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Honda Element Real World MPG



  • leinahtanleinahtan Posts: 1
    I'm interested in the 2008 SC Element automatic and have read alot concerning gas milage. Has anyone purchased any after market chips to improve their gas milage?
    What types of after market handware are drivers using if any?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I don't much about chips - seems like they usually are sold to increase power, not mpg.

    The manufacturers are under a lot of pressure with CAFE rules to get the best mpg they can out of their engines. I think most of the aftermarket stuff is a waste of money. The easiest way to help your mileage is to slow down.

    Anyone try a chip?
  • alamocityalamocity Posts: 680
    Recently saw on the local news a story on hydrogen cell technology that sounds promising in improving fuel economy. Technology is currently being tested at Southwest Research so it will be interesting to see what the results will be.
  • kilo57kilo57 Posts: 1
    I've owned a '94 for 3.5 years now. I'm a Realtor in Huntsville, AL, use it for work (really!) and have already put 90,000 miles on it. It has never missed a beat. For more than 3 clients I tag-team with my wife and use her Odyssey.

    Mileage - consistently 23 in town (hilly town) and 26 on the highway at 75 mph. I've done 27 mpg a few times when the road system is flatter than Huntsville. When the mileage slips I've learned to grab a new air filter; mileage shoots right back up. Once in a while the engine gets sluggish, which I've attributed to a bad tank of gas, and a bottle or two or injector cleaner gets things back to normal pretty quickly.

    At 6'5" I love the head room and leg room in the Element. One tip I'll offer buyers/owners related to tires; the original equipment tires are more expensive to replace than wider tires with a slightly shorter aspect ratio (sidewall height). When the original set wore out at 30K miles I replaced them with 225/60R16 (not a perfect alternative but it works fine), I saved $100 on the set of tires and, since the car was much less likely to sway with the shorter aspect ratio, I got 45K miles out of the second set of tires. That's a huge savings for such a minor change.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I've owned a '94 for 3.5 years now. "

    How many miles did that used '94 Element have? Just kidding, I assume you mean '04! :confuse:
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    This vehicles used to get a maximum of 21 mpg on the highway and about 19 in the city. I added the fuel reduction plates about a year ago and have seen a maximum of 32.5 mpg on a trip during December between Columbia, SC and Orlando. I typically run 75 - 80 mph on the highway. The air conditioning is always running, even if I have the sun roof removed when it's really hot. The plates seem to be working. $80 well spent.

    Hi, can you please post details about these fuel reduction plates, and where you got them? Thanks!

  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    I've been reading through all the posts here, I have to say I am cautiously optimistic about the fuel economy on my Element. Just made the deal today, picking it tomorrow. :)

    I will be tracking my fuel from the first tank, and I will post here frequently. My plans:

    Immediately: K&N air filter; drive with "slow & steady wins the race" style; use Sunoco fuel, 87 octane; minimal AC usage.

    Future: Switch to Castrol Syntec oil.

    I've heard that the combination of using synthetic oil and the K&N filter will consistently yield about 10% better mileage. Remains to be seen, but that is my plan.

    The only catch is, Honda recommends NOT using synthetic oil until the car hits 10K miles, at the earliest. I will hit that mark in about 5 months (I drive a lot..).

    Any other thoughts or recommendations on when to begin using synthetic oil?

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I bet the aftermarket filter won't help any either, but you'll never know unless you run an OEM one for a while and switch them back and forth over a few thousand miles test period each. Ditto on synthetic; probably not a measurable difference on mpg.

    Edmunds didn't find any measurable difference in mpg testing AC vs no AC. They didn't test driving with no AC and the windows up though. More here:

    We Test the Tips

    We Test the Tips Part II

    Aggressive driving seems to be the real gas mileage killer.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the info & links, makes sense. I will take your suggestion and run the oem air filter through the first 10K miles, and switch to synthetic oil and the k&n together. I'm not approaching it very scientifically, but I will have a good base to compare against as you suggest.

    One thing I have noticed in my Civic is a solid 10% increase in mpg when I use Sunoco fuel. I've compared it against Sheetz, Citgo, and a few others. Again nothing scientific - but it happens consistently enough to keep me going back Sunoco.

    Take care,
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The gas stations that are hurting your mileage may be using an 5-10% ethanol blend. E10 is pretty common and is required in some states (if it's required where you are, then the Sunoco probably has ethanol too). I don't think most people experience that big a mpg hit though.

    Is there a difference in mileage when using 10% ethanol vs. regular gasoline?

    Sunoco is a Top Tier, but some say that's just a marketing designation.

    Please report back as you enjoy your new ride!
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Interesting - I learned years ago that Ethanol is added between October and April (at least in NJ / NY / PA, afaik). I always made the correlation between poorer mileage in winter to that - simply because there is a distinct and sharp decrease like clockwork, every October.

    For example in my Civic, between April and October I would average 36mpg. Once October hits, I'm lucky if I get 32 or 33. And it's not a sharp drop in temperature, because literally one week it's high and the next week it drops... even if it's in the 50's... until mid-April again.

    So whether my theory is accurate or not, I'm not sure. But I've always heard that Ethanol is widely known to cost us about 10% in fuel economy.

    Picking up my Element TODAY. :D

    Hey, should I pick up one of these Scan Guage devices? Thinking about it, wondering if it will pay for itself over time.

  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    I suspect not. Breaking in a car engine sounds so...'60s. The only caution I have seen about new car engines in the last ten or twenty years is not to make fast starts for the first several hundred miles of so. Engine tolerances have been improved, which supposedly nullify break in periods. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this.)

    See the NY Times article of 26 Jul 08 page B1 "Ethanol Stirs Up A Mutiny" on the effect of mpg. I noticed on a recent drive through South Dakota that mpg dropped off on a clocked tank full of "corn pone." (My moniker for ethanol.)
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    My advice on this, based on what I've heard over the last two years (and also going through this with an 07 Civic, and now an 08 Element):

    - Stay below 55 mph for the first 600 miles

    - If you go on a long trip (two hours or more), try to vary your RPM's now and then (e.g., don't go 60 mph for an hours straight

    - Do your first oil change between 1500 and 2000 miles

    - Use common sense and drive it "slow & steady" for the first 1500 to 2000 miles

    Again, this is what I do, not stating anything as fact - just my opinion(s). :)

  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    Other than a early oil change does Honda list a so-called "break in" period for its cars?
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Depends who you talk to (not sure about "listing"), but most salespersons will tell you "naa, you're fine don't worry, just drive..", but most techs will reiterate what I mentioned in my previous post. I'll go with the techs, personally.. :)

    I should mention that my salesperson was also in agreement with his techs as well, but again others will tell you differently.

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I think you have to be more careful breaking in a stick shift. You need to be careful not to lug the engine (let the rpm sink low then use a lot of throttle with resulting pinging) or keep it at high rpm for extended periods (like driving 2nd on city streets or forgetting to upshift to 5th on the freeway). With an automatic all you need to remember are (i) no lead foot until warmed up and (ii) limit your lead foot to 3/4 of the throttle for the first 1000 miles.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22

    So I clocked my mileage for my first tank of gas. Now I have to say the dealer is the one that filled it - so whether it was truly full, that is unknown. If it was not full, this works in my favor.

    My driving consisted of roughly:

    - 10% highway
    - 10% city (stop & go)
    - 80% suburban / rural roads (40 to 50 mph, but plenty of hills here in PA)
    - Additional notes: AC was on for maybe 1/2 hour, passengers ranged from 1 to 4 (mostly 1)

    MPG: 25.81

    Total miles on tank: 345
    Refill: 13.367 gallons X 3.81 = ~$50

    My driving style: For this tank I would rate it as slow & steady. I only really get on the gas when I have to pull hills, and even then I am as light as possible on the accelerator.

    Not bad! Will report stats back on tank #2 this week. :)

    EDIT: Oops, forgot: 2008 Element EX AWD Auto
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    I've never driven a AWD vehicle. Does AWD reduced mpg all that much? How much extra weight does AWD add on to an Element? I'm guessing AWD must be a real asset when driving in snow. Does it improve handling a lot in rain? Is there a noticeable difference when braking with AWD, especially when braking hard?

    Can an Element hit 30 mpg on all highway driving if you keep her at 65ish?

    Is there storage in an Element for bags to keep them from shifting around when driving?
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Does AWD reduced mpg all that much?

    Depends - not really as far as the Element is concerned. The FWD models are only rated 1 mpg higher on both sides (city & hwy).

    Can an Element hit 30 mpg on all highway driving if you keep her at 65ish?

    Probably not maybe 30 with the wind at your back - but I think someone here reported 32 mpg after installing fuel saving "plates"? I asked for a link to more info but never heard back.

    Is there storage in an Element for bags to keep them from shifting around when driving?

    Yup - bungees. Plenty of little rings and hooks to tie down to. Plus the driver's side seats both have kind of a net behind them, good for smaller bags & things.

  • you probablly can't get 30 mpg. I have 05 element ex awd and 08 ex awd 05 best is 24 and 08 is 27 . I got 24.5 all freeway on 08 but i hit 95 mph several time. Shell gas is better than discount gas like bp, walmart. You can test this theory. Empty your tank and fill up with bp or any store gas.make sure you reset mileage reader. Drive a normal route and when your gas light comes on you have 3.9 gallons left. When you fill up right down how many gallons you used to fill up and divid it by how many miles you went. Fill up with shell gas and do the same thing. Remember to do it when your just driving your normal route for both fill ups. My 05 had 24mpg combined city/highway 30%/70%highway on shell 10.3 gallons/ 244 miles and when I drove out of town all freeway with bp gas and filled up as soon as i got of the freeway. 10.6 gallons 221 miles. bp gas was literally 99.9% all free way. I didn't even drive a whole mile from the gas station to the freeway and when i filled up i costed down. I did hit traffic for about 8 miles.
  • the 2008 honda element awdex automatic gets the same gas mileage as a fwdex auto and the auto awd gets better than a fwd stick shift. the sc gets better mileage than the ex because it's lower. I have the 05 and 08 brochure. The awd drive is lite compared to other awd systems. when you use awd it well affect the mpg. i drove 100 miles around 270 with my friend to compare mpg. He used 4.26 gallons and I used 4.4 gallons but he followed behind me so who knows for sure. The difference is to small for me to give up safety feature like awd.
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48 store valuables such as cameras and a hand gun? Is there such a compartment built into the floor that can be secured?
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    the 2008 honda element awdex automatic gets the same gas mileage as a fwdex auto and the auto awd gets better than a fwd stick shift.

    Well technically, the 08 awdex is 1 mpg less efficient than the fwdex, on both the highway and city side.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22 store valuables such as cameras and a hand gun? Is there such a compartment built into the floor that can be secured?

    Well, not really. For that, I picked up the Cargo Cover, so people can't peer into the area behind the back seats. But it's not really a "locking compartment", like say, the trunk on a Civic.

    If someone wants to get into your car, they will. But if you hide your stuff well and don't leave any clues as to what might be inside... you should be relatively safe. By clues I mean - no stickers advertising stuff you like - Nikon, Apple, stuff like that.

    Guns...? Not sure. But most thieves won't break into a car if they don't see anything of value right out in the open (wallet, camera, watch, computer bag, etc.).

    So the Cargo Cover should help with that. Out of sight - out of mind! :)
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Oh another thought - leave the spare tire at home (if you're feeling brave) and use all that space under the floor to store valuables, if you don't have the Cargo Cover. Probably a safe bet if you only do it once in a while.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22

    OK, for my 2nd tank, I used my baseline of filling the tank between $.50 and $.75 over the "click" of the gas pump handle.

    Driving conditions:

    - maybe 5% highway

    - 95% back roads, 40 to 50 mph, pulled lots of hills

    - used Sunoco fuel 87 octane

    MPG: 26.80

    An increase of 1 mpg, even more back road driving this time. Still driving slow & steady, taking it easy going up those hills. Essentially I am doing the speed limit, maybe 5 to 10 mph more here & there. Nice & light on that gas pedal.

    For my third tank I am curious to see what I get - I filled up with Sheetz fuel. I don't expect the same as Sunoco, but we'll see. And, I will be doing some more highway driving over the next few weeks. I will keep tabs on the general percentage of highway vs. back roads.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I had several tanks in the first 3,000 miles or so on my last new car that were 10 or more mpg lower than what appeared to be the norm. No real rhyme or reason to it either. Some people seem to dial in their mpg right off the bat, but mine didn't really settle down for months.

    (so don't get too upset if the Sheetz tank is way off what the Sunoco gave you ...)
  • The only possible difference in fuel economy between different types of fuels would be in the percentage of ethanol mixed into the gasoline. In other words, the energy density (amount of usable chemical energy per gallon) goes down the more ethanol is mixed into gasoline hydrocarbons. You automatically increase fuel consumption by around 2% for every 10% ethanol in there. For example, if you are running E85, you will get 8.5x2=17% higher fuel consumption. More common is E10, which is simply 10% ethanol, which is what I burn, so I routinely give up 2% fuel efficiency vs. pure gasoline hydrocarbons. The only exception is when you might run lower-octane gas in a car made for premium fuel, and the engine has a knock sensor, and the MPG drops when the lower octane fuel is used as timing gets retarded a bit. However, the Element does not have a knock sensor, so none of that octane variation really applies here.
  • I've driven my stock (except for new tires) 05 AWD EX M/T for 3 years now in various conditions and driving mixtures. I'm convinced that approximately 28 mpg is the best I can do. I just got that mpg again on a trip with about an 30/70 mix of city and hwy, AC and no-AC, uphill and downhil. The gas light comes on after about 330 miles or 12 gallons (3.9 remaining). In other cases, "good" mileage on my E is about 24.5. Average "bad" mileage is about 22. 20 mpg is about the worst I ever do, but that's fairly rare.

    The beefier new Toyo tires did seem to lower the mpg it for a while. Now it seems to be back to where it was before I replaced the stock good-years. I do agree that choice of gas does seem to cause some variance.

    I am curious about the gas saving plates from earlier, but that sounds sketchy to me. There is a lot of chatter on this list lately. I'm cuious, are folks buying Es right now downsizing from larger SUVs and trucks?
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    I'm cuious, are folks buying Es right now downsizing from larger SUVs and trucks?

    Personally, I just traded an '07 Civic EX for my Element. Took a hit in mpg (averaged 36 mpg in the Civic) but I LOVE the room and versatility of the Element. I rescue / train / show dogs, so it is a perfect fit for me.

    Essentially it is costing me about another $80 per month to drive, but it's worth it. And now my wife - who never liked them before - totally wants one. They are contagious... :D

This discussion has been closed.