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Honda Civic Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers

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  • We have had our 2006 HCH/NAVI for a little over a year and we are averaging 26 mpg. This is horrible. I could have bought a much cheaper normal HC and still had the same mpg. I am getting ready to take it to the dealer to see whats wrong. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Well, to be honest and try not to sound too critical (because it's not I'm just curious):

    What took you so long to realize there is a problem?

    There are a lot of possible reasons why your MPG is low. Let me start with some of the most obvious ones and work down.

    1. There is something wrong with the IMA hybrid battery system on your car. The dealer can test that and tell you right away if there is a problem. Anything found with that test can be easily remedied with warranty work.

    2. You have not taken any initiative as a hybrid owner to learn how to drive your car for the best possible MPG. Anyone can get into a hybrid and achieve bad mpg. Bad driving habits in regular cars are amplified in hybrids. Jackrabbit starts, racing to the next light, etc., are habits a lot of drivers today find hard to eliminate from their list of bad habits. Use the tools like the real-time MPG meter in your car to help you know how and when the car is achieving it's best MPG and adjust your driving habits to fit the car. Not hard to do at all.

    3. Check your air in your tires. Low inflation is not only the number one cause of tire failure, it is a big reason why cars get lower MPG. More rubber on the road equals more energy required by the engine to push the car down the road. Make sure at the VERY LEAST that your tires are at recommended PSI levels and preferably a little higher.

    4. Are all your trips sort, as in 5-10 minutes or 5-10 miles? If so, this does not give your car time to warm up and reach optimum engine temps, which are required for best MPG.

    Look around the web for driving tips - there are hundreds of them for your car posted on various hybrid-related websites.

    With just a little education, I improved my 2004 HCH from 38 MPG to a lifetime figure of 48 MPG and had a top tank of 56 MPG.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.
  • I second larsb's notes. Our '06 HCH has never had a tank below 32mpg, so there might be an issue with the car - consider having it checked out.

    After doing research on hybrid driving and changing our habits our mpg went up substantially from mid/low 30's. We now average high 40's consistently.

    The air pressure level is huge; it can effect by 10-15%. Also, if you do a lot of stop and go traffic, that can wreak havoc on your mileage, particularly if it is in very cold weather for short trips, or when you are running your a/c a lot, and you are doing lots of hard acceleration and fast braking.

    Let momentum be your friend. Coast more, brake less (requires watching down the road a bit for safety's sake). Don't accelerate more than necessary.

    This is very different than a standard car and if driven right you should see mpg move substantially upward.

    Good luck, let us know what happens.
    Derek
  • wwwestwwwest Posts: 1
    Just got my hybrid a few weeks ago. The first tank I average 41 mpg.....I was driving between 65 and 70 and had the AC on. Going back and forth to work, I've been able to keep the average over 50mpg. I even had a trip last week in which I averaged 61.76 for over 600 miles! (I was driving 55 on the highway and not running the AC) As long as I don't get in a hurry, this is a great car! (I have about a 50 mile commute, round trip, I bought the car just for this!)
  • OK - Our daily commutes are only around 5 to 10 minutes. I only drive the car about 5% of the time so I guess it is time to educate my partner on the proper way of driving the car.

    The good news is that after getting it back from the dealer the mileage has improved greatly. I averaged 47 mpg on the way back from the dealer. The bad news is that the dealer said they didn't do anything but complete the recall work.

    The service manager said they ran the car through diagnostics and could find nothing that would affect the mileage. This was very frustrating to me, so I am hoping that somehow the recall work was affecting the mileage.

    We will be taking our 1,200 mile thanksgiving trip so I will let everyone know how we do on the mileage.
  • dongadonga Posts: 9
    We have experienced a sudden drop in average mpg in our '06 Civic Hybrid. My wife, who's a pro with this, using the cruise and other little tricks, ususally averages 44 to 47 (by the computer)on a tank for the past 40k miles. Suddenly, and I mean like the assist died, she was having a hard time getting 30. We took it to a dealer to check out and they could find nothing wrong, even though they contacted American Honda, etc. In the meantime, and it's been almost 2 weeks now, it's starting to go back up and she's averaging 36mpg in the last 200 miles. Maybe it's correcting itself, but I'm concerned about what will happen after the warranty runs out. Anybody else having any experience like this?
  • I live in Colorado where the weather changes daily from 70 degress one day and then dropping to 20 degrees and snowing the next. am concerned with reading forms on the IMA in the southwest. any Colorado hybrid owners out there and how is the car responding to Colorado climate. how is the gas mileage as that is very important to me as I drive 60 miles each day to and from work
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Cold weather reduces hybrid mpg. So does wind, a/c use and hilly roads. You may only see mpg in the low 40s during the winter, which still gives you 10 mpg better than a regular car.

    The worst mileage in a hybrid is better than the best mileage in a gas-only car.
  • Hello. I have a new 07 HCH II. I was just shy of getting 500 miles out of my 1st tank of gas but the gas light had been on for about 20 miles and I had zero bars on the gas readout. I panicked and filled up about 11.5 gallons. I believe full tank is 12.3 so apparently i did have about 3/4 of a tank left. Just curious how many miles have any of you driven with the gas light on and zero bars?
  • davem7davem7 Posts: 35
    As the owner of a 2006 HCH I never rely on the gas tank level readout and have never gotten to one bar or below.

    The system I use is to calculate the MPG based on filling the tank to the same exact point each time, dividing it by the tripmeter reading and comparing it to the elapsed MPG gauge. It is usually fairly accurate, if the gauge reads 50MPG my manual calculation will be 51MPG.

    I base my decision on when to fill up on the tripmeter reading and elapsed MPG gauge. Trying to drive on one bar or less is nerveracking for me, and is cutting it too close for comfort.

    Also in most cases when you are pumping gas, after the auto shut off engages you can squeeze in another 1.5-2 gallons of gas, although it may take a few minutes. At 50MPG this can extend your driving range by 75-100 miles.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Also in most cases when you are pumping gas, after the auto shut off engages you can squeeze in another 1.5-2 gallons of gas, although it may take a few minutes. At 50MPG this can extend your driving range by 75-100 miles.

    You'll also get fuel in your vapor canister and cause a Check Engine light because you've screwed up your emissions system. PLEASE don't over-fill. Instead, I fear you'll end up spending all the time you've gained at the dealer getting your car fixed.

    A better way to ensure a proper fill is to set the pump to run at less than "full-speed." This means less air will go into the tank (foam and bubbles occur as the gas flows faster, meaning you pay more for gas you don't get, and you get a little less than a full tank. The fuel will shut off at the same level, but you can be sure it is all fuel, and not 95% fuel and some bubbles/foam on top causing your shut-off. If you keep adding gas, eventually you'll overfill it an get it in the vapor-canister (I don't know the tech term for it, but it is what traps the vapors from your fuel tank and prevents them all from pouring out when you refuel the car - and is why you open the cap slowly, I believe).

    I'm not a hybrid owner, just a fellow Honda owner checking things out and sharing some advice I've gotten in other forums.
  • I have about 9,000 miles on my 07 HCH. I have read lots of the forum discussion where people got 50 mpg all the time and called others 'liars' who only got 34. Here are my observations so far:
    The HCH is funamentally a gasoline engine. MPG will ALWAYS be related to engine RPM.
    If I can park the rpm at 2200 I will consistantly get 43 mpg and show 68 miles per hour.
    Kansas is damn windy. Wind decreases my mpg because it cause the engine RPM to go above 2200.
    Using cruise control will cause the CVT transmission to quickly kick to 3700 rpm, even on minor hills. This decreases mpg when the engine begins using this kind of fuel.
    Tires are important. Switched to Michelins and immediately lost 5 mpg. Went back to Dunlop LRR OEMs.
    Colder temperatures make my mileage go down. 20 Deg. F drops mileage 5 mpg.
    MPG for life of car has averaged from 37 to 43 mph per tank in mixed driving. Once I got 46.6 mpg.li>
    Accelerating from stop to 3,000 rpm seems to work best for me. Causes IMA bar to peg, gets me up to speed quickly.Once there, I let off.
    Abruptly letting of the throttle once at speed (or slightly above) does seem to fool the car into shutting of the fuel. You can see this on the instant MPG gage.
    I don't doubt that some people always get 50 mpg, but I CAN"T in Kansas unless it is 70 Deg F, no wind, and I am willing to drive 50 mph.
    Jacking up tire pressure helped (especially with Michelins) but made ride way too harsh.
    Interesting car. I buy a new one every year. Will be hard to sell this because not much else will get this MPG given my driving habits.
    Finally, all car companies LIE about MPG. Consumer Reports seems about as honest as they come (they rate my 07 HCH at 37 mpg mixed city/hiway. This is spot on from my driving experience.)
  • I have had a Civic hybrid since Sept and can't get bove 32 mpg average. I live in CT. I'd welcome any advice. I have tried be more conscious of how I drive, but I don't see any improvement in the mileage. My husband does not do much better when he drives the car. I do an equal amount of city and highway driving..
    Thanks.
  • I can't get above an average of 32 mpg.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,792
    "Finally, all car companies LIE about MPG. Consumer Reports seems about as honest as they come (they rate my 07 HCH at 37 mpg mixed city/hiway. This is spot on from my driving experience.)"

    Car companies are required to use EPA numbers, and to test using EPA conditions. They are not allowed to post anything else. That is one reason that the stickers come with that "your mileage may vary" warning.

    So don't blame them for inaccurate numbers, blame the government.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    My sentiments exactly, stevedebi.

    I for one get over EPA figures routinely in my non-hybrid Honda. This includes a 1500 mile trip to the land where the "Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains" (name that state!) from Birmingham, Alabama.

    EPA figures are for comparison purposes only. If your car is listed at 30 in the city and you get 24 in your commute/driving style, you should expect to get 20 MPG in a car listed at 25 MPG
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,792
    "I for one get over EPA figures routinely in my non-hybrid Honda. "

    Add me to that list. I get slightly better than EPA in my 2006 Freestyle, and got almost exactly EPA in my 2003 Honda CR-V.

    Driving habits count for a LOT...
  • You might try checking the tire pressures. It should be at least at 32. I put mine at 36.
  • I have a 2003 HCH which I've had since early Oct. I was getting 40-42mpg combined initially...until the weather began getting colder. I was regularly getting over 500miles per tank of gas. The last couple of tanks, though, my gauges were reading 36-37mpg and was pretty disappointed. But, on the last tank, I had 2 bars that went to nothing while in line at Starbucks, and was worried I wouldn't make it to work. When I got back on the road, I got 1 bar back, then another one in a mile or so. I was already showing 520 miles on that tank. By the time I got to the gas station, the mpg gauge was reading 36.7mpg, so I filled the tank (12.47 gal) and calculated the mileage manually...43mpg...7 more than the gauge was saying. Plus...I still had 2 bars at that point and 537miles on that tank. I don't trust the mpg gauge at all in the winter. When it was warmer I manually checked it a couple of times and it was close.

    Does anyone know if there is a way to reset the computer for the gauges? :confuse:
  • Timinkansas- Our experience with our '08 HCH has been similar. We have only had the car since just after Thanksgiving and know we are still learning to tweak our mileage. Our other car is an '01 VW Passat 6cyl. My husband and I both have 50+ mile commutes each way (unfortunately they really don't overlap) so we needed to trade our SUV for a second commuter car. The VW is a good little car and I really can't say anything bad about it. The HCH has been a welcome addition to our commutes, though.

    My husband's commute is about 60% arterial/local highways ranging from 45 mph with stoplights and 55 mph with local traffic. The other 40% of his drive is on a tollway at 72-75 mph. This section destroys his mileage in the HCH (okay, well, it goes from 46 or so down to around 40 mpg). I guess we can't really complain. Mine is nearly all city/arterial roads and no interstate whatsoever so I mostly use the hybrid. Truth be told, the HCH really shines for us when we can hit around 60-63 mph, set the cruise and leave it. The mileage really soars then. There are some backroads around here we've been opting for over the highways we used to take because the mileage increase has been so pleasant. We've been tracking our mileage based on gas refuels and odometer readings and comparing them to the computer gauge. So far we've ranged from 43.3 mpg to 45.2 mpg for the life of a tank. I know we haven't owned ours very long but we sure have done a lot of driving in that time to make up for it!

    Couple of interesting things we've noticed:
    -My husband is simply not as conservative a driver as I am. I tease him and call him a "Bad hybrid driver". At first, he was very focused on upping the mileage but now he is slipping back into some of his old habits.
    -That said, I have noticed he is more relaxed in stop and go traffic than before. The engine cuts off and he seems to be a little less stressed, so even the cut in mileage is ok since he's less stressed.
    -Using the IMA does help when accelerating, particularly from a stop but only to a point and then you need to let off and be patient. It's only a 4 with 110hp for heavens sakes. (this is where by fella becomes a bad hybrid driver!)
    -It took me a couple days to learn not to edge up at stop lights just because the guy in front of me did.
    -Planning ahead for speed changes and stops makes a huge difference but isn't always possible.

    Any tips on how you folks get up to 50 mpg??
    Thanks-
  • caazcaaz Posts: 203
    Here's my best tip i can offer.

    85 mph = 39 mpg
    80 mph = 42 mpg
    75 mph = 45 mpg
    70 mph = 47 mpg
    65 mph = 49 mpg
    60 mph = 50 mpg
    55 mph = 53 mpg
    50 mph = 55 mpg

    These are my personal observances with my own HCH 04 manual. Cruise control

    90% of the time. It can be achieved but at the cost of the rest of the freeway going by you 20 mph faster. I usually stay in lane #4 when i'm really shooting for high mpg, as to not annoy other drivers. and just as your husband does, if i forget and drive it hard or are in too much of a hurry, i'll get 39-40. So it is really the way one drives.....Hope this helps...
    Caaz
  • I just did my first fill up on my new HCH (5 days old). I calculated my mileage at 43.2 mpg. We drive at the speed limits and are fairly easy on accelerating. The car"s mileage gauge was showing 40.2 mpg for this tank. Is this common for the car to read a little low compared to accual mileage? So far the car is great. With the gain in mileage with the car we traded in, and the tax credits, the savings will more than make the car payments with all the driving we do (30,000+ per year). Had a good buying experience also. Got $2000 off the sticker, and 2500 more on my trade in than the ford dealer was going to give us (looked at the Escape hybrid). We only had to wait a day for them to do a dealer trade to get the color we wanted.
  • ellardellard Posts: 1
    I have had my 06 hch since July of 07 and am pleased with the car except a couple of things. I don't trust the on board mpg gage. Has never been correct. In the summer months I averaged between 42 to 47 mpgs. When cold weather hit it dropped to 32 36 mpg and has stayed there. I just had a oil maintenance done and they couldn't find anything that would affect the mileage(didn't think they would)so I will have to live with it until spring and warm weather to see if it improves. I guess the less emissions is worth the lower mpg in winter. I do all the things you are suppose to do to get the better mileage so we will see.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    The computer average is not be as accurate as using pump volumes and odometer readings, but your drop in mpg in winter is entirely expected. True mpg is lower in winter because of a number of factors: longer time to engine warmup, less efficient transmission of power from tires to road surface, longer time in stop-and-go traffic due to congestion in winter, higher aerodynamic resistance due to denser atmosphere in winter, in some hybrids the idle ICE stop feature is disabled when the windshield defrost is on because the a/c compressor is automatically on to defog the inside of the windshield, lower energy content (lower BTU/gal) of winter blend gasoline.

    All cars will have lower mpg in winter, but hybrids seem to have a larger decrease in mpg because their mpg is so much higher.
  • Hello,
    I have just purchased a 2006 HCH II, and my mileage has been in the low 30s in mostly city driving with temperature in the mid 20s to 30s. Several people have said that fuel mileage drops in the winter. Has anybody used an engine block heater in the winter and how much does it help? Of course, I realize engine block heaters use energy which will offset to some extent the gains in gas mileage. Also, I would appreciate any other tips for keeping gas mileage up during the winter.

    Thanks
  • caazcaaz Posts: 203
    An engine block heater is plugged in at home, so your block doesn't freeze overnight. If you plan on driving with it plugged in to try and increase your MPG, good luck, lol, and i hope you have an extension cord several miles long....

    Sorry, i couldnt resist the sarcasim... but..fyi...you cant drive the car with it plugged in so it will do you no good.

    Good luck
    caaz
  • I can only speak for my 2007 Nissan Sentra. When I use the block heater to warm up the car in the morning ( 30 degrees) I have noticed a slight reduction in fuel consumption the first few miles (per the car's computer). It might be a half a quart of fuel saved in my morning commute of 40 miles.

    Hardly worth the effort of plugging in the car.

    There might be a slight benefit for the starter as it has to work less to start the car, land there would be less drain on the battery but I doubt it will translate into a longer life for the battery or the starter.

    Of course if the outside temperature is minus 30 or even lower a block heater is almost mandatory.

    In any case the engine will generate heat sooner, the coolant will warm up sooner and the heater will warm up the cabin almost immediately.
  • I was surfing the internet to find a really long extension cord..

    No, seriously, my intent was to use the engine block heater for a couple of hours to heat up the engine prior to leaving the house, and then disconnect it. My thought was that a warmed up engine would be easier to start and would allow the auto stop feature to work much faster compared with a cold start in the winter.

    dhilldiner
  • aueaue Posts: 16
    The mileage on an 06 HCH seems to be about 10 mpg lower in winter than in summer (34-36 mpg vs 44-46 mpg). Have others in colder northern (or far southern) locations noticed this?
  • I have been getting about 35 mpg in cold weather in Washington DC. Last week we had temperatures in the 60s, and the mpg was over 40 mpg.

    dhilldiner
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