In his lawsuit, Hogan alleges that replacing an inverter costs more than $2,000, while the software fix costs the manufacturer $80.
Hogan said a few Toyota owners have returned to his dealership, saying their Prius suffered a loss of fuel economy after the software fix. A few Prius owners contacted by The Times said they did not notice any change in their fuel economy. Other Prius owners have made the same complaint as Enger in Toyota chat rooms, saying it "detunes" their cars and increases the use of the gasoline engine.
In many cases, however, Prius owners may not know their fuel economy has degraded because they don't routinely check it or they may not associate it with the software recall.
Enger, the Hermosa Beach engineer, said he tried to get answers from his dealer and then finally called Toyota's customer service hotline. He said he wasn't able to get to the bottom of his problem with customer relations.
"It was like talking to a cat," he said.
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