of the MPG numbers that you could expect to see. The cause of this is in how the vehicle operates. You are going to have times when the electric motor is used alone, times when the gas motor is used alone and times when both are being used together.

In the end, I think all the manufacturer can do is make a basic assumption about the type of driving a owner is likely to engage in. Then, they make their calculations based on those assumptions. This can lead to one driver achieving MPG stats very close to (or even above) what the posted numbers are, and another driver not coming even close to those numbers.

Kathy Faust
I have to wonder about the other numbers that are used to sell these cars now. If the mpg is off, there are so many other numbers that could be off too. And I am willing to be that most Prius owners do not keep track like you do, so they may not even notice the difference in the claim and the truth, which is just kind of sad.

It is really nice to assume that most people who own a Prius care about the environment, but I know quite a few people who own them and care nothing about the environment. In fact, they probably drive more now than they ever did, just because they think they are saving money. In the long run, they are probably spending just as much because they increased their drive time. And now they are wasting electricity as well.

Part of the reason that Prius became so popular is because it is featured so much in the media. You can hardly watch a movie at all today without seeing a Prius zipping down the road at some point. What the media shoves down our throats, we tend to swallow.

I found this article to be incredibly interesting. I have often thought that it must be very difficult for the auto industry to really put mileage per gallon numbers on all of their vehicles. This article certainly would lead me to believe my original conclusion is correct: that there is a lot of variability in terms of the specific mpg numbers that each individual person will achieve.

The author of this article seemed to be quite disappointed with their actual mpg numbers from their new Toyota Prius hybrid. According to the article, when the car was purchased the mpg numbers posted on the sticker were 60 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway (although I wonder if maybe those numbers should be reversed, since ordinarily you have better mpg on the highway).

I think the bottom line is that those mpg numbers should not really be taken too seriously. The ultimate factor of the type of gas mileage you will personally achieve depends on how hard you are on your vehicle (accelerating, braking, etc…) and what type of conditions you put the car under.

I don’t know how they are all able to lie to us and get away with it. My 2008 Prius only gets about 38 MPG average. The emperor is not wearing any clothes!

Alex Schenker (Admin)
In our experience, that’s near the low end of MPG’s for Priuses. Our 2008 Prius, for example, gets an average of about 41 MPG. I think it depends largely on the route you’re taking – the altitude changes, varieties of speeds, etc. For example, on highway trips we typically average somewhere in the 50 MPG range.

There’s also other factors that impact performance – air pressure in tires, for example. You could check with your garage/ Toyota dealer and ask them to make sure you’re car is operating at peak MPG potential.

Jim Shavalian
I just purchased a 2015 Prius Two & I’m getting 42 MPG. I live in Los Angeles & we drive around 80 miles per hour on the freeway. Maybe that’s why I get the lower MPG…
Loving it
I was told that the mpg rating is based on average driving conditions, including mountainous regions as well as flat lands. In the smaller print under the big mpg numbers is a statement to this effect and gives a much larger range of 35 – 60.

My 2008 with 134,000 miles on it gets upward of 66 mpg at an average speed of 40 mph. And that was on route 1 in NH along the crowded summer seacoast with traffic lights every half mile or better. Better have your car checked out something must be afoot, or perhaps you have a heavy foot on the lower right pedal?