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Honda Element Real World MPG



  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    26 mpg with awd/auto is superb
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    So far my best is about 24.5 in an 07 awd auto. Winters here in MN drop it to about 21.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Better yet - today I calculated 28.01! No highway miles on that calculation, no AC either.

    Again essentially I am just feathering that gas pedal, and taking easy up hills - and coasting on the way down. Slow starts & stops, and I do right around the speed limit, 5 to 10 mph above.

  • The EPA rates the 2wd/automatic 2008 Element at 20/25 city/highway MPG. My '05 Freestyle, which weighs about 500 lbs more (3499 lb Element vs. 3959 lb Freestyle), is EPA rated at 18/25 city/highway, using the latest MPG test methods to compare. I routinely get the EPA numbers and often better, and have reached 30 MPG on a long trip with steady ~60 mph speeds. The Freestyle has a 3.0L 204 hp engine, and the Element is 500 lbs lighter with 2.4L 166 hp engine. ....Is there a gas leak in the Element? .... Maybe it can be simply accounted for by gearing alone, the Element being geared down without a good high range ratio for highway cruising. Are Element owners seeing high RPMs in highway cruising, compared to the Freestyle which does 1500 RPM at 60 MPH on flat roads?

    The Element has a conventional 5-speed automatic while the Freestyle has a CVT, so maybe the difference is there, but how does that make up for 500 lbs of mass difference?

    I like the Element and want to buy one, but am unwilling to get about the same MPG numbers as my bigger, heavier, more powerfull vehicle I have now for a 4-cylinder light Element. You'd think the Freestyle's bigger 17 inch wheels would reduce MPG to way below the Element, but thats not the case. What is going on with the Element?
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Well - I think we're pretty close. Regardless of what the EPA numbers are, again - I am getting between high 26 and low 28 - with less than 10% highway travel.

    I am reasonably certain that I could hit 30 on a long flat trip as well, based on what I've seen in my first three tanks.

    At 60 mph the element (awd ex auto) hovers just under 2K rpm, if I recall correctly (sorry - I've only had it for 10 days..). At 70, 2.25K rpm. Not bad at all, and right inline with my Civic.

    A lot of factors could go into why these two cars get about the same mileage, despite the weight and hp difference - the short answer is, that's just how they're engineered. Specifically, the CVT and general aerodynamics could be a big part of it as well.
  • We have a dog too. We call the car a rolling dog crate. It is the most versitle vehicle I've ever interacted with and I have a hard time thinking of a more versitle one. I'm a little worried about the future child seat and increasing mileage crunch though.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Hahaha - "rolling dog crate" - perfect! :D

    Ya between my dogs and my photo gear, it so versatile. Coming from a 36+ mpg Civic, it is still worth the difference in mpg.

    I think the car will work well with your child seat, with the way the doors are designed. And it's an added safety that kids can't open the back doors without the front doors being opened first (although, to some, this is not a plus...).
  • The Freestyle should have horrible aerodynamics, just as the Element is not that good either. They are blunt boxes with only a little curviness here and there in the corners. Therefore, I don't know that aero has much to do with the fact that a heavier, faster Freestyle has about the same MPG as a lighter Element. Without other ideas about where the extra gasoline is going in the Element, I'd have to say that it must be the effects of gear ratios accounting for it. With a higher top gear, the Element should be able to reach better highway MPG.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "The Freestyle should have horrible aerodynamics, just as the Element is not that good either. They are blunt boxes with only a little curviness here and there in the corners. "

    I owned a 206 FS, and I don't think the aerodynamics are nearly as bad as the Element. The Element is boxy; the Freestyle (while is has a pretty large frontal area) is much "smoother". It is based on the Ford 500.

    I think the difference between the two is the CVT in the FS. When coupled with the 3.0 engine, the computer can use the lowest possible RPM.
  • ragetsragets Posts: 63
    I cannot believe I did this great with my car. I've been averaging 23-25MPG. But on my last tank I put 300 miles on and only filled up 9.78 gallons. That means I got 30.67MPG!!!! I couldn't believe it! :D
    I use Shell Gas because it seems to run better and get better MPG's.
    I go about 75% highway, 20% dirt/gravel roads, 5%city.
    I ease off the gas pedal, brake easy, only use the A/C in spurts on the highway, use windows in town.
    I wish I would have gotten the manual transmission though. I hate how long this auto takes to shift up and down. I wish I could do it myself! :)
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    30.67? Wow, I thought my record of 28.01 (non-highway) was good. Nice job!

    Sounds like that automatic transmission is doing just fine for you! ;)
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Individual tank measurements are unreliable. There is too much fill variation. You have to average tanks for reliability. At least measure mileage the tank before and the tank after. You may discover that one of them is abnormally low, indicating that you had a fill variation not a
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    I think the end of your message was cut off somehow.

    Fill variation - well, for me, I fill up at the same Sunoco (and usually the same pump) and I will go $.75 to $1.00 over the first "click". Trying to be as consistent as possible. Under my conditions, would I really see significant fill variation, to the point where that would effect mpg more so than everyday driving variations and conditions?

    Not arguing - just curious. :)

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Same pump with "one click over" is pretty reliable. I've found there is quite a variation at SOME stations in the amount of "fill" you get. You have to watch for level ground. But using the same pump at the same station with your vehicle oriented the same way is pretty reliable.

    Part of the fill variation comes from the air bubble that fuel tanks are supposed to preserve to allow for gas expansion and vapor recovery system operation.

    Let us know if you get some repetition of that high mileage number - try to trace it to driving conditions, driving style (lighter throttle?). That type of mileage on the 3400 pound, big square box, AWD Element is phenomenal.

    In my own case, after 4,500 miles of driving my Nissan Versa (2008, 6 speed manual) I finally got a single high mileage tank - 35 mpg vs. the more usual 32 mpg. I am trying to figure out if that is a false reading due to fill variation, of if I did less weekend and after work surface street driving, and more of the freeway commuting.

    BTW I write down the mileage on the receipt and use a calculator to figure the mileage.

    The thing about mileage reports is that people often due the math "in their head" or round up or down on the miles or gallons to make it simpler. So anecdotal reports from the general public who winced at math and science classes is often suspect, particularly when the numbers are unusually high or low. Although given the prevalence of "lead foot-itis" in modern America, unusually low numbers don't seem that unusual anymore.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    My Excel spreadsheet keeps track of my mpg out to 9 decimal points.

    Tidester had a little problem with that, lol.
  • ccirelliccirelli Posts: 22
    Oh I agree, I use the calculator on my cell phone right there at the pump. No rounding at all.

    I would definitely say I have "re-trained" my foot since getting the Element. My previous car was a ~36 mpg Civic, so I really wanted to narrow the gap in the difference in fuel efficiency with the Element. As I read in another post, I drive "like there is an egg shell between my foot and the accelerator."

    I always keep this thought in the back of my mind: what is the least amount of fuel I can use to get up to, and maintain, my desired speed? (which is usually 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit - realistic cruising speeds)

    So even in the back-roads, hilly area where I am (not much highway driving, maybe 10%) averaging 27 mpg is not too bad.

    My next venture is to explore the HHO devices, which from what I've read will cost about $100 ($50 for the plans, $50 for parts). I will approach this with caution... :)
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Fill variation - well, for me, I fill up at the same Sunoco (and usually the same pump) and I will go $.75 to $1.00 over the first "click". Trying to be as consistent as possible. Under my conditions, would I really see significant fill variation, to the point where that would effect mpg more so than everyday driving variations and conditions? "

    Most US gas stations have vapor recovery systems. These systems suck the fumes back into the gas station tanks while fueling. They are intended to reduce air polution and fumes. If your gas tank spills a bit of gas back, it will go into the vapor recovery system rather than your tank. That means you lose gas and your MPG goes down - you thought that .75 cents was going into the tank, but it was (possibly) going back into the gas station owner's pocket!

    That is the reason that it is recommended that you stop at the first click.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Tidester had a little problem with that, lol.

    I don't have a problem with it. I just want to know where they dispense gasoline measured to the nearsest thousandth of a drop and who has odometers calibrated to the nearest Angstrom. :P

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    That is my way of being consistent when figuring mpg on my car. A cup or so of gasoline more or less on a tank of 15 or so gallons will not throw off calculation much. My thing about clocking a fill up for mpg is to have a sense if my car is under performing due to low tire pressure or some mechanical issue.

    I am surprised at the number of people when discussing cars say that they seldom if ever clock a tank for mpg when filling up. Like, how much math is involved in figuring out mpg?
  • I am going out shopping today for an 08 Element EX AWD and would like to commend the folks on the Edmunds boards for being so thorough. What I have done for the past 25 years in all of my vehicles is to top off the tank right up to the top of the filler neck. I have done this consistanly on almost every tank where self-serve is available with no issues or harm to my vehicles. Since I can visibly see the level of fuel in the top of the neck, I know that there will be no variation of my MPG based on quantity.

    Going 1 click or $.75 over the 1st click is not as accurate as a visual since all pumps don't shut off consistantly. Some vehicles have such a severe bend in the filler necks that they shut off early, when, in fact, there is more capacity in the tank and neck. Some vehicles will accept another 2 gallons after the first click. Our 06 Sportage will take approx.1.75 gal. after the 1st shut off. My 05 XB can take another 1.0 to 1.5 gal. after shut off.

    By not being consistant with tank filling procedures, MPG calculation will not be accurate.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The problem with filling your tank beyond the first click is that you can damage the vapor recovery system and trigger your emissions codes. And on some cars, gas will slosh out of your tank on the first turn out of the gas station.

    After several dozen fill-ups, the mpg discrepancies will even themselves out anyway. I've put ~300 tanks of gas in my minivan and I could skip writing down an entire fill-up at this point and it would barely affect my lifetime mpg. A half gallon here or there difference in where the gas pump clicks off isn't going to matter over time.

    Your Element owner's manual says to stop filling the tank after the nozzle automatically clicks off. "Do not try to "top-off" the tank. Leave some room for the fuel to expand with temperature changes."
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    The safe way to assure reasonably consistent fill (beyond filling at the same pump all the time, so the angle of the ground is the same, the adjustment on the filler shut off is the same) is to do a "normal" fill where the nozzle kind of "leans" up and almost out of the filler, wait for the automatic shut off, then SHOVE the nozzle deeply in (against the spring on the nozzle) and slowly fill until it clicks off.

    I've never had a problem with check engine light or sloshing, because the auto fill shut offs are pretty good. Generally I try to NEVER fill this style unless I am at the start of my commute, so I will burn off a gallon or slightly more on the way to work (35 mile commute). Still I haven't even had a problem when filling upon arrival at work, although I make sure to park in a level spot in our parking ramp.

    The way the prior poster described to fill - tilting the nozzle up and out of the filler - to visually fill up to the top of the filler neck - is wrong or all the reasons you describe.
  • Sorry but I don't agree with your synopsis of visual filling. By pulling the handle on the 1st click you never know how full you tank is. I have NEVER had damage to a vapor recovery system and my vehicles do not slosh gas out of the tank or get an engine light.

    I fill up on the way to work and then take a 30 mile commute down an interstate. By the time I get to work any gas in the filler neck is is down into the tank. I've never had an issue and I know that my MPG tank calculations are accurate.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Around town, I always fill up at the same station, and usually the same pump. Plus I always record which pump/station I used for a fill up. I stop at the first click.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    On a road trip from minneapolis to the wisconson dells. Best i have ever got in my E, then again it was all hiway.
  • 07 EX AWD MT I'm 60 years old and drive to get good economy. I'm in NE Indiana and it's pretty flat around here. At 70 mph I get around 22mpg. At 55 -60 on state highways I'll get 26 - 27 mpg. Tight Urban gets me about 19 mpg. Adding a little outer urban trips gets me back to the low 20's again. And at 31000 miles my original tires still look good if that's an indication of my driving.
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