The 100+ MPG Prius: What’s Up With It?

While looking for a delicious place to eat dinner last week, I stumbled upon this “100+ MPG” Prius with an “OILFREE” license plate.  I immediately thought to myself “no and no”, and quickly snapped a picture. Now for the last few days this car has been haunting my brain. I just can’t wrap my brain around how they add 50 more miles per gallon because it is now able to be plugged-in. I feel like it is false advertising. Maybe I just don’t understand hybrid technology or maybe it’s the hybrid language that I don’t speak. The one thing I do know is that I have many more questions now than I did before I saw this thing.  Here are a few of the questions that I can’t stop thinking about:

  • Did that car really get 100+ mpg? Really?
  • Do electric/gas hybrid owners count fully electric-powered miles as “miles per gallon“? Is that fair?
  • If the above statement is true, can I build a fully electric vehicle, and put a sticker on my car that says “infinite MPG” ?
  • The kits to convert these cars to be a PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) are about $3000 on eBay not including labor for installation. To keep things simple, we’ll just assume that owners install it themselves. At $3.85 per gallon for regular unleaded gas, you could buy yourself 779 gallons of gas with that money instead and drive yourself about 38,950 miles. This also means that at 12K miles per year on average, it will take 3 years for the PHEV to pay for itself, and that is assuming that you get free electricity at your house to plug the car in to.  Car math is fun.
  • I bet I could find oil inside that car.

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

12 thoughts to “The 100+ MPG Prius: What’s Up With It?”

  1. gotta love the math. hope those newly added batteries don’t go bad, or you can add even more time to that break even point.

    the MPG math is still up for debate – GM tried to say the Volt would get 230 mpg when they first came up with a rating for it; now we’re at a much more reasonable 60

  2. I’m willing to bet any gas savings will be offset in the long run by replacing depleted batteries and HUGE monthly electric bills. Also, does plugging it in charge the main battery array? Because if it does it will most likely speed it’s demise as well, and I know they aren’t cheap. I honestly think all of these eco-friendly car buyers in the long run will wish they had waited for the technology to catch up to the concept.

      1. most people have a hard enough time driving straight on solid ground. don’t add up & down to the additional directions they can screw up…..

  3. i would rather be run over by one of these than own one. i’m not kidding. i couldn’t live with the shame that the marketing people at toyota got one over on me.

  4. The new advertising campaign for the Electric Nissan Leaf compares itself to gas and diesel vehicles base on “Miles Per Dollar” rather than MPG. For the Leaf, they get this figure by calculating the amount of natural gas used to produce the electricity to charge the vehicle.

    1. See, I like that! That is something that I can be on board with. That being said, I would be afraid to see what the miles per dollar is on my own cars, which are all currently on empty by the way.

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