Our 2008 Prius isn't getting good mileage

Our 2008 Prius not getting good mileage. Not even close to what our 2005 got. Immediately when we got it last early September (read: still very very warm out) it was about 10 mpg less than the other one. We called and were told it needed to break in. Then it kept being worse and worse. Then I took it to NYC on 2.5 tanks. We were told it was our driving (huh?) or the weather or the gas. We tried every gas on Southern Maine. Meanwhile my

father is using the exact same gas–we plan this–and he’s getting 40-58 mpg. We’re getting 20-28. We finally say this is crazy and go in, they bring in a field rep and they tell us , AGAIN, it’s the weather. But…our friend down the street has a 2007 and she gets 42 on the coldest days? My Dad’s never even when it’s BELOW ZERO in Maine gets below 40 WHEN HE TURNS IT ON!

Last night they got very angry at us and asked us to be more reasonable. Be more reasonable? Well, wait, we bought a car with a sticker on the side that said 45/49 mpg. Now they’ve given us a SECOND 2008 to compare. Here’s the issue–one of the Toyota people told me they’re having this problem with 2008’s–that they aren’t being made as efficiently. She was a secretary or something and she said she’d heard this. BUT when we ask anyone at the corporate office in CA–who now have called us to talk to us and tell us to relax that the car is fine–they said that’s not true. The field rep wanted to know who said that. I smell a rat. Why on earth would Toyota take a car that has surpassed GM in selling more of one model and making more money ever on a car do that? Would they? And why are they fighting us? What’s going on? This, to me, is a story. And maybe not a pretty one. Something is fishy. Oh, and that other 2008 they gave us last night: 20 mpg. As one girl at Toyota said to me “That’s less than my SUV”–JUST what a prius buyer wants to hear.

First, how are you measuring the mileage?

Second, that secretary, just does not know what she was talking about. Beginning with 2008 a new method of measuring the EPA mileage estimate was put in place. It is based on some more reliable methods. It resulted in most cars of all kinds getting lower, but more realistic ratings. The cars themselves (over all) have not changed.

A major element of mileage is the driver. I have exceed the estimated mileage from my first car in 1965 to my current car. On each one I exceeded the estimated mileage. That was seven different cars from three manufacturers. I tend to drive like a little old lady so few people will want to follow my example. The Prius is more subject to this than many cars.

I would guess the dealer offering you the opportunity to try another car is to rule the driver/driving conditions issue out. For now take it easy and play along with them Frankly I could not quite understand what was going on between you the dealer and Toyota, but I am not at all sure the are trying to pull anything.

You’ll find much discussion of Prius mileage at
Loads of information there for any Prius driver. The’ve seen it all.

Statistically, somebody has to get stuck with the bad ones. I have heard that the people who should be helping you have been uncompromizing in the past. Not only that, but I have no faith in Toyota’s ability to fix the problem even if they tried. I hope that there is a first time in your case. One woman in Caribou Maine was told that “we stand behind our cars.” She asked them “Yaah, but how far behind them.” She also made the mechanic blow a gasket when she asked him to put a couple bags of long-grain rice in the trunk so the car would go farther before the next breakdown. If I had known how great a car the 1983 Camry was; I would have bought a new one. I missed the boat on that one.

How are you figuring fuel mileage? They gave you another 08 last night and you’ve already figured on 20 MPG? Have you done that much driving since last night?
Fill in a few blanks here first.

Don’t read too much into what a field office secretary said or the field rep wanting to know who said what. There’s going to be an official corporate line they follow and they can’t have a hundred people saying a 100 different things.

Use your trip odometer and over a few full tank fills to decide on mileage. The computer reading can be off due to bad inputs. 20-28MPG seems excessively low indicating an error.

Is it the car; or, is it you? Switch cars, for a week, with father. See how your car fares with him. If it’s fares the same as with you, then it rules you out as the causative factor, doesn’t?

Why do you do you all question her methodology? As long as she uses the same method to measure fuel economy that she used to measure the fuel economy of the the 2005 Prius, the difference is legitimate.

Caitlin, why did you trade in your 2005 Prius? Why did you give up a two year old car that you liked? You could still be driving that car and not have any of these problems.

Toyota is having quality problems that come with the sales growth it has recently enjoyed. If I were in your shoes, I would convince Toyota to take the Prius back and buy a Honda Fit or a Nissan Versa. They both get pretty good fuel economy. The Honda Fit is quality vehicle with about as much room, and they both cost a lot less to own. You can use the money you save by not buying a hybrid to buy a little more gas and you will come out ahead financially.

If you are dead set on a hybrid, check out the Honda Civic Hybrid. Toyota doesn’t deserve your business any more.

What’s wrong with simply asking how the mileage is being checked and why have they not bothered to respond to some questions?
Maybe they’re basing their mileage readings on gauge movement and comparing the new Prius gauge to the old Prius gauge.
The OP stated themselves they got another new 08 “just last night” and already determined it was also getting 20 MPG the next day. That’s a pretty fast determination in my book without some serious mileage being accrued overnight.

If this car were really stinking the joint up that bad on the fuel mileage then the CEL should be illuminated and there should be a code or two stored.

There is nothing wrong with asking. I just wanted to know why you were asking. So I asked.

I understand now. I figured that she actually measured fuel economy rather than trusting the gauge.

So, Caitlin, how did you measure your fuel economy?

You may want to check to see if your odometer is accurate. Find a known distance and see if the odometer registers the correct number of miles. I had this problem years ago–I bought a used AMC 6 cylinder Javelin. It needed tires and I found a set of used tires that were two sizes bigger than what was on the car, but they fit. I was driving on the Interstate across Iowa and couldn’t believe how slow the other motorists were traveling. I thought I was going just over the speed limit. When we stopped for gasoline, the car was only getting 15 mpg and the engine had consumed a quart of oil which it had never done before. I also noticed that to maintain my speed, I had the accelerator almost to the floor board. When my wife calculated our average speed, it was over 80 mph. I suddenly realized what was going on–the odometer and speedometer were way off due to the tires. At any rate, it may be possible that your odometer is off for some reason and you are actually getting better mileage than you thought.