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Honda Civic Hybrid MPG-Real World Numbers



  • mrwaugmrwaug Posts: 16
    if your drop in mileage happened right after the oil change, I would suspect that they might have used somthing other than 0W/20 synthetic oil. That is if you took it someplace other than the dealer, they know better. I have heard of losses of up to 7 mpg by using 5W/30 oil.
    I am not sure about Honda, but other manufactures will have a different set of operating perameters during break in, in which you can expect to see lower mpg and horsepower. once you hit 10 to 20k miles, then things start working as they should. But this does not explane why you had high mpg and they are lower now.
    Try resetting your mpg counter and take it for a drive with the A/C off during the evening or night, this might show you what your numbers might be like without A/C
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    I have a new 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. It has 1,800 miles on it. The MPG lwr. dash indicator shows 33.4 mpg. Will measure next tankful miles/gallons to compare to dash display. Dealer told me that Civic Hybrid needs 5,000 mile break-in before getting good mpg. The owner's manual indicates 600 mile break-in period.
    Didn't reset any trip meters during the entire 1,800 miles.
    I noticed on older messages on Forums 2004, 2005 that people were reporting decent mpg. Is something wrong with my new 2009 Civic Hybrid? I also noted on one message long ago, that a long break-in period does very little to boost gas mileage. We do normal combination city/highway driving, no drag racing!!
  • refieldsrefields Posts: 18
    There are a lot of factors that can affect the mileage you get with your hybrid.

    Obviously there are the old stand-bys like how you drive and tire pressure. But especially during the summer, many states mandate different approaches to oxygenate fuel for smog reduction. One way is to blend in ethanol. If you are gassing up at a pump that says something along the lines of "contains up to 10% ethanol" then that will be another factor in reducing your gas mileage because ethanol doesn't have the same energy content as gasoline. It's lower.

    Also, where you fill up matters big time. It's the same issue as what grade of gas you buy. By law, gasoline can have a range of octane values that still qualify it as "regular" or "premium". It's more profitable for vendors and refiners to push those to the low end. If the gasoline you use does not burn as efficiently in your engine, at your altitude, etc, then you will get lower mileage.

    (And if anyone quips in that it doesn't matter because modern cars have knock sensors, they are incorrect. Even with knock sensors, if you are running a real octane value too low or too high for what your engine runs most efficiently with, your engine will get lower mileage. Retard the timing and the engine is less efficient and you have to put more fuel and air in to get the same power out. Richen the mixture and you are directly lowering the mileage. All knock sensors allow modern engines to do is to keep running without damaging the engine because of pre-ignition, aka detonation and knock.)

    My personal experience - backed up with the dash gauges, manually verifying the mileage with gallons filled up and mileage driven, and switching between different brands and grades of gas - is that in my area "mid-grade" gasoline from Chevron gets me the best mileage and the difference is enough to more than cover the difference inn price over buying the lowest cost regular, or even just regular at Chevron or other gas stations. It is a very false economy to always hunt the lowest gas prices. What people generally end up with is an inferior grade of gas that actually costs them more in the long run because their mileage is reduced.

    Also, the brand of tires can make a huge difference as well as the previously-mentioned tire pressure. Some tire rubber compounds are "stickier" and/or the construction of the tire just causes more rolling resistance in a trade off for better handling or whatever.

    I changed tires on my car and watched my mileage take a consistent 5 mpg hit. It rides nicer and feels like I have more control and maneuverability, but I haven't seen my previously common 50 mpg since. Even with pumping these tires up to the max recommended pressure, my mileage now is right at 45 mpg. The change was like night and day and happened right when I got the new tires. It was frustrating enough that I almost took them right back off and put on new Bridgestones which were what the car came with new. What I put on were Michelins.
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    Thank you, and I appreciate your response. I fuel up at CostCo. I don't believe they have all of the bad things, including ethanol that are written up in the owner's manual to not use. I have the tires that came with the Honda Civic Hybrid. If they advertise average of 42 mpg, then I would expect to get that with a brand new vehicle no matter what the tires are. These vehicles are tested with original factory equipment for the mpg., that includes tires. Has anyone ever been told by a dealer that the break-in time is 5,000 miles to get the advertised mpg for a Honda Civic Hybrid? I am ruling out gasoline quality and tires as a problem.
    It may be related to heat, as our temperatures have been in the low 100's for a week and a half, however we drove over to the coast last week for three days where it was in the mid 70's. Thanks for any info. anyone can provide.
  • refieldsrefields Posts: 18
    I've never been told 5,000 miles for break-in with any car.

    If you are fueling up at CostCo, on what basis do you exclude fuel quality? Have you tried other brands and grades to do any comparative testing?

    CostCo is going to be a bargain fuel reseller. I would put CostCo in the same category as buying gas at a convenience store. Maybe their gasoline is the primo stuff, fresh from the refinery and the octane rating spot on what is claimed, but I wouldn't bet on it.

    And if the temperature has been in the 100's, are you running the air conditioner? Any engine load will reduce mileage.

    Just for kicks, why not try a mid-grade tank from one of the majors? It will cost you 10-20 cents more per gallon - all of one to three dollars extra - but you might be pleasantly surprised. Then, if you do get better mileage, calculate out the cost per mile of gasoline costs and see which is lower.

    And if you do get 5 mpg extra, with a 12 gallon tank, that's an extra 60 miles - or a free gallon (1.2 gallons at 50 mpg) of gas and then some. If the difference in cost of a tank of regular and a tank of mid-grade is less than the cost of 1.2 gallons of regular, it's cheaper to run mid-grade.
  • refieldsrefields Posts: 18
    Um, no.

    In the old days, as now, a particular octane rating will work better and provide more power when used in engines with particular characteristics. Higher compression engines *still* need higher octane and lower compression engines *still* work best with lower octane.

    There is no problem if highmpg gets better mileage with a higher grade of gasoline. It could just mean that the gasoline in his area is marginal as to rating.

    That has been my experience from when I first bought my hybrid. I get about 5 mpg better mileage using mid-grade than regular. Legally, there is a range of actual octane values that are accepted for a particular grade and it is more profitable for refineries and dealers to sell the lowest allowable octane (if not lower) that can be sold as a particular grade.

    I think that where I am, and possibly where highmpg is, what is called mid-grade is probably a lot more like regular ought to be. Gas that barely passes as mid-grade is going to essentially be high-quality regular.

    I'll bet that top end cleaner makes no difference to highmpg's numbers. What really matters for most people is what your fuel cost is on a per mile basis. Other than that, the fuel that gives you your highest mpg *is* the fuel that operates your engine most efficiently. That's basically by definition. It could also be that the difference in mileage is more than enough to offset the difference in price per gallon which makes the gas that is most efficient also the best in fuel cost per mile.

    That's how it works for me. Verified - both by the dashboard mpg meter and manually checking the numbers with miles driven and gallons to fill up.

    I get higher mileage by running mid-grade and the extra mileage compensates and more for the higher price making that the cheapest fuel for me to use as well.

    This stuff is simple. All it takes is running the fuel and making simple calculations to figure it out.
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    Thanks again for the input. I just might try that, going to some other supplier of fuel. However, if Auto Manufacturers are going to specify the fuel ingredient requirements, then are we supposed to go to several different suppliers and ask them what is and is not in their fuel? Would the fuel station attendants even know?
    Are these things all posted at the fuel pumps? Should they have fuel pumps for Hybrid Cars only? Like diesel fuel for Trucks? Why don't the EPA test results of these Hybrid Cars indicate what fuel they used, other than Regular Lead Free Gasoline, if fuel quality makes a difference? I have never had a problem with fuel for MPG in other non Hybrid Autos, no matter where I fueled up, Chevron, Shell, Mobil, 7-11, CostCo, ARCO, whatever. After this next tank of gasoline, I will go to CHEVRON, the most expensive, and fill up, and see if it makes a difference, and I will let you know. I really suspect the dealer is feeding me a bunch of B.S.!
  • refieldsrefields Posts: 18
    What would be of more value would be to have tighter standards/requirements on gas grades. But there are also other factors - age of the gas and altitude a big ones - in how a gas grade works in a car's engine.

    Gasoline is really a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. It's also a natural product of sorts. Oil from one region can look very different from oil from another. Refining will balance a lot of things out but it's still a very complex mixture that on the whole has characteristics that allow it to be classified as a particular grade of gasoline. We're just stuck with the situation.

    The people that do gas mileage testing will verify the fuel that they use meets certain standards. It's just not practical for corner gas stations to do that. They may also have issues with water, their refiner might simply sell them substandard gas, etc. While the people evaluating mileage on cars may know pretty well what they are putting in the tank, we don't have that luxury and there are also the unscrupulous who take advantage to increase profits.

    One thing to also remember is that cars that get high mileage will show variations in that mileage more than cars that don't. Also, did you monitor and track mileage in the other non-hybrid cars? A 10% change in mileage on something that gets 50 mpg will be much more noticeable than on something that gets 25 mpg.

    And even if you fill up a Civic Hybrid with more expensive gasoline, it won't cost that much more since it is only 12 or so gallons. And in the long run, it might even save you money.

    As an aside, while I get about 5 mpg better mileage with mid-grade over regular, my milage went down by about 5 mpg with premium over regular. My car definitely does not like premium. Some stations have four grades of gasoline instead of just three. I'd go up just one grade and see how it does.

    And if you do notice a difference, keep in mind that things may change as seasons change, and from brand to brand and region to region. It's because formulations change between brands and between seasons even at the same station. Region to region will have even more possibilities for change. But in general for me, I pretty much always get the best mileage on mid-grade.
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    Thanks for the detailed explanation of Gasoline. I only see Regular and Premium at most pumps. I won't be spending extra on mid-grade or premium anyway, if the auto manufacturer states to use Regular Gasoline. I don't see anywhere on the Internet that people are complaining about the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid Fuel Mileage. It's either because not many people are purchasing new cars right now, no one else is having a problem, or there might really be a problem with my 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. I think the later, since the dealer is claiming the 5,000 mile break-in period. My next step is to go to the Honda Customer Service, in Torrance, CA and hopefully get some straight answers. I'm just frustrated when a lot that I have read indicates most people are getting 40 to 50 mpg with their Honda Hybrids. Maybe I need to go to a Honda Civic Hybrid Driving School, if it's not a mechanical problem. I really hope I don't have to drive the Hybrid like a little old lady from Pasadena, sweat my buns off with no A/C when it's 100 degrees, and buy the most expensive gasoline I can find. If so, I'm trading this puppy in for a Prius.
  • dan11809dan11809 Posts: 8
    My 06 civivc hybrid gets 35.1 overall mileage. I drive the fast lane with the speed of traffic in ca. and az.It used to get 45 at highway speeds,though now it feels as though something isn't right,it runs good just doesn't get the same mileage as before under same conditions.Battery goes dead sitting at lights and while driving leaving me with little power! I would sell this car if not for my h.o.v. stickers.
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    Dan, Sounds like you need to have the EMR Battery checked out. It's only 3 years old, and I believe the warranties are much longer than that. I talked to American Honda Headquarters today, and they verified that a 5,000 mile break-in is not required for getting the correct good gasoline mileage. The break-in is as stated in the Honda Civic Hybrid Owner's Manual. It is 600 miles. They told me to take my Hybrid to any Honda Dealer and ask for a Fuel Consumption Test, and they should honor it. However mine is a new Honda Hybrid with only 1,800 miles on it. Don't know about older Honda's out of Warranty. I plan to do this after my next tankful of gasoline & measurement. Incidently, (per Honda Headquarters) we're supposed to verify at any Gasoline Station we go to, that their gasoline meets the requirements as outlined in the Owner's Manual. Each station should have this information. This is to eliminate claims of "Junk Gasoline", or using "Higher Octane" as reason's for avoiding or getting better gasoline for better mileage.
  • dan11809dan11809 Posts: 8
    Fred, when I take my car to the dealer they tell me there are no codes.They can't repair anything without codes.I'll ask for the fuel consumption test,I'll bet that makes them laugh!
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    I called the American Honda Headquarters in Torrance, CA re: my Hybrid Gas Mileage and what the dealer had told me re: the 5,000 mile break-in period. I recommend that you call the Honda Headquarters also and thell them what the dealer told you.
    Also, tell them that you believe the EMR Battery is not getting charged. If you still have problems then another option is to report your problems to the Bureau Of Automotive Repair, via the State Consumer Protection Agency. They may even have an independant place that can do the testing, similar to independant Smog Check station. These are usually at colleges via their Automotive Repair Classes.
    These options are of course to be used only if the Dealer told you they can't look at your problem without Codes? Please call Honda Headquarters, they do escalate any problems with dealer's service.
  • kyhybridkyhybrid Posts: 6
    I love everything about my hybrid accept that i get horrible gas mileage! I get about 25MPG in the city and anywhere from 30MPG to 45MPG on the highway depending on the trip. It seems so odd for me to hear that everyone gets such great MPG and i dont. The dealer just tells me there is nothing they can do.
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    To: kyhybrid
    Please refer to message #458, and back to msg #455. Tell your Honda Dealer, or any Honda Dealer you want a Fuel Consumption Test per American Honda Inc. in Torrance, CA
  • jonathannjonathann Posts: 55
    Over 25,000 miles on a 2007 HCH, I have averaged 39 miles per gallon. Better in summer, worse in winter but 39 miles per gallon overall.
  • frednjudikfrednjudik Posts: 22
    To: Jonathann,
    Now that is what I would expect, at least something close to 42mpg, which are Honda's and the Gov's. average fuel consumption testing numbers. For 25,000 miles, that should cover a large amount of driving conditions, city, hwy., weather, etc. Thanks for the input.
  • davem7davem7 Posts: 35
    I am currently on my 3rd HCH, this being a 2008 with Sat Nav/XM Radio. Have nearly 15,000 miles, approx. 6000 of which were put on this June and July: average is 55MPG I'm fortunate in that my girl friend has a Prius and we rotate the cars, so that the HCH sees most of the highway and the Prius most of the city. We are both hypermiler aspirants, but avoid the dangerous techniques like drafting. I keep all four HCH tires inflated to 50psi and I'm convinced it makes a favorable difference. One difference i've noticed between the hybrid systems in the HCH & Prius, is that the former takes much longer, 5-10 minutes on the average, to activate than on the Prius in cold (below freezing ) weather , The Prius usually activates in 3 minutes or less. l If your keep your HCH in a garage in cold weather, I would suggest a block heater, this narrows the warm up time comparable to the Prius.
  • jtischjtisch Posts: 9
    Well, I finally figured out the problem with the sudden drop in mpg for my 2008 HCH from a steady 47 to 41. The mileage dropped even farther, to 39.2. As I mentioned I was getting a steady 47 mpg local driving. Even the dealer couldn't give me a reason for the drop from 47 to 39. I tried different brands of gas. Same problem. My curiosity then turned to the air conditioner. I live in Florida. Last Wednesday I filled up my 2008 HCH, opened the windows and left off the air conditioner. I drove for three days without the AC (try that in Florida in the summer). Sure enough, my mileage again jumped up to 47 mpg. Can't wait for the return of fall.
  • jtischjtisch Posts: 9
    Well, I finally figured out the problem with the sudden drop in mpg for my 2008 HCH from a steady 47 to 41. The mileage dropped even farther, to 39.2. As I mentioned I was getting a steady 47 mpg local driving. Even the dealer couldn't give me a reason for the drop from 47 to 39. I tried different brands of gas. Same problem. My curiosity then turned to the air conditioner. I live in Florida. Last Wednesday I filled up my 2008 HCH, opened the windows and left off the air conditioner. I drove for three days without the AC (try that in Florida in the summer). Sure enough, my mileage again jumped up to 47 mpg. Can't wait for the return of fall.
  • nilesboynilesboy Posts: 10
    I bought a 2006 Civic Hybrid new in 2006. I have 33,500 miles on the car. I started out getting 45 to 47 MPG city/highway driving for the first 2 years.
    On a trip from Fl. to W.Va. I even got 50 mpg.
    In January 2009 (after buying new tires) I began to get 38 mpg or less city/hwy. It keeps going down consistantly. Today I checked my mileage and it was 32 mpg city/hwy. Anyone out there have any answers? I use the same gas (sunoko, hess,BP, citgo, etc.)
  • I bought a new (06) civic hybrid in Jan. 2006, I have 35,000 miles on the car. Started out getting 47 mpg average for the first 2 years. In Jan. 2009 after putting on new expensive tires the mpg went down to 38 mpg. Today Sept. 15th, 2009 I checked after fillup and it was 35 mpg. I am a careful driver with no jack rabbit starts etc. Any suggestions? Could it be the Hybrid Battery? Please give me your opinion.
  • I am not an expert by any means, but I understand that tires make a big difference. Just that they are "expensive" doesn't mean anything in terms of gas mileage. Too much tread equals decreased gas mileage??? again, sorry not an expert.
  • I have a 2008 Civic Hybrid. I was averaging 47mpg and 50+ on the highway.
    Suddenly, my mileage dropped to the 39-40 range. I talked to the dealer about it and they had no clue. I changed several gas brands to no avail.
    So, I did a little test. I turned off the air conditioner for two to three days (that's torture in Florida in the summer) and sure enough the mileage started to climb.
    I also play golf once a week, sometimes twice, so I took my golf clubs out of the trunk and put them in the garage.
    Sure enough, my mileage climbed back to the 47 level with no A\C and no extra weight in the trunk.
    So, if you live in a hot climate, try the A\C trick, take extra weight out of the trunk and overinflate the tires by 2 or 3 lbs. each.
    During the hot days I still use the A\C and suffer the fewer miles.
    Can't wait for fall and the cooler weather to get back to normal. :shades:
  • As I mentioned before on this thread, I wasn't getting the mileage I expected after buying a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid on April 1, 2009. As I mentioned then, please take your Honda Civic Hybrid to any Honda Dealer and ask for a Fuel Consumption Test. They may have to keep your car for several days to do this.
    I have never gotten better than 39.9 miles per gallon driving in all conditions. I do have the A/C on a lot as we have been in the 100's the last of August and the first two weeks in September. This is sometimes with another passenger in the car, and sometimes with some weight in the trunk. I have to think that the ideal conditions to get MPG in the high 40's to 50 would be single driver, no A/C on, no extra weight in car, and factory recommended tires, (in the Owner's Manual), and reasonbly conservative driving habits. In this condition if you don't get at least 40 to 45 mpg, something may be wrong with your Honda Civic Hybrid. If you don't follow exactly what the owner's manual calls out in tires, that could make a difference. If you ignore the low tire pressure indicator, this can bite you also.
    I am going on a long trip this week-end and will have a chance to really check out highway mileage. Of course I will have another passenger, some luggage, and probably the A/C on. I think the EPA ratings on MPG should get real, and define what real MPG are with the conditions I just described. Otherwise, the MPG on the dealer's window stickers are always going to be high and GUESSING at what the REAL MPG are in average driving conditions/situations.
  • Living in the colder winter climates,people that own Civic Hybrids are now more than likely starting to experience the annual lose of between 7-10 Mpg!! This has been my dilema since the 08'/ 09 winter when I first started seeing this major loss of fuel economy. When I went to my dealership, they had no solutions or explanations.When I called Honda of America[corporate headquarters] they couldn't come with any answers either. Earlier this summer, I saw a report on the Weather Channel about hybrids & winter fuel losses due to the battery pack being cold & not functioning efficiently as when warm.This was the only report/explanation I have ever seen about this MAJOR problem w/hybrid batteries. Anyone else experiencing this winter loss of Mpg?
  • Not sure about the cold weather affecting the battery pack charge life. It is possible that it takes longer to charge. I would think that Honda could give you the specs. on the optimum battery temp. producing the best battery charge and discharge rate. On my Calif. 800 mile round trip, I averaged 42 mpg, w/passenger, A/C on, luggage in trunk. Driving around 200 miles in town and around 200 miles hwy. I average 37 mpg. Most auto mags, and consumer reports indicate this is about what to expect from the Honda Civic Hybrid, (37 mpg) average.

    If anyone gets abouve 37 mpg, consider yourself ahead of the GAME!
  • mrwaugmrwaug Posts: 16
    I live in southean Idaho and get 50 mpg spring and fall, 46 during the summer with the A/C on and the lowest of 37 during the winter when temps drop below freezing.
    I dont think the drop in cold mileage is so much a problem due to the electral side of the powertrain. The internal combustion engine has always had been inhertently inefficent in cold weather,especally during warm up. The old carbureted engines used to have to be choked of almost all air to be able to get to start and run when cold, and the incoming air had to be heated to eliminate hesitation during acceleration. The new fuel injected engines are no different. The injectors are dumping fuel during start-up and warmup to get things running. Any why is this? Liquid gasoline does not burn. It needs to be a vapor or near vapor. when an engine is hot, and the intake air is hot, the fuel sprayed from the injuctors turns to vapor or at least stays in the form of small dropplets. Then the engine is cold, and the air is cold, the fuel does not vaporize, but tends to turn back into liquid fuel. By increasing the fuel mixture by llke 200% when cold, there is enough vaporized fuel to make the engine run properly.
    Add the fact that all of the liquids in the engine are thicker when cold, adds resistance to the powertrain.
    The Hybred engine is extreamly fuel efficent and can get 48mpg on the freeway with only using the battery to assist in acceleration. but everything that can cause resistance to the car (weight, low tire pressure,wheels missaligned, excessive speed,wrong motor oil, ect) will cause a dramatic drop in mileage.
  • I have posted this before and I still don't get anywhere near 40 MPG on a regular basis. We just took a 1,600 mile trip to NY. I average 39.5 MPG for the entire trip. That was with me contstantly watching the speedometer and never flooring the gas pedal. In town we only receive around 27MPG.

    Of course the Honda dealer has never offered any help with this problem. Everytime we take it in for service they only shrug their shoulders and tell us the car has no problems.

    Any advice? :lemon:
  • Anyone that gets an average of 50 to 46 mpg in a Honda Civic Hybrid needs to take the car to an independent testing station, have it torn apart, and see what secret component has been installed on the vehicle to enable it to get such excellent gasoline mileage. It's either that, or the car is being driven on a different planet, (one with much less mass than Earth). The fuel performance, in extremely cold weather, is an excellent dissertation, but sounds like a bunch of junk science.
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