It's the middle of the second week since I drove off with the 2009 Prius, and I finally had to purchase my first tank of gas.
The Prius fuel gauge is a digital display located to the right of the digital speedometer at the very top edge of the dash. It's divided into tenths. I knew I needed a fill up this morning because the last tenth was lit. But the Prius (or the Prius designers) are a little more insistent that you know you need a fill up. As I started to work this morning a little chime was emitted by the car, and that final lit tenth started to flash. I kept on going, first up I-4 and then onto the 408. The more I drove the more frantically the final tenth flashed. I managed to get to work on that flashing tenth, filling up at a BP on the work end of town.
I filled the tank with a little less than ten gallons, or $20 total. The last time I filled a car for around $20 was when I first bought the Kia Sorento in 2003. Gas was selling for 88 cents/gallon (there was a local price war at the time), and it took between 19 and 20 gallons to fill the Sorento.
I checked the trip odometer and divided the mileage by the gallons purchased. The trip odometer registered 536 miles. Even if I round up to an even 10 gallons, the math gives me 53 to 54 miles/gallon. The Consumption meter showed 46.3. I'm going to keep track for the next few tanks and compare simple math with the Consumption meter to see if the Consumption meter is more conservative. If this Prius actually gets over 50 MPG, and does so consistently, then its gas MPG well exceeds my old 1978 (and 1982) Honda Civics and gets into the realm of my wife's 1982 Nissan Sentra Coupe. That Sentra came with a five-speed stick, and achieved over 50MPG on the highway. That high MPG came in real handy driving Atlanta's massive highway system.
The more I drive the Prius the more amazed I am with its efficiency and overall performance. It may be boring in some quarters, but I'll take this type of boring any day.