2010 Toyota Prius. Photo: Toyota
Adieu Low-Emission BladderAnyone with a working sense of smell who has been to a gas station knows that gasoline is volatile ("Over 147 million gallons of gas evaporate from tanks each year."). To keep evaporation to a minimum, the previous generations of the Toyota Prius hybrid were equipped with a special "bladder" gas tank that kept the fumes to a minimum by expanding and contracting with the fuel volume, minimizing the air gap over the fuel, thus reducing the fumes that can find their way into the atmosphere. But not all Prius drivers appreciated the bladder; in cold weather it shrunk and could be hard to fill to the 11.9 gallons stated capacity. Well, that's a thing of the past...
2010 Toyota Prius. Photo: ToyotaThe 2010 Toyota Prius has had the bladder removed and will go back to a more traditional rigid tank made of a lightweight resin (at least they kept the weight down).
This should make a pretty big difference to Prius owners who live in cold parts of the world. The owner's manual notes that the capacity of the fuel bladder drops by about 1.3 gallons at 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 Celcius).
But not all is lost when it comes to low evaporative emissions: "The Prius' new fuel tank will use an improved vapor-recovery system that will allow the car to retain its low-emission rating in California," writes the Chicago Tribute.
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