Because of the doubling of gas prices, with flirtations at the $4.00 mark occasionally, we hit break-even at 80,000 miles.
I call B.S.
Let's check your math. Assume an average of $2.24/gal. over the 80,000 miles (that's the average of $1.49/gal. and $2.98/gal., which is twice $1.49/gal.). Also assume you got 50mpg. Total fuel cost over the 80k miles = 80000 miles / 50 mpg * $2.24/gal. = $3584.
I think we can guess that you bought your Prius in 2002. That's the last time regular gasoline cost $1.49/gal. MSRP for a 2002 Prius was $20,000, and I think it's safe to assume you paid full sticker price (Priuses have always been a hot item). We'll keep things simple and ignore any sales taxes or other fees. This gives a partial cost over 80,000 miles of $23,584.
What was the other car you used for comparison? In order to hit breakeven, its sales cost + fuel cost over 80,000 miles must have been $23,584. If you're comparing to a similar sized vehicle with similar features, you're probably looking at a sales cost of around $13000 (the 2002 Corolla for example had an MSRP between $12000 and $14000, depending on features). $13K is probably a good, conservative assumption.
In order for you to really have hit breakeven at 80,000 miles, with an average fuel price of $2.24, a $13000 car would have had a fuel cost of $23584 - $13000 = $10584 over those 80,000 miles. That's a fuel efficiency of 80,000 miles * $2.24/gal. / $10584 = 16.9 mpg. That's horrible efficiency for a small car. I don't think any small car built in 2002 had anywhere near 16.9 mpg. Even the Ford Ranger had better estimated efficiency than that.
"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley