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The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

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Old 01-30-2007, 07:57 AM
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Default The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

I bought my Prius last September. I noted that the stated fuel tank capacity was 11.9 gal and that when the fuel gauge started to blink, it would take about 9 gal to fill. I didn't have to strain too hard to calculate there is a 2.9 gal reserve. At 50+ miles per gallon, that meant around 150 miles.

Well, to my great surprise, I ran out of gas this morning on my way into work, 50 miles after the fuel gauge started to blink. Lucky for me I was just a couple miles from a gas station and made it before the battery was depleted. However, filling the tank only took 9.8 gallons! Doubting my sanity, I checked the capacity again on the back of the manual. Yep, 11.9 gal. Then I saw the note to "see page 320 for details". OK, maybe page 320 can enlighten me, I thought. Sure enough on that page was a blurb that read...

"The fuel tank capacity is decreased at low ambient temperature. (decreased by about 5L (1.3 gal., 1.1 Imp.gal.) at -10C(14F).)"

Holly smokes! That's almost 11%! What is going on here? Does anybody know why this happens? Doesn't this throw off your mileage calculations?

Example: You fill up when it's cold out, say it takes 9 gallons, then drive 450 miles on that tank. The next time you fill up, it's warm outside, so it takes 10 gallons because the tank expanded. You think you drove 450 miles on 10 gallons, when actually, you only used 9, right?
 
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:49 AM
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Default Re: The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

Originally Posted by CranePet View Post
. . . Doesn't this throw off your mileage calculations?

Example: You fill up when it's cold out, say it takes 9 gallons, then drive 450 miles on that tank. The next time you fill up, it's warm outside, so it takes 10 gallons because the tank expanded. You think you drove 450 miles on 10 gallons, when actually, you only used 9, right?
I use the printed gas receipt from the state inspected, fuel pump. The tank capacity is only important if I'm going on a long trip. But my bladder capacity leads to short, intermediate stops, more if my wife and dog are with me. I use the tank capacity to cruise through high priced gas areas.

Bob Wilson
 
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:50 AM
SPL
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Default Re: The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

CranePet — Have a look at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius_FAQ
where you'll find that this effect is due to a rubber bladder in the fuel tank. They suggest how you can (partially?) overcome this issue.

Stan
 
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

Thanks Stan. I thought it must have something to do with emissions control. Doesn't this throw a monkey wrench into the mileage calculation database? While I guess the numbers will average-out over time, individual tank mileage could be thrown way off, as in my example below.
 
  #5  
Old 05-09-2011, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

Hi ther, Does anyone here know what is the fuel tank capacity of a '91 MR2 Turbo ?Is it 14.3 U.S. gallons(54 liters)? Am I right??Thanks in advance.
 
  #6  
Old 05-24-2011, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: The Amazing Shrinking Fuel Tank

is it the capacity of the tank or the performance of the car is having its direct impact on the fuel efficiency?
 
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