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Honda Civic Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers



  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    "Do whatever you like, but Honda doesn't put out the mileage estimates, the EPA does"

    Just to be pedantic, the manufacturers test their own vehicles using a protocol defined by the EPA. The EPA audits the results and does their own confirmatory tests on 10-15% of the tests.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    To rebut that statement (which IS entirely true and valid)...

    Do you (you being plural, not just nedzel) honestly think Honda would put out false info and possibly ruin their reputation in the car community as one of the best companies for fuel efficiency in North America? I don't think Honda would take that chance; too much rides on that reputation.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Well, it is considered a mid sized car so I guess that term "small-ish" is relative. What are you comparing it to?? Compared to most of the cars discussed here in the Civic site it certainly is "largish"
  • 74apollo74apollo Posts: 22
    We bought our Civic Hybrid in January '08 and have 5,604 miles on it. We left one trip meter untouched since we purchased it and are averaging 40.2 mpg for combined city & hwy miles. I just ret'd from a 365 mile highway trip and averaged 48.9. I have found the optimum speed for best mpg is 67 or 68 on the highway.

    I saw the message about mpg going down after replacing the tires. This is an issue I am having with my '03 Mini Cooper. I consistently got 38 mpg until I replaced the tires, then it went down to 30 mpg. The only thing I can figure out is the tire size is different which would make the gauge calibration wrong. The mpg gauge would need to be recalibrated to the new tire size.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If you did indeed change the size of your tires/wheels you'd need to recalibrate your speedometer and odometer as well. That will certainly throw things off.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    What were the old and the new tire sizes? A 21% decline in mpg (38 to 30) would be just about impossible to explain on the basis of size, for tires that anyone would actually choose.

    If you went to larger diameter tires, then this would cause the odometer to read lower than the true distance, leading to a falsely low value for the mpg. But when people go to larger tires they usually only increase the diameter by a few percent. Tires 20% larger in diameter (and circumference) would be unheard of. Five percent larger is about the most that could fit in the wheel wells.

    According to TireRack the 2003 Mini Cooper came with one the following three tires depending on whether the wheels were 15", 16" or 17" diameter.

    175/65-15: diameter at tread 24.0"
    195/55-16: diameter at tread 24.4"
    205/45-17: diameter at tread 24.3"

    Which tires were OE on your Mini Cooper and what did you change to?

    Of course, for tires of the same diameter there are especially sticky tires, which are optimized for maneuvering and braking on dry pavement, and other tires, with lower rolling resistance, designed to give low rolling resistance at the expense of performance and maybe length of service.
  • dongadonga Posts: 9
    Appreciate the feedback and suggestions and I am open to any ideas.

    This is my wife's car and she is a pro at getting good mpg on a tank of gas by using the cruise control, a lot, at about 65. I keep the car cleaned out, so not much in extra weight, etc. Like I said, the mpg dropped 20+% back in October, like the flip of a switch, and hasn't changed since. Weather (?-California), gas formulas, tires, etc. have all been offered up as reasons, but we're going on 9 months with no change for the better. I did get the average over 44 on a trip back from Tahoe, but it's almost literally downhill from there and I got 35 in my TL on the same 100 miles. Anyway, I'm fairly convinced there is something not right with the computer or something but nothing is being detected other than the mpg. We do keep track of the mpg on paper and it's usually 1-2 mpg better than the car tells us. I doubt the tires (same size as OEM) can make that much of a difference, but I may try to get a set and see if that is it.

    The car has 50,000 miles on it, so I'll probably try the spark plugs, but because of the sudden change, I don't hold a lot of hope for that. With the price of gas nowadays, it would be nice to get that other 10mpg back...
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Hi. This is my 1st post at Edmunds in years. You can see me posting from page 1 to 9 on this thread. Since this is a new community to me please let me re-introduce myself.

    I've owned my HCH1 since new on Jan 18 2004. It is my commuter car, of which I drive 50 miles from rural N. Ga into the city of Atlanta, and another 50 back home.

    My old car got about 16MPG, and when my new HCH did mid 40's it sparked an interest in how high I can get it to go. At the time I had an optimum commute: Start work in the city by 6PM and off at 2AM. This provided light traffic traveling to work, and almost zero traffic going home.

    I spent two years practicing and learning hypermiling, and using almost every technique to the extreme achieved my personal record of 1004 miles on a tank for 74.9MPG (miles/gallons calculated).

    A few months later I was bumped to a regular daytime shift Due to the abominable traffic and trip time, I reduced my efforts. Since then I have averaged just over 60MPG and +800 miles/tank with moderate fuel saving techniques. Combined with my earlier exteme efforts, my lifetime MPG over 122,000 miles is about 64.

    It is a combination of distance commute and techniques why I get such high MPG.

    If you like I can post tips, but will likely be a long post with techniques you've likely heard, along with some you may not have.

    Anyway just wanted to drop back in and say "HI"

  • 74apollo74apollo Posts: 22
    I'd appreciate hearing your driving techniques for optimum mpg
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    These tips are based on a 2004 HCH1 with CVT.
    Some of these tips can be controversial.
    Some of these tips can be dangerous if not done properly.
    All of these tips can save you gas money.
    All these tips are not for everybody, so if you're not comfortable with them then don't do them. Traffic condition safety effect all of these suggestions.

    If you use any of these tips, take it with moderation. You should enjoy your driving experience, so if you are not comfortable then "step back a little".

    My goal have always been #1Safety #2Courtesy #3Efficiency. I've never been victim of road rage, exept for two days when I had a bumper sticker "I GET 65MPG ... YOU?" I removed the sticker and immediately went back to normal.

    The more you apply these tips, the more you'll save on gas. Of course, the opposite also applies.
    I have omitted usual, well known tips like no "jack rabbit starts" etc

    With that said ...

    Driving for efficiency is a mindset. You can't decide to be efficient one day but not the next: It is not one or two main things you do, but a large collection of little things, every decision you make along your trip. If you drive very efficiently for a number of miles, then gas hard to pass someone- your whole earned efficiency is greately reduced.

    *First get your vehicle ready.
    1. Make sure the engine is running properly, not lacking maintenance(Including filters).
    2. Have front end aligned at least every 20K miles.
    3. Tire inflation

    There is usually a MFG recommended tire pressure sticker located in your driver side door jam. This should be considered MINIMUM pressure. You won't be getting optimum efficiency out of soft, spongey tires so consider an increase. Some increase a little, but I run mine all the way up to the cold pressure rating as printed on the tire sidewall.
    My previous set lasted to 88,000 miles and wore evenly across.
    My Dunlops are rated 51PSI. It's a ride hard as rock, but as efficient as possible.

    4. Install a block/tank heater for the winter months, and consider a radiator block as well.
    5. Empty all the junk out of your trunk. Do you really need to carry that 50lb toolbox where ever you go?
    6. Fuel consumption gauge help you learn efficiency. Keep your current, real time MPG line above your average when ever possible.
    Your vehicle is most efficient while cruising on level ground between about 40-55MPH and sharply drops off above 60. It burns about twice the amount of fuel to go 70 than it does to go 50. These are my own general average speeds:
    70 Limit: 63

    I love slow moving trucks because I can remain behind at a safe distance and not be noticed. I was blessed a few days ago with one going 53-65 in a 70- and gained more than 10MPG for that segment.
    I commute almost 50 miles to work, and my slower speed only adds a few minutes.
    Don't let your engine idle for more than a few seconds without moving. Let it lube up and get going.
    Your vehicle is a comparative gas consuming pig during warmup. Treat it so, and accelerate as lightly as possible. This is especially critical for shorter trips.
    If you know you won't be staying long (At a store, picking up a friend etc) don't take so much time that your engine cools off again.
    (For cold weather months) Your engine will heat up faster if it has to heat only itself, vs itself and the cabin.
    Once warmed up then enjoy the heat.
    Drive with constant load, not constant speed. It means letting your speed drop while going uphill, and increase going downhill. Think of yourself as riding a bicycle. Would you really want to keep constant speed (Effort) up that tall hill? Sure, if you were looking to burn more calories (Energy).
    You travel the same road almost everyday- become familiar with every hill whether large or small, and memorize how much fuel is required for each one. (Your instant mileage gauge line helps with this)
    Avoid accelerating uphill when possible. Accelerating downhill is more efficient.
    Try to keep momentum around corners, etc. Don't slow down/speed up unneccessarily, like on flat level roads.
    Leave a lot of space to the car ahead. That way you can keep momentum and not be forced to mimick the other driver's bad habits.
    Time your arrival so not to stop. Sometimes you can slow down and let the car ahead of you arrive first, tripping the light to green for you. For blind lights, make a good guess of the light status by oncoming traffic patterns.
    Imagie your brakes don't work: get off the gas well before the stop without using your brakes. Use it for the traffic lights tip above and in heavy traffic. Light brake pedal pressure activates regen. Use it like one would downshift.
    You don't usually need a rolling ice box so don't just set it and forget it. TURN OFF the compressor while climbing hills or other power-demanding situations like accelerating. It is more efficient to switch it ON while going downhill, or decelerating.
    Your defroster also uses the AC compressor, which relates to the tip above.
    Again, use good safety judgement. Don't roll in N down a winding mountain pass. Don't ride your brakes. If it is doubtful, don't use this tip.
    However, rolling in N (Or clutch pedal pushed) is one of the most efficient techniques you can use.
    I often use this in heavy Atlanta traffic jams where one stops, waits, then rolls at .5 - 20 MPH for fifty feet, then stops again.
    Waiting in drive-thru's, stopped in traffic, waiting for traffic lights are all examples of when you can shut it off, and stop consuming gas.
    This goes with keeping momentum, and usually on a cold engine. If you park facing in, you'll need to go in reverse, stop, switch gears and go again.
    Don't keep changing gas pedal positions while climbing a hill. Your CVT can't figure out if you're coasting or passing. Holding it still will allow the proper load to ratio adjustment for the given hill. Make only small corrections if neccessary.

  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407

    You might want to consider my final tip. The procedure can be extremely dangerous if used in poor judgement. I use it in creeping heavy traffic, where speeds are no faster than about 10MPH. I also use it for a mile through my town, speed is below 35MPH.

    The tip is to switch your ignition key to OFF, then back to RUN without restarting your engine. All the electronic saftety equipment boots back up, and you can do a low speed roll, using no gas at all. It is most efficient possible- and among the most dangerous if used in poor judgement.

    For reference from more hypermilers:

    That's enough tips for now, I hope these helped anybody.
  • shragshrag Posts: 1
    First, let me give you a brief history. I've been driving small to mid-sized cars in past years when gas prices were a bit more realistic (I still remember gas at half a buck). I live in So. Cal. and my current work commute is 64 miles EACH way (mostly highway driving).

    I am what you call "heavy-footed" when driving. I keep up with the traffic (in So. Cal. it's usually 70-80 mph), make many "jack-rabbit" starts and have no aversion to speeding up to pass a slower driver. My last car was a 2007 Ford Mustang which was averaging 20 MPG. However, when gas went over $4/gal, I knew it was time to be more fuel efficient to stay out of the poor house. So I got the Civic Hybrid because I couldn't stand the way the Prius looked, plus it was more roomy and a nicer, more comfortable drive.

    Obviously, the first thing I've had to overcome was my "heavy-footed" style of driving - easier said than done! So far, I have about 1000 miles on the car and I am getting approx. 37 MPG. I've read many of the blogs that say it takes anywhere from 2000 - 15,000 miles before you can achieve mileage in the mid to high 40s. Truthfully, my mileage has been going up very slightly, but I believe it is more because of my ever improving driving habits.

    There are certain things I have learned in my short hybrid experience, but for me the number one goal (other than NOT getting into a fender-bender) is enjoying the drive - my commute can get very boring, even with books-on-tape! While Steve's tips are interesting, many are unrealistic for a driver in California. You try driving 60-65 on the highways here and see how many people flip you off, not to mention how frustrated you become as you watch little old ladies in BMWs pass you by!

    There are however several of Steve's tips that I would agree with, especially using the N (neutral) shift position and "gliding" whenever possible. I also think that keeping constant speed on straight-a-ways by using the cruise control definitely helps. Otherwise, I think the drive would quickly become very un-enjoyable if one was trying to follow every one of Steve's driving techniques. I think the main difference for me is the doubling of my gas mileage, which has certainly helped already. Everything after that is gravy, as they say.

    My opinion is: don't worry so much about squeezing out every drop of mileage from these hybrid cars. Remember, you're already getting much better mileage than most of the folks out there. What's more, the alternative fuel sources (e.g. H-cell) are just around the corner!!

    - Shrag
  • cn224cn224 Posts: 2
    Does any one know how the Civic Hybrid actually calculates mpg showing on the driver console? Is the mpg shown realistic and reliable, no matter you turn A/C on or off?
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Hi shrag:

    I had posted that all the tips aren't for everyone. Safety is #1 and must be made with good judgement.

    I've been a lead foot from 1977 to 2004 and I've grown tired of all my previous cars after the first year. My last car was Dodge Spirit 4yl EPA rated 24MPG, I did 16-18 because of my bad habits.
    I've been hypermiling my HCH since 2004, still find it the most fascinating car I've ever owned, and each drive is a new challenge even after almost 4 years. Surely hypermiling isn't everyone's game, but I still wanted to get the tips out there.

    Dashboard mileage calcuation:
    It accounts how many miles are being traveled with the amount of fuel delivered at the injectors. In my own experience with the HCH1 CVT (Per tank):

    55 on the dash calcuates to about 50MPG at the pump, and

    I haven't noticed any differences in calculations vs. AC or not.
  • highmpghighmpg Posts: 9
    ON the 2006 HCH with most recent software updates it seems cruise control does help MPG, especially on relatively flat roads.
    I think the computer gets irritated if you try to drive for better MPG & try to force shifting etc. I am not sure why - but try it & see if it boosts your averages.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I think the computer gets irritated if you try to drive for better MPG & try to force shifting

    The '06 HCH is CVT only isn't it? How would you "force shifting?"
  • highmpghighmpg Posts: 9
    That's a good question - you can force a shift by how fast & hard you press the gas pedal. If you quickly release the pedal it might shift to a higher gear & lower the RPM.
    If you push gas , hard & fast, it forces a down shift in the CVT.

    On the Ford Escape hybrid this techniques gives the user some good results in many cases, but the HCH I have (2006) doesn't seem to respond well to any user generated sudden attempts to lower the RPM.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Ah, I see what you are saying. It really doesn't "Shift Gears" but rather increases or decreases the gear ratio; already knew that - I just thought you meant I was forgetting a 5-speed manual or other option!
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    thegraduate: I think perhaps you were misinterpreting my post. I was in no way implying that Honda (or any other manufacturer) is misleading the public. EPA sets the standard test procedures and the manufacturers follow it. I'm sure that the manufacturers faithfully follow the EPA test procedures.

    I was simply pointing out that the EPA generally doesn't perform the tests -- the manufacturers perform the test in accordance with the EPA procedures. The EPA does audit the results and does some testing of 10-15% of the cars to confirm that the manufacturers are following the procedures.
  • cn224cn224 Posts: 2
    Thanks for reply.

    I can get only 47MPG max on my HCH 08 dashboard. How could you get 55MPG or higher?
  • gearhead8gearhead8 Posts: 12
    You are right on!
    Steve, I know what you are talking about, and my experience says everthing you say is true. I test drove the Civic Hybrid but purchased a standard Civic LE.
    Most of the tips you offer apply to any vehicle. Using your methods I ALWAYS exceed the EPA MPG estimates for any vehicle I drive.
    I think the Prius makes better use of Hybrid technology, but these days they are hard to find on a dealer lot. A Civic Hybrid is a good second choice (In May 2008, I could have purchased one for $800 under MSRP).
    If more people would adopt your sensibilites and drove conservatively, we would cut our gasoline use in the USA by at least 33%. Unfortunately, attitudes and habits are hard to change. I don't hink we will ever see $3.00 per gallon gas again.
    Thanks for your post!!!
  • I changed tires on a 2006 HCH back in January after only about 40k miles when you could see the belts on the inside of both front tires. Dealer checked alignment but made no adjustment (per the printout it was within spec) and replaced tires with a different brand. Since that time, fuel economy is about 7 MPG worse. I have asked them to check the car twice subsequently and they say everthing is within spec. I currently believe the non-factory tires are the issue, but I don't see others blaming tires to this degree. Does anyone know of a service bulletin regarding this issue?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Honda Civic 2006-2007 Issues Thread - Click Here

    There has been a known problem where the rear control-arms of the suspension are causing premature tire wear on Civics. My dad's EX sedan (2007) required new tires at 30k miles, and needs them again at 54k miles after having the work done from a TSB a few weeks ago. He's currently trying to get Honda to pay a prorated amount on the cost of the two sets of tires that the car has ruined prematurely. You can read more about it at the link provided above.
  • aueaue Posts: 16
    Not only is there a TSB on the rear control arm replacement; there are recalls on a possible short circuit in the battery system behind the back seat and a possible failure of the brake light switch due to over lubrication of the telescopic steering column. You should have been notified by Honda about the 2 recalls but nobody will notify you about the TSB. I found the TSB online and had to confront the dealer with it before they would do anything. The tires were at 44K and Honda wouldn't replace them, although they did replace the control arms. It is totally annoying that Honda purports to have the greenest vehicles in the universe and then treats its customers worse than any Detroit car companies would.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    A TSB isn't made to be distributed to the public. Instead, it is given to service techs and advisors to help them know exactly how to diagnose and fix a commonly found problem.
  • dongadonga Posts: 9
    If you look at my posts, we are having the same issue with our 2006 hybrid. At first I was sure something was up with the car because the mpg drop happened immediately after servicing by a dealer. I did have new tires, Pirelli P4, put on on the way there, but I swear the mpg was normal during the 15 mile drive to the dealership. But, after all this, I do believe the tires are responsible for a drop in mileage, although I find it hard to believe it can be a 20% difference, which is what we've experienced. Like I told someone who said the tires were the cause, I should have bought a standard Civic and put the factory "hybrid" tires on the car and saved the $2,000 difference. I do notice the automakers are putting road tires on most SUV's nowadays in an attempt to increase mileage ratings, I would assume, and that, to me, supports the whole idea of rolling resistance, which is a big factor in bike riding.

    I would like to find a reliable tire expert who can advise the best tire for max mpg, but no luck so far If you hear of a source or get some info on a good mpg tire, let me know.
  • aueaue Posts: 16
    Just got the over-lubed telescopic steering column recall done on a 2006 HCH, which involved replacing the brake light switch. Suddenly the AC didn't work. Although the dealer didn't admit screwing up, they got a diagnostic message to reset the computer and, voila! the AC works again. What a crappy car! Buy a Prius.
  • I just found an interesting report by the transportation research board. It's 178 pages and titled Tire and Passenger Vehicle Fuel Economy. It covers several tire factors that affect rolling resistance and therefore, gas mileage. One is the speed rating. It seems that the lower the speed rating the better the mileage. The tires I got on my 08 HCH were dunlop with S speed rating (104 mph). The other interesting factor was the tread. It acually turns out that the less tread the less rolling resistance. As a tire rolls down the road it deforms and then recovers. This process is known as hysteresis. As the tire wears there is less rubber to deform. That is why many people notice a drop in mileage right after thay replace their tires. It also is why putting more air in the tire increases the gas mileage. The tire deforms less and so there is less hysteresis and less rolling resitance. So you will acually get better mileage if you buy a tire with less tread. However the report does point out that the little savings in gas mileage Is probably eaten up by having to buy tires more often. The original Dunlops that came on my HCH are just about worn out after 16,000 miles and have no treadware warranty. I will probably look for a better wearing tire, even if it means a little less gas mileage. As the report point out as the tire wears your mileage will improve.
  • I now have over 16,000 on my 08 HCH and the last ten tanks of gas have averaged 53 mpg. Low tank was 49.8 and high was 55.2. I hope the milage doesn't go down too much when I change the tires.
  • FrungyFrungy Posts: 5
    I just bought my HCH a few months ago- I was getting about 42 mpg on it initially. My commute is only 10 minutes on city roads, so probably the worst-case scenario, though I do live in a warmer climate so the engine isn't running cold too long. Over time it slowly got worse, until 2 weeks ago when it hit 39 mpg. I ended up putting air in my tires (they were down to like, 22 psi or something) and now I'm back up at 45 mpg. I was pleasantly surprised at the results!
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