2005 Toyota Prius Super Mileage 2nd Gen
Peter Neilson's picture

Toyota Prius Owner Drives 5226 Miles On One Tank Of Gasoline

I honestly did not believe it, but it was true. This Toyota Prius owner contacted me and sent me the results. What I was about to learn blew my mind on how he did this, even though the technology has been around for quite some time.
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Okay, so I know what you are probably thinking, how in the world did this guy get over 5,000 miles on one tank of gasoline, Trust me, my mind was blown also. I have to keep the name of this Prius owner a secret in order to protect his identity.

I will say that he contacted me, I did not go looking for this. This person and I had a great chat for the better part of 45 minutes, and he told me how he had been achieving this. Here is what I found out.

The Prius Was Telling The Truth
Here is the thing, I was about to call BS on this but something told me that the Prius was telling the truth. It was in the numbers on the display. The reason I knew it was correct, Prius resets the trip ODO on the display screen everytime gasoline is added. It was then my mind began to bend.

Toyota Prius Energy Monitor

I had to figure out how he could have possible done this? Was it solar cells? Was it an extra traction battery? Did he have some freakishly long down hill drive to work then have the car towed home every time? The only way to get miles like this is to drive the car with it on, in Ready, and moving. It was killing me.

The Prius Had Another Fuel Source, But Not What I Thought
Once the guy told me how he did it, I felt pretty dumb. The whole time I thought he had invented some super hypermile driving style. Nope, it was just a way to keep moving. The source? Natural Gas. That was his big secret. He had done a conversion that allowed his Prius to start up on gasoline, then switch to CNG once it was up to operating temperature.

Toyota Prius Converted To Natural Gas Saves Money

This heavily minimized his gasoline usage enough to where he was able to fill up after 5226 miles of driving on CNG and hybrid battery power. We talked then about the benefits of CNG if you can get it for cheap. This is where I was also astounded.

CNG For Prius Makes It Even Less Expensive To Maintain
I love cheap maintenance, in fact my 3 secrets to cheaper maintenance guide can show you how. I now want to add this into my list of things to do.

CNG is a far cleaner burning fuel. It burns so clean that it will actually clear up carbon deposits, that can cause oil consumption in your Prius. Not only that, but it will also greatly extend the life of your oil changes as well. Mystery man X, told me he recently changed his oil, at 40,000 miles. No joke. He had been doing oil sampling to ensure the engine was still being protected, and every oil sample came back fine.

The reason, he said, that the oil got changed, was because he felt he needed to. He could have, according to him even gone longer. This was crazy to think about. I have heard going 25,000 miles on oil changes under stringent supervision, but this blew me away.

Conclusion
If CNG sounds like it could be something for you, let me know. I would be happy to entertain the notion of doing more research to help people that want to get the most out of their Prius. I think that If you live in an area with plenty of fueling stations, and if it is at least $1 more per gallon cheaper, it would make sense to do it.

You won't see an immediate return on your investment, which could cost anywhere from $3500 to $6000 but you will gain those added benefits along with cost savings overtime.

Thanks for reading, See you in a Prius story where I am discussing why Carista is the best $20 tool for your Toyota Prius.

Check out my article 5 Top Common Prius Repairs, that can help you with fixing your Prius.

Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Adjunct Instructor of automotive technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.


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Comments

CNG is not common in the states. When living in Peru, I saw CNG all over the place. Their conversions cost less, because labor costs less. They appeared frequently on taxis. The dead give-away was the bright yellow tank, usually where the gas tank had been.
my friend says his moms prius prime only used $10 in gas in the year and a half she has owned it. has about 5000 miles on it. only uses it to get to the store and small errands. plug in works for you if you dont have a long distance to drive.
Makes sense if you don't drive far on a daily basis. Wouldn't work for me since I am unable to charge where I live and my commute to work each way is a 30 mile minimum.
You need to see some real proof on this. There's another way to get that kind of a display on a Prius. You'll notice that the average mph is 51, which is perfectly doable in one. Next, yes, the Prius resets the mileage every time you FILL UP. It does not, however, reset the mileage if you only put 3/4 of a tank in. If you never fill up, it'll never reset and you'll eventually get that display.
I'm not trying to game the system just to get a doctored screen readout. I'm actually looking for ways to increase MPG and overall cost per gallon. CNG seems to be the way to go based on this particular person and the fact that there's a CNG refuel station down the street from my house that charges $2.44.
My 2005 resets every time I put gas in, even if I just top off my tank just before a road trip. It is actually kind of annoying.
The taxis in China run on Natural Gas. They carry it in their trunks. It's for pollution reasons. The cities are becoming much cleaner now. I'm not a car guy, but if it seems to me that if we gave up cars and bought scooters for shorter trips (my Honda Metropolitan was 700 dollars used) and if we converted cars to natural gas, perhaps we would have less issues with CO2 in the atmosphere without the cost of electric cars. Sometimes, perhaps, the cheaper solutions adopted in poorer countries are better than the expensive solutions in richer ones, if we bother to visit and look.
I'm interested in learning more about this such as MPG estimates and more details about getting something like this setup. I live in San Jose and a quick Google search tells me this weird "fueling" station 2 blocks away from me, that I drive by everyday, is actually a CNG refuel station.
Hi Peter, I would love to know more about where to get CNG since I'm very interested in lowering the maintenance cost (this is why I got a Prius). I live in Greensboro, NC currently and would like to learn about how to go about getting a CNG. Thank you! April
obviously you don't know what you are talking about. the rest is drive on electricity. that's impressive but not that much. check out records for chevrolet volt owners at voltstats.net
The cars are two different animals. The whole point of this story is that the CNG conversion allowed the owner to drive 5226 miles on one tank of gasoline. He used the gasoline on startup, then it switched to CNG and ran on that primarily. Volt owners have a much larger capacity battery that can totally trump a non plug in Prius so.. I do know exactly what I am talking about. It is a second gen non plug in Prius, not a Prime or Plug in that could be compared to the Volt. Thank you for your response.