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Well, I guess the attraction of love could not last forever... The colder months are here in MD and with it is the great gas mileage I came to expect from my little Insight.
I am now getting around 35-38 mpg. Now that is not terrible considering that the car is rated at 38/40 mpg. Some small things that could have helped this car out would have been an electrical AC and heater element.
Additional things I have noticed is the car will start back up at a traffic light when the rear defrost is on....
Now whether or not you strive to get the best mileage out of your car, it seems that the winter months will be something to really test this car out.
1987 Chevy Spectrum - 200,000+ Miles -Junk Yard
1994 Honda Civic DX Coupe - Truck Hit it
1998 Acura 2.3 CL - End of Lease
2002 Acura TL 3.2 - End of Lease
2004 Acura MDX - End of Lease
2007 Mercedes ML350 -Lemon
2007 Honda Civic Hybrid w/Navi - Sold
2008 Acura TL w/Nav - Sold
2010 Honda Insight w/Nav - Current
Hybrids definitely suffer their worst MPGs in extreme hot (AC working hard) or really cold (heater and defrosters working hard). I find 65 degrees to be the ideal air temp for my HCH and easily get high 40's to low 50's. In 90+ summer heat, when I use AC, MPGs drop to high 30's. In the winter, with my 25 mile commute, I'm still able to get low 40's... but then my drive is long enough to fully warm the engine and get it to its most efficient mode.
But here are a few suggestions:
1) Add air to your tires. As ambient temps drop, so do your tire pressures. Put some more air (or nitrogen) in and you'll get back some of the lost MPGs.
3) Reduce air flow through the radiator. I have not tried this, but many HCH owners swear by blocking off sections of the front grill with pipe insulation when air temps drop below 50. They find this helps the engine warm quicker and stay warmer (without overheating) with a nice resulting jump in MPGs. Maybe you can do something similar with an Insight II?
Seems to be a lot of confusion concerning the Auto Idle Stop:
"Additional things I have noticed is the car will start back up at a traffic light when the rear defrost is on...."
Not sure about the comment above, but here's what the owners manual says about the "Auto Idle Stop" system:
The engine automatically stops
The vehicle comes to a stop with the
shift lever in the D position and the
brake pedal pressed.
The engine will not stop
automatically under the following
Vehicle speed does not go above 7
mph (11 km/h) after starting the
The engine coolant temperature is
The transmission fluid temperature is low
The vehicle is stopped with the
shift position in R, S, or L
When the vehicle is stopped on an
The climate control is in use and
either or is pressed
The engine may not stop
automatically under the following
When the ECON button is on, the
engine is more likely to stop.
See page for the ECON button.
The vehicle is stopped by braking
suddenly The climate control systemis in
use to dehumidify the moist air inside the vehicle
The ECON button is off, and there
is a significant difference between
the ambient temperature and the
temperature setting of the climate
The IMA battery temperature is
excessively high or low
The IMA battery charge is low
The engine may also stop when
vehicle speed drops below 7 mph (11
km/h) with the brake pedal pressed.
To help maximize fuel economy,
your vehicle has an Auto Idle Stop
function. Depending on
environmental conditions and vehicle
operation, the engine will shut off
when you come to a stop.
The engine automatically restarts
The brake pedal is released
Under the following conditions, the
engine restarts even if the brake
pedal is pressed:
The shift position is changed to R
The accelerator pedal is pressed
The pressure to the brake pedal is
reduced and the vehicle starts
moving while stopped on an incline
The IMA battery charge becomes
The engine coolant temperature
The pressure on the brake pedal is
repeatedly applied and released
slightly during a stop
The ECON button is off, and the
difference between the ambient
temperature and the temperature
setting of the climate control
system becomes significant
The climate control system starts
to dehumidify the interior This indicator blinks when the Auto Idle Stop system is in operation.
If the driverís door is opened while
the indicator is blinking, the buzzer
sounds to notify that the Auto Idle
Stop system is in operation.
As far as the gas mileage, once the weather cooled down I had an caution light come on the dash saying my tire pressure was low. I serviced them up to specs and my mileage has been between 48-50 mpg. If I use my cruise control it tends to do better.
To arbittan: I am also in MD. Since I bought my Insight a month ago I have seen zero Insights vs. about ten Priuses a day. That is one of my favorite things about this car -- it's not a Prius! Where in MD are you, I would LOVE to see another Insight on the road!
Location: Coquitlam BC, Canada (Greater Vancouver area)
Hybrids: 2010 Toyota Prius Touring (& former HCHII owner)
Re: Cold Weather, Bad Mileage
Winter months are tough on hybrid's mileage.
Assuming the InsightII's setup is similar to the HCHII: the hybrid behaviors such as Auto-Stop and regen only come on when the car is fully warmed, and that takes longer in winter. If you're doing a lot of short trips, with big breaks in between, that is going to be really tough on mileage, the car will often not warm completely at all. Auto-Stop in particular will also be disabled by the car's computer if you're running heavy electrical loads, defog, etc.
I would strongly recommend grill block and the block heater. We use the block heater year round, and having it on a timer is a good idea if you have a daily commute. I only wish the block heater was a standard item, installed at the factory: it is an overly expensive install post-purchase, you are at the mercy of the dealership's "funky" install technique, and it's a waste of long-life coolant.
Some other issues: wet or snowy roads increase rolling resistance. Also, I believe gas is formulated differently in winter, and this reduces mileage some. Plus there tends to be more night driving, with headlights on, which again increases electrical loads. I think we actually use our AC more in winter, setting the system on Auto, due to more humidity, steaming up windows, etc. We also are running on more aggressive winter tires. All of these things impact mileage.
MSantos has a good article on winter driving a hybrid, here:
It's true in my 2002 Honda Insight 5-spd as well. I meticulously track my mileage on ecomodder dot com, and have taken a 23% hit during the colder, darker months, especially after Thanksgiving with the much colder temps.
Probably a combination of Winter gasolines, more headlight use in darker months, and less idle/stop conditions...and a couple of brutal long drives against Winter gales.
Averaging 59mpg in August-September (A/C econ mode), and 46mpg in the Winter.
Usually forum replies are based on what people want to believe rather than on facts and truth. Kudos to the replies above for good info. I might add two things.
1. Cold weather gas, for most of the country, usually means that it has a lower vapor pressure, that is it evaporates at a lower temp. This helps low temp starting and gives better vaporization in cold weather. The opposite for warm weather gas. Correct "weather" gas gives better mileage in the weather it's meant for and only causes, sometimes, a problem when used in the opposite weather.
2. I use the A/C as little as possible for defogging. When using the A/C for defrost you get the inside of the evaporator full of condensation, it's doing it's job but when you turn off the A/C this moisture immediately goes back into the air and fogs up the windows. You're stuck with the A/C. Try using the A/C as little as possible to keep the Evaporator dry and switch to outside air as soon as you're warmed up a bit. This will keep you defrosted in most cases and the evaporator dry with no A/C. In worse cases you'll have to bite the A/C bullet, such is life. In winter my 2010 Insight goes from mid 40's to lower 40,s here in Fresno, CA. We only get a few days below freezing so I know I'm not talking to really cold weather people.
In an unrelated vein. I replaced my tires 175x65 with new Continental ECCOPLUS 180x60's. Found no change in mileage as I expected but the Conti's due tend to track in rain grooves quite a bit more giving you a wiggly ride on goovey roads. They're also a bit quieter but not much. For what it's worth.