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Honda Civic Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
Please post your acutal MPG here.

"Real World" Fuel Economy vs. EPA Estimates

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  • markdelmarkdel Posts: 56
    On my first tank of gas the overall mileage was 38, on the second tank (about 470 miles on odometer), my mileage went up to 39, now I am on my 5th tank and my odometer is at about 1500 miles and my mileage is about 42.

    My driving is 60 highway/40 town and includes two tall ridge lines to cross each way.

    I figure at this rate by the time the engine is loosened up my mileage should be somewhere about 46.

    I do note that on the straight flat sections my indicated MPG hovers around the 50 to 55 MPG bar. :D
  • mautomauto Posts: 75
    Engine "loosened up"? Maybe that was true back in the 70s/80s, but not today. If you could do a lab test on a Civic by holding all the other variables constant, such as temperature, traffic conditions, wind conditions, fuel pump cut-off variations when refueling, etc., you would probably find that a "loose" engine would contribute a few tenths of an MPG to your fuel economy.
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Winter 2004: 55-60MPG
    Last summer: 58-65
    Last winter: 58-62
    Last couple of months 62-65MPG

    41K miles driven and 17months have been consistent.
    Drive from rural N. Georgia into the City of Atlanta and back for work, ~96miles round trip. Extremely hilly as it is the foothills of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
    I'm currently trying to set my miles per tank record: On this single trip I've driven over 550 miles and have one bar of fuel above the half way mark still lit.
    Never had so much fun saving so much fuel (and $)
  • cablackcablack Posts: 45
    The empirical evidence from this and other forums is that after about 5000 miles or so, most folks get better mileage than they did when they first bought the car. This could be a result of:

    - learning how to drive more efficiently
    - different seasons (spring vs. winter)
    - differences in the automobile itself, i.e. the aforementioned "loosening up"

    I'm sure that the first two items can contribute to the increase in MPG. I'm not sure that anybody knows for certain what the effect of the third item is, but the good news is that mileage does indeed seem to improve for most folks after the first few thousand miles.
  • cablackcablack Posts: 45
    2005 HCH CVT, currently with 10,000 miles

    - City, 6 mile commute, 44-46 MPG
    - Highway, 50-52 MPG

    - City, 6 mile commute, 46-48 MPG
    - Highway, 50-52 MPG

    Driving style: pretty low-key, and I tend to stay close to the speed limits now.
  • firekingfireking Posts: 3
    I'm so sick and tired of various reviews badmouthing hybrids and how the published EPA numbers aren't applicable in the real world. The problem is the drivers/reviewers who have never owned a hybrid and have no idea how to drive one. I used to have an Insight and routinely got 65+ MPG only after I drove it for a few months. And although my Civic hybrid 5 speed can't match what the Insight achieved, my average of 54 MPG (about 50/50 hwy/city) is very nice. I'm glad to see people here that know how to drive a hybrid and realize it's not so much what you drive, but how you drive it.

    Everett, WA
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Yes, I know what you mean.
    My tank came out to 886 miles and I put in 13 point something gallons which came out over 66MPG. The last fuel bar had just gone out.
    It was a little better than expected.
  • markdelmarkdel Posts: 56
    Gee, I've tried all the suggestions and now I have to syphon out two to three gallons each day or my fuel tank will leak out on the highway as I drive... NOT.

    Either you guys with 50+ MPG are driving on pure plain flat ground or you are in a car that I don't have. I have tried all, and I mean ALL of the the "tricks" mentioned in ALL of the posting sights, and the HCH I own will not get better than 42 MPG. And, it does not seem to be operating abnormally.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    quote markdel - "And, it does not seem to be operating abnormally." -end quote

    If what you say is true, meaning you have tried the tricks, then something is WITHOUT A DOUBT wrong with your HCH.

    Try this: on your next fillup, clear the "A" trip meter. Choose a station which is about 10 miles from your home, and that can be driven on "city streets" or a non-busy highway. If you drive on city streets, choose a path with the fewest red lights. Find a road and set the cruise on 40 MPH. If you are on the highway, set the cruise at 60 MPH.

    Let us know the MPG figure you get when you arrive home. It should be somewhere in the 60s if you did not have to stop and restart very many times.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095

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  • markdelmarkdel Posts: 56
    I have done just that, many times. I use trip A for fill ups and I have not reset trip B since I bought the car. Trip B has every mile driven on the car and it reads 40.2 MPG, at 2,684 Miles. When filling up I use a gas station about 12 miles away, all freeway. I average 52 MPG one way and 39 MPG the other way (non-stop miles) I figure the difference is due to the fact that I am going uphill in one direction and down hill the otherway, which gives me and average of 44.5 MPG, all on cruise control. When combining this with getting on and off the freeway and doing other things my mileage drops to and average of 38 to 42 from tank to tank, and overall (as indicated by trip B) I get 40 MPG PERIOD.

    I don't go over 3000 RPM, and I defie anyone to accelerate away from a stop light and not go below 10 MPG and if you use any of the IMA function you will not get 40+ MPG until you get to cruising speed. I have tried. And going from stop light to stop sign to stop light in town, you are just not going to get 56 MPG.
  • 107main107main Posts: 33
    The real world facts: I have 2100 miles on my 05 CVT and have a life time average of 38.2 MPG local/hwy 70/30%. I use the AC and drive conservatively with 35psi in tires. You will see inflated figures by some on here, and if these are true, do you really want to buy a car and drive with 50 PSI in tires, not use the AC, and have people blowing horns at you to get out of way or give it the gas? I would like more mileage, but that is what I get in my driving area with worlds worse traffic light system, etc. This MPG is still a whole lot better than my previous vehicle at 17 or so MPG!
  • markdelmarkdel Posts: 56
    THANK YOU, I agree, 40MPG is great compared to the 18MPG I was getting before I got my Honda.
    Some of the posts I have read are a little suspicious. One said to try to keep it to "ONE BAR of assist", well, in my HCH you get 5 bars or more of either assist or charge but nothing less. You cannot get just one bar. Makes me wonder about the rest of the advice from that poster.
    And, no, I will not put 50PSI in my tires, and I like AC, too. :D
  • firekingfireking Posts: 3
    I've found that using cruise control does not result in the best gas mileage in every situation. Feathering the accelerator to just maintain speed is a sure fire way of getting the most MPG for your desired speed. Normal driving for me is about a 50/50 mix of hwy/city, and in an area with lots of rolling hills. My speed fluctuates from 25 to 70 MPH and I consistently get anywhere from 52 to 56 MPG. I don't drive in the granny lane, I don't always use the AC (unless it's hot), and my tire pressure is not maxed out. As far as markdel's mpg numbers, I can only say that of course if you accelerate from a stop with a fully depressed accelerator, your MPG will go to 10 and your IMA will be pegged out. That is what the IMA is for. Getting one bar of assist is probably beyond your foot's ability to move in small amounts, but it can be done, although I don't see the advantage of doing so. The IMA is supposed to take the place of that extra little bit of gas used by regular engines when accelerating. Some suggest that is the best way to improve your mileage, by quickly accelerating to cruising speed then maintaining it with the minimum amount of throttle. I think the habits we all developed before we got hybrids has a negative effect on the true potential of these machines. It's hard to unlearn bad habits, but with practice, we can all do it.
  • richard26richard26 Posts: 2
    I bought a 2005 Civic Hybrid last month and after 2 fill ups my mileage is 561.7 and my mileage per gallon is only 30.393. The mileage has been 80% city & 20% highway. The dealer tells me that there is a break in time & that I should wait until the car has 2,000 miles on it. Is there something I'm doing wrong or is the dealer correct.
  • 107main107main Posts: 33
    You should be getting 38 or better based on what I have experienced driving about a half dozen or so of these cars other than my own HCH. Do you have the AC switches both on auto and the econ button on? Does your engine stop running when you stop at a light or stop sign? If this is happening, you must have a lead foot as your mileage is in the tank so to speak. I think there is a part in manuall on how to drive and improve your mileage. I know I have slowed down and anticipate lights so I dont have to stop and go so much.
    My experience having 2800 miles on my CVT model is that the mileage has not increased. I started out with an average between 38-39 and it has stayed there. I think the mileage is probably in the range of 38-45 for these cars. There are those who make claims of way over 50 mpg. They may well be doing that, but I would have to see it personally to believe it. Apparently they drive with overinflated tires and no AC. I wont do that!
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Want to see it personally?
    I made a video of one of my commutes just for you doubting Thomas's and for others who may like to improve their numbers. The camcorder was strapped to the rear of the front seats and at the same time a webcam was recording the FCD.
    Since it would be difficult to see uphill-flat-down hill grades I added an indicator for that as well. You also see the live rearview shot as well as an IMA indicator. Posted speed limits and actual speed, and tips are also shown.

    The file is 117MB MPEG.
    It is posted on another hybrid site, and if I post a link here the good and wise Edmund moderators will understandably delete this entire post and shred my membership for breach of rules.
    "Today I brought my camcorder" is a good hint if you want to find it, if I may.

    Despite a constant 10-15MPH head wind and traffic jams I still got 63 point something MPG on my 46 mile drive which was a little short of my goal. Extremely hilly, about half is single lane highway, about half is freeway into Atlanta onto about 4 miles of 5:30PM terrible rush hour traffic.
    Over 43K miles and 19months of driving with 55-67MPG tanks I've never had anyone blow horns or appear even slightly irritated. Not even one.
    We applied the same driving technique laid out in my video while driving our 2001 Grand Caravan and the MPG per tank also went up from about 17 to around 26. Not bad.

    So download the video if you can and see how.
  • hybrid_brihybrid_bri Posts: 15
    On the cars first tank of fuel I went 497miles, filled it with 10.5 gallons which equates to 47+mpg. It was driven daily up and down hills. Minimun use of the IMA with an average shift point of 2,400 RPM. So far I am very pleased.
    I can't wait to see the milage improve once the engine breaks in.
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Markdel, in post #14 you mentioned:
    One said to try to keep it to "ONE BAR of assist"
    "You cannot get just one bar. Makes me wonder about the rest of the advice from that poster."

    Can you point out where anyone says one bar of assist?

    If you are referring to me, read again:
    Post #4
    "On this single trip I've driven over 550 miles and have one bar of fuel above the half way mark still lit."
    Post #9
    "The last fuel bar had just gone out."

    I'm sure it was just careless reading but wanted to set it straight.
  • aero_engaero_eng Posts: 2
    I commute 17 miles each way to work, about 15 on the highway. If I keep my speed below about 60 mph (hard to do around Boston, but you can) I can average 49-49.5 mpg. This goes down to 39-40 mpg if I keep up with traffic, driving 70-75 mph.

    For those interested in the technical details, here are some rough numbers. Aerodynamic drag accounts for about 50% of the drive power at these speeds. Drag increases as speed squared, so increasing from 60 to 75 mph causes drag to go up by 56%, increasing the required drive energy by about 20-25%. This accounts for the 20% reduction in mileage when I drive faster.
  • cablackcablack Posts: 45
    Thanks aero_eng for the great description. For me, it seems like the effect on mileage only kicks in above a certain speed, somewhere above 60 or 65 mph. In other words, at 55 mph on the freeway I get about 54 mpg; at 65 mph on the freeway, I get roughly the same thing: 54 mpg. However, at 75 mph on the freeway, my mpg goes down to the mid-40s.

    Do you know why this is? Are all cars effected at these speeds, or are cars with more powerful engines effected less?

  • aero_engaero_eng Posts: 2
    Power is required by losses in the drivetrain, engine, etc, as well as the force required to deform the tires as they roll. These types of loads generally go up with the speed, while aerodynamic drag goes up with the square of the speed. So, at some speed, the aero overtakes everything else. That is when you start to see the more dramatic mileage reductions.

    To some degree, the effect is less with bigger engines. This is due to the "overhead" power necessary to keep the engine running. That is, they waste quite of bit of power even at low speeds, so the effect on mileage when you go faster seems smaller.

    Also, this all assumes constant-speed operation. When you are accelerating, more power is required because you are increasing the kinetic energy (energy of motion) of the car. You normally throw away this energy when you brake. The advantage of the hybrid is that it recovers this energy and puts in in the battery, using it the next time you accelerate.

  • markdelmarkdel Posts: 56
    I just read the message and want to correct a missaprehension, I do not floor the accelerator, I press it down untill, and just until, the assist is at max. :blush:
  • lamu9lamu9 Posts: 4

    I have been keeping very close track of my mileage since the purchase of my 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. I have had the car since mid April 2005. I have already had my first oil change. The mileage (regardless of freeway or street/stop-and-go) remains between 30 mpg and 33 mpg. The REGULAR civic claims it has mileage of 38 mpg! I have done some extensive research on mileage and how one might increase it. I have changed my driving habits to anticipate traffic changes, drive freeways more than streets, coast more and for longer durations than accelerate, use air conditioning moderately (open window more often), keep tire pressure up. I do all these things and yet I'm still getting worse mileage than my 1998 Honda Civic did! However, now I have the added bonus of a monthly car payment for the next 5 years. That is false advertising. I've been hearing more frequently that this is a common complaint of 2005 Civic Hybrid owners. I wonder if a class action suit might be considered and if so, how to join. I paid well over $6,000 than if I had just bought a regular 2005 Civic. I think they cheated me out of the $6,000.
  • duddyduddy Posts: 1
    Hi -- I purchased a Honda Civic Hybrid at exactly the same time as you (April 15, 2005) and have, over the past 5,000 miles, averaged 53.3 miles per gallon according to the dashboard computer readout. I would say close to 60 percent of my mileage has been on the Interstate, but I average about 48 mpg on city streets and 57 on the highway.

    I do tend to drive a little under the 75-mph speed limits in my home state and drive with a light touch on the accelerator, so I suppose I'm squeezing every ounce of mileage I can out of the fuel tank. I also do not employ the air conditioning often. When I do, I've found it reduces mileage about 20 percent. That is significant, but it still yields approximately 43 mpg on average when it is running.

    If you are getting just 30 to 33 mpg and doing all you mentioned, i.e., coasting, anticipating traffic conditions, reducing air conditioning usage, something appears to be radically wrong with your vehicle. The current recall of Honda Civic Hybrids might be an opportunity for you to have the problem examined and corrected. I wish you better gas mileage.
  • cablackcablack Posts: 45
    The average mileage for the honda civic hybrid seems to be somewhere between 42 and 46, based on real people's mileage in databases elsewhere and at City driving is the most sensitive to particular conditions, and your mileage can even dip below 40. On the highway, however, at a constant rate of 65 MPH, most people seem to get over 50 without trouble.

    The HCH seems to be particularly sensitive to inefficient driving styles, due to its small engine and non-aerodynamic shape. If you are getting 30 MPG in your HCH, either:

    - your driving style is such that you would be getting in the low 20s in a regular civic, or
    - something is seriously wrong with your car.

    Since your dealer is probably just going to say it's not a problem with the car, you might try having a friend who is notorious for getting good mileage (e.g. another HCH or Prius owner), and let them drive your car. It should only take them a mile or two in order to determine if the problem is your car, or your driving style.
  • We have had our HCH for about 7 months and 6000 miles. Our highest tank to date was 37.2 mpg. We normally average about 34. Lately in the heat, we have been getting 32 to 34. Doesn't really seem to matter what we do differently, the mileage always averages about the same. We drive about 80% city and 20% freeway. We are not lead foots and are constantly keeping an eye on our current mile per gallon indicator. We always have the auto stop on. We have never averaged over 40 mpg like others post. Has any of the advice you've received helped your mileage? We are very discoraged and feel like we have tried everything. We just received a recall for the car running too lean. I'm afraid this repair will only make the mpg lower.
  • kmh3kmh3 Posts: 35
    Getting 43mpg avg so far on the first tank with a 13 (each way) mile commute, 3 miles city, 10 miles highway. I have to use air-conditioning one way.

    The highway part is one long hill (uphill to work and downhill coming back), I am having trouble maintaining 60+mph without mashing the gas pedal. If I mash it my mileage goes down into the mid 30's. So as a neophyte who doesn't know how to drive this car yet I am stuck at about 58 mph when climbing the long hill to maintain 40+ mpg. I still pass the semi's anyway. :-)
    Hoping things will improve in time.

    I have tried several tricks mentioned in these forums and they all seem to work. Using moderate accelleration up to speed and coasting (clutch down) to the next stoplight is my favorite trick so far since my stoplights are just about the right distance from each other for that to work well. Coasting seems to drain the battery quicker however, even though I downshift during braking it isn't enough to keep up, but my city leg is short enough this is not a problem. I pumped up my tires too (44PSI). I like the improved road feel too.

    Overall this car is fun to drive.
    It is like having a dog, the pet trains the owner. :-)

  • lamu9lamu9 Posts: 4
    I read many discussion boards online prior to buying my hybrid. I spent the first 2 months re-learning how to drive and be mindful of things that can reduce mileage: air conditioning use, heavy load, tire pressure, stop and go, alot of acceleration and excessively high speeds. I have made concerted efforts to use the econ button when using air conditioning, not using A/C when open window is sufficient, keeping my tires at 35-40 psi, not carrying much of anything in the trunk when not necessary, driving in such a way as to anticipate changes in traffic to utilize the coasting feature (in which I see I'm supposedly getting over 60 mpg), and not driving over 60 or 65 unless I make a trip to Bakersfield (I've done this twice to visit family). I have tracked my mileage and gallons purchased and gallons consumed. I'm averaging 33 mpg. When I first got the car it was 23 mpg and then I even saw a couple of refills yielded 36 mpg but nonetheless I'm getting 30-33 mpg. I did indeed get the recall letter and promptly (2 weeks ago) got the service to the software. I have refueled since then and saw another 33 mpg tank gone by. I'm so frustrated and disappointed. I really love the concept of contributing to our environment in a positive way and for that reason I paid the extra cost to get this instead of regular civic. Yet, I felt that the payoff would be in miles per gallon savings. My old 1998 civic was getting almost this much in mileage and it worked great! I really am starting to wonder why I did this. Can anyone add that they saw significant changes in mileage with more time after the recall software is done? I drive 80% freeways on average...
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    wants to get in a car and drive, just as they do today. If they're motivated they'll check the air pressure in the tires once a month. They are going to have kids and extra stuff in the vehicle. They are going to drive with traffic on freeways. They are not going to be anticipating traffic and avoiding lights and traffic jams as if many could avoid them. People are going to drive at -10F on snow tires. This is real world.

    I had an '88 Honda CRX w/auto that got 40mpg in those conditions. I would expect a hybrid version could get 50 mpg with no special attention to nursing the vehicle. If you can't just hop in an HCH and get 45-50mpg, why bother, and spend the extra money. Hopefully the new HCH will perform better in real-world as their marketing states.
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