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Honda Civic Real World MPG



  • Just bought a 09 Civic EX w/auto. Using as a commute car and not experiencing very good gas mileage. Curious about: 1) break in procedures (if any) and 2) is it normal for gas mileage to be lower than optimum for first 3-5K? Many thanks!
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    What kind of driving? Heavy traffic, open road, speeds

    What mileage are you getting?
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    Since you are talking in general terms with no specific data or operative goal, I would say concentrate on break in procedures, i.e.,acceleration revs (when fully warm) to @ least 75% of redline and don't even think about mpg optimization. for at least 5,000 to 10,000 miles or that first break in oil change (10,000 miles OCI) .
  • Thank You very much for the detailed Answers ruking1 ! ... Looks like i will be going to Synthetic oil on the first oil change.. . My 2009 Civic LX has 3000 miles on it, and i am getting 31.5 MPG in city driving over the life of the car..... Yeap... i am breaking it in.... ... Even if i push it another 1MPG higher with the Synthetic i would be happy. Hopefully i will change the oil before the Winter kicks into the full gear!

    I think we all got accustomed to the gas being at $4/gal, we condider today's prices cheap. ... where in truth, gas is still expensive! even if it drops another 30cents once summer is over.

    I am also itching to change the oli every 10K miles, but got to read up on what the folks are saying here... maybe "changing every 15K" would be sufficinet.

    Also the dealer reccomends the first oil change at 7500 miles.

    And i totally agree Mobil1 Full Synthetic may NOT be the best synthetic out there, but it is the best bang for the buck!

    Thanks again for sheading the light! Truly appreciate it!

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    Years ago I did a commute to Des Plains, IL. The building I commuted to was so close to the (O'Hare) take off run way that you could literally see THE PLANES almost playing chicken with the building. Il So I have a seat of the pants memory of driving in the Chicago area. :blush:

    All the best !
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    Unless you are going to put on 7,000 miles before the winter, I'd just run the oem filled even through winter. You might want to check your owners manual to see if the wording has changed or updated, but my owners manual made a BIG deal on running the "break in" factory fill the whole interval. In my case the interval is 10,000 miles.
  • Hi,

    I recently made a run from Boston up to northern NH and got way, way below (like 6 mpg) my average since buying the car, an 08 EX 5 speed. Temps during the ~150 mile trip ran from a high of 13 degrees F to a low of -6. This was an all highway trip, and I would have expected to get somewhere near my 18 month average because of that.

    Does anyone know if the engine might run in open loop below a certain temperature, or make some adjustments that would cause such a huge drop? This is the first time I've run it for an extended period at those temps, and it really surprised me. I'm back to getting "normal" mileage since then.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Some thoughts come to mind:

    Tire air pressure low due to the temperature,

    Pushing the car thru more dense (colder) air.

    Filling at 2 different pumps.

    If you have "climate control" and it was on the AUTO setting, the AC compressor would have most likely been operating.

    Driving faster than normal.

    Heavier load than normal.

  • ras314ras314 Posts: 43
    Also snow on hwy and headwinds will drop mileage considerably. Could be some gas had higher alcohol content.
  • Thanks kipk.

    I think in hindsight, the big thing here may have been the different pumps. When I recently entered my gas slips into my spreadsheet I track with, the tank before this one was about 2 mpg better than average for this time of year, so I'd bet it wasn't a complete fillup. Beyond that, I've done the climate control "hack" to decouple the AC from the defroster, etc and it was off, and tire pressures were adjusted recently at about 20 degrees. My speed was my normal below 70, the additional load was maybe one passenger extra, and the roads were clear.

    Still, it was a 20% drop below average (and my first sub 30 mpg tank in 32000 miles), and I'm wondering if there is something in the fuel injection programming that adjusts for extreme cold and would cause a big increase in fuel use.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Wifes car, air pressure monitor came on the other evening, when she left work.
    Outside temperature was about 30 degrees. Pressure was 27 all around and the door jam called for 32#. So, in theory at least, it seems her
    tire pressure dropped 7 pounds due to the drop in outside temp.

    I bought my new 09 Ridgeline the first part of November 09 and noticed on the test drive that it was pulling to the right a bit. Seems the temperature was in the 50's.So they did whatever they do to correct it. Assuming they checked and adjusted the tire pressure among other things.

    The same night I adjusted the air in my wifes car, I went ahead and checked mine. All around the tires also showed 27# and the door jam calls for 32#. So it was 7# low also.

    Apparently a 20 degree drop in temp can make quite a difference in the tire PSI.

    You may be right about the fuel injection running a bit richer in extreme cold as the air is so dense and cold. But that type thing goes way over my head.

    Now a question for you. Maybe you can explain it or supply a link.

    My neighbors Honda has manually controlled heat and air.
    Under some conditions, the compressor continues to run, even though he has pushed the button and the display indicates it is off. Is that the "Hack" you were talking about that will "fix" that?

  • Yes, that's the hack, and here is the link with the instructions I used to do it. Once you've done this, the AC light is on if the AC compressor is "enabled", and turning it off will "disable" the compressor, if that makes sense. So if the light is off, the compressor won't run with the defroster, and it won't be on when you shift from defrost to dash vents, floor vents, etc.

    Hope this helps!
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Thank You!

    I forwarded your post to my neighbor. :)

  • hey so heres the thing.. i got 2009 honda civic ex SOHC. i know it isnt much faster than the civic Si but wanna know if is it worth it to put money on performance parts for an civic ex SOHC..?? pls pls.. help.. coz i think u would say trade it in or something but i rilly want to keep this car.. it has some sentimental value.. so anyone can help me on this??? thanks!!!
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    Interesting wind up article in latest Car & Driver after 39,700 on their Jetta TDI. They stated that it was the 3rd most fuel efficient car they had ever had for a long term test. As you read this remember that these guys probably drive with a heavier foot than many of us. They got 38 mpg overall on TDI which they said were only bettered by 2 long termers: 2000 Insight (48 mpg over 40K miles) and 1992 Honda Civic VX (41 mpg over 35K miles).

    That VX was an quite a car - 1 car magazine (Motor Trend?) got 56 mpg with the VXon freeway test. I average about 45 with mine in mixed drivng. Cost new was about $3,200. Of course it was stick, only had 1 air bag, wind up windows & no power steering Amazing how things change. :P
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Interesting post! :)

    Didn't the Civic VX have a smallish displacement engine? Something like a 1.3 liter maybe. And a carburetor?

    I had a Civic Wagon in the early 80s with 3 speed auto and 1.5 liter carbureted engine. It got 32 mpg day in and day out. I was an outside service tech for IBM and the car was full of parts and put through just about everything that would contribute to poor mileage. Heavy traffic in downtown Atlanta, cold starts several times a day, etc.. Expect that as a normal family car, it would have gotten much better mileage.

    It is one of the cars I look back fondly on. Should have kept it.

  • kltronkltron Posts: 21
    I am also from New England. I have been tracking my Civic's mileage on since I owned the vehicle (spring 2008). The effect of the seasons is blatant; the graph shows cycles. My commutes haven't changed much in the two years. Click here for the graph and raw data. Interesting.

    I suspect part of the cycle is the gas formulation, and part of it is near freezing and below temps (plus other weather conditions like wind). I am noticing now that the ScanGauge shows better trip mileage when the outside air temp warms just a little bit, maybe to around 35-40F, which we are starting to see around here. Some of my trip mileage is now at or exceeding 40mpg again.

  • sivicmansivicman Posts: 32
    I bought a NEW 92' Civic VX w/dealer installed a/c for $11K. I have the original window sticker and base price was $10,350.00. It was EPA rated at 48 city & 55 hwy. I owned the car for 12 years, it was the best little car I ever owned. I averaged between 40-43 mpg. I did manage to get 50 mpg on a trip one time. It had a tall gear and would coast forever, but was a dog off the line. It had a 1.5L VTEC-E sohc engine.

    I still have that Motor Trend magazine that they tested it up the California coast and back to L.A. They wanted to see how far they could get on a tank of gas. Honda needs to bring this car and the CRX back. The hell with these hybrids.
  • crv16crv16 Posts: 205
    I've got about 165K on my Civic now, which has the 5 speed manual transmission. I drive 60% highway / 40% back roads, with little stop and go. Winter MPG is 38, other times of the year it's never below 40mpg. If I baby it, I can hit 45mpg.

    This car is the best I've ever owned. Even at this mileage, it still drives like new.
  • Yes, I'm starting to see my mileage trend up as well since it has warmed up.

    I've got it all on a spreadsheet, and last year I saw a significant jump (low to mid 30's up to upper 30's) at the very end of April. I'd suspect that the formulation changes somewhere in that time frame. We'll see if the same holds true for this year.
  • kltronkltron Posts: 21

    I think the "summer formulation" came in 2-3 weeks ago. But that's a guess, since it also got a little warmer at the same time.

    I took a 52 mile drive from Greenfield, New Hampshire to my home in the Boston area on Saturday (temps in the 65-70 degree range) and scored 50.1 mpg on the ScanGauge for the trip (!!). The tank MPG so far is 44+, per the ScanGauge. We'll see what happens when I fill it up later this week (it usually goes back to its 40-42 or so, still not too bad).

  • kltronkltron Posts: 21
    2008 Civic EX, manual transmission.

    My last two fill-ups each exceeded 45mpg. Although that's atypical (most fill ups are in the lower 40s or so), I'm impressed. My best ever was 46.45mpg, and my recent 45.95mpg came darn close. If it wasn't raining on the last day on the tank, I may have given 46.45mpg a run for its money.

    Just basic hypermiling, that's all (pretty much easing up on the gas). Plus the car seems to do better in the warm but not hot weather we've been having as of late.

  • wayne6197wayne6197 Posts: 4
    I have an '06 Civic LX, automatic with 59,000 miles on it. I average 42-43 mpg on the highway out in New Mexico and Arizona at 75-77 mph. I work in those two states and am on the Colorado Plateau at an average of 7,000' in elevation. Was wondering if the elevation would hurt or help with the mpg. I bought the car in Mississippi and never had it adjusted for elevation.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    edited June 2010
    with modern cars there are no "adjustments" for altitude any more. The engine management computers and fuel injection eliminate the stone age carbs and fixed timing using distributors and their rigid operating ranges and change for altitude within parameters via the various sensor sprinkled around the system.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Seems the majority of posters say they get 36-38 MPG when driving conservatively. And others claim 40+++ at high speeds. I don't get it!

  • mjstenmjsten Posts: 17
    Just forget about it. I see the same thing and on my 08 civic, I do well to get 29 to 30. 80% Hiway with over 35000 miles so far. Big mistake on my part..
    Makes you wonder huh...
  • kltronkltron Posts: 21
    My guesses: Driving style, weather, auto vs. manual transmission, use of A/C and windows, extra junk in the trunk, proper tire inflation, etc.

    - Practice basic hypermiling techniques (easier if you have a manual tranny). This includes going easy on the gas, upshifting early, trying to pick the right roads. Get a ScanGauge, as it will help you drive the car for efficiency.

    - I'm finding that weather conditions have a LOT to do with it. My mileage dips in cooler weather, and rain will kill the mileage. Winter? Forget it...although 37+mpg is still good.

    - Don't use the A/C unless you're dying (I even set it so I can turn off the A/C when I put on the defroster), and keep the windows rolled up at highway speeds.

    - Make sure the tires are where they need to be.

    - Get rid of any extra weight.

    ...all the basic stuff. So if someone's running into a lot of cold or rainy weather, runs up the engine before upshifting, is a bit heavy on the gas, or is carrying around extra weight, the mileage will be affected. There's not much you can do about an automatic transmission, and I don't know how much difference there is between that and the manual, but it's also a consideration as to why many people seem to be in the mid-upper 30s and some of us are into the 40s (my last fill up was 43.78mpg, the two before that exceeding 45mpg).

  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    edited June 2010
    I agree that driving technique and conditions can/will play a major role in getting good mileage.

    Realizing that a serious hypermiler can squeeze a lot of extra miles out of a gallon of fuel. There was a segment on the news one night where a reporter and a hypermiler drove two identical late model CR-Vs over a given course of a couple of hundred miles (as I remember). The reporter got back to the starting point a lot sooner than the "HM". The reporter drove as conservatively as they "thought" they could and got 31 or so miles per gallon. The "HM" got 39 mpg.

    Secrets were the HM coasted whenever possible, drafted other vehicles on the hyway, never tailgated, never got over a given speed, no AC, windows just barely cracked, yada,yada...All the tricks. Reporter drove with a light foot, drove the speed limit, used tha AC and drove like a normal person concerned about saving fuel on a daily basis. So the reporter beat the EPA guestaments, but didn't do nearly as well as the hypermiler.

    In my mind, the flaw in the test, is that they did not swap vehicles and do the drive again. Because some cars just tend to get better mileage than their siblings.

    Example: On the road, Our 03 Pilot generally got 4-5 mpg better than most reported mileage on these forums. For instance, we took a 1100+ mile round trip which involved the rolling hills of North Georgia, a mountain range in Tennessee, and flat lands of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Temps were in the 70s and low 80s so very little use of the AC. Generally ran 60 mph with the occational 65 mph. Mileage for the freeway portion was 28 MPG and for the entire trip was something like 27.5 or so. Most folks report 21-23 mpg road mileage. EPA guestaments for the Pilot are 16-22 for the 4WD models , I think.

    Not great compared to a Civic, but real good for a 4500# 4WD, with the aerodynamics of a cement block.

    Same car with AC on at 75-80 mph got 18-20 mpg. SPEED KILLS MILEAGE.

    Our Ridgeline with the same basic drive train, weight and aerodynamics of the Pilot gets 3-4 mph less on the freeway at 60-65 mph. :confuse:

    So when I see posts where the car is driven at 75+ mph in a very hot part of the country, which would involve either the windows down or AC on, and they claim to get mileage waaay above most posters, I DON'T GET IT!. :confuse:

  • kltronkltron Posts: 21
    Precisely right, Kip--they should have swapped vehicles and tried it again.

    Air resistance isn't linear (brief article), but different cars have different curves for mpg at different speeds. However most tail off after 40 or so mph, with mpg falling after that. The higher speeds require more power.

    So you'd think that nobody could get good mpg at 75 mph in the same vehicle and that people in the same vehicle should get about the same mpg.

    Why, then, do seemingly identical vehicles achieve different mpg or achieve excellent mpg at high speeds with the air conditioning on?

    Excluding driver habits, some possibilities come to mind, some visible, some not so much...
    -- Most of the fuel goes to pushing the car and its contents around. If you're a light person and leave the golf clubs at home, that will improve fuel economy. Do the people with poorer mpg have lots of junk in the trunk?
    -- Flat roads. I seek flat 35-40mph stretches, get to 5th, and watch the ScanGauge report some delightful numbers.
    -- Favorable roads. I know a route where I can easily get 60mpg in my Civic, but going the other way on that same route not so much. So if someone reports mpg after a favorable trip, that's improper reporting. Bzzt.
    -- Favorable reporting and cherry picking the data. I report *every* tank on Others do not--they look at mpg for a particular trip and report that.
    -- The gas. Ethanol (which is a ripoff to us but a payoff to others) is in most/all gasoline. It has less energy density than gasoline. The winter gasoline formula also kills mileage.
    -- Fuel additives? Some chemicals added to a tank can give a temporary boost.
    -- Viscosity of the engine oil used.
    -- Tire air pressure.
    -- Wind (got a tailwind?)
    -- Humidity and air temperature (air density)
    -- State of repair of the car/engine.
    -- Wheel alignment (ever see a car going down the street "sideways"? :-) )
    -- Rolling resistance of the tires.
    -- Using the mpg from the trip computer or ScanGauge. You have to calculate the mpg at the gas pump, as these gauges are close but not accurate.
    -- Yada, yada on other hypermiling and driving methods/skills, as you said. :-)

    What I think it comes down to, though:
    -- Where is the vehicle usually driven? If warm weather with flat roads, that will lead to higher mpg.
    -- How is the data reported? Unless someone is showing you a tally of the regular fill-ups over months, the data is suspect. They could be reporting the mpg from the trip computer, doing some favorable reporting (cherry picking the data), or simply measuring incorrectly.

    The best way to do this is having the same driver use different cars or different drivers use the same car over a period of time. But that's not practical. It would be great to see someone else drive your Pilot or give you access to a vehicle similar to yours that reports lower mpg. 'til then, we're relying on word of mouth and unreliable data. Look at the variances reported in this forum alone! :-)

  • esemesem Posts: 11
    edited July 2010
    2006 Civic LX Sedan Automatic Transmission (56K Miles on it now)
    32-38 MPG depending driving conditions.

    My driving conditions include
    1. Mostly mix of city and highway driving.
    2. Southern CA so somewhat hilly terrains.
    3. Moderate use of AC during summer months.

    I can get 38 only when I driving mostly on the highways with little or no traffic. And 32 at the minimum while driving in city with moderate use of AC when the weather gets hot.

    But I do remember initially being disappointed with the MPG when I bought the car new.
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