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Fuel Economy & Emissions Talk about the mileage database, EPA, hypermiling, gas and driving strategy.
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  #1  
Old 08-11-2004, 12:45 PM
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Can anyone get the EPA Mileage on their vehicle by driving thoughtfully but without their eyes glued to the MPG gauge? I want to drive my car normally and get the results promised. I currently get 36-38 mpg. I am very disappointed. I am not interested in playing the "game" to get more mileage. I stay at the speed limits around town. I do 70 on the freeways on short trips, faster on longer ones. I do not do more than 25% of my miles of the freeway. I do coast when possible. I don't want to pulse my gas pedal for 200 highway miles to garner the value I thought was inherent in this vehicle. I do not want to obsess on my MPG gauge.

I could have picked up last year's 2003 Civic loaded with features showing 31/38 on the window for $5000 less. Have I been taken?

I so much wanted to go Hybrid. I drove a 95 Ford Escort into the ground and it was time for a change. I wanted the Prius, but the wait times were unacceptable as I was heading out on vacation within 60 days. The Honda was my option. I got 33 MPG on my vacation. I drove fast on the freeway(75-80), but that number is ridiculously poor. I was in the mountains a lot. I had to go up a lot of hills but also got to coast down. That should have evened itself out.

I had the oil changed, tires inflated to correct pressure and picked up 2 MPG. I love the fact that I get 15 MPG more than my old Escort, but I hate the fact I am so far below the sticker's MPGs. I have 7500 miles on this thing. I understand this engine does not "season" itself. The mileage won't get better from shear use. (Anyone got any feelings on that?)

So, is anyone out there driving like a normal person and getting above 40 MPG? I'm feeling pretty stupid for buying this car right now. Any insight would be appreciated. Take it easy.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2004, 01:54 PM
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Real Name: Larry S. Singleton
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Hybrids: 2007 TCH and Loving It !
Posts: 1,430
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I've had my 2004 HCH MT for exactly 30 days, so I am no expert, but I have learned some things in the last month about Hybrids and about my "new" used car.

My HCH had 4823 miles on it when I bought it used. The Trip B mileage and the total mileage are the same, meaning that the first owner kept Trip B for tracking the "total lifetime MPG" for the car. When I drove it off the lot, the Trip B MPG was 34.4 for the 4823 miles. (sidenote: That "lifetime MPG" has gone up now to 35.2 MPG. )

That's pretty sucky, wouldn't we all agree, for a 2004 HCH manual transmission? If there is nothing WRONG with this car, I think we could safely assume that the first owner PROBABLY "drove like a normal person" and did not do anything fancy to enhance the MPG. The one thing we do not have for this equation is the ACTUAL driving habits and patterns and commute of that first owner, so we can only assume he did not drive it like a race car.

For my 2+ tanks, I have averaged around 41 MPG in mostly city driving, in Hot Phoenix using the A/C a lot. But I have achieved that with MANY MANY Hybrid driving tricks like coasting in gear up to red lights, not using the A/C when I needed it, watching the MPG computer like a hawk, etc.

So my educated guess is that "NO" you CANNOT get consistently 40+ in normal stop and go urban city driving where you drive 30-45 MPH and hit frequent stop lights. I have not been able to get more than 45.7 MPG in that situation, using all the tricks I can.

I think that if your commute is something like "60 MPH on open highway for 45 minutes each way in moderate weather with the A/C off" and you ONLY drive the HCH for the commute, you could get really high MPG numbers.

I am really at a loss to understand how the Mileage Database on this website has SO many people getting 50+ MPG. It leads me to wonder if perhaps there REALLY MIGHT BE something wrong with all the cars that are getting less than 45 MPG ???? How can driving habits ALONE explain the extreme variances from 35-57 MPG in virtually identical cars?

One thing I know for sure - after I learn "all the tricks" for driving my HCH and I still don't get 45 MPG consistently, I'm going to VERY suspicious about something being wrong with my car.

My 2cents..........
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  #3  
Old 08-11-2004, 02:02 PM
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Real Name: Kevin
Location: League City, Texas
Hybrids: 04 Honda Civic
Posts: 387
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[quote]I am really at a loss to understand how the Mileage Database on this website has SO many people getting 50+ MPG. It leads me to wonder if perhaps there REALLY MIGHT BE something wrong with all the cars that are getting less than 45 MPG ???? How can driving habits ALONE explain the extreme variances from 35-57 MPG in virtually indentical cars?

I think the main reason I get better than EPA is I drive 60 miles with very few stops. I drive under the speed limit i.e. speed limit is 65 I do 60. I try not to have jackrabbit starts and yes I don't use the a/c as much as I could, but I do use it when needed. I have found that city driving and a/c is a bummer on this car but then again it is bad on all cars. I do know 2 different people that have reg. Honda Civics and both say they only get in the high 20's so I think it's all in the type of driving you do and how you drive the car.

.

Visit the GreenHybrid.com Real Hybrid Mileage Database 2004 silverblue 5 sp.
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  #4  
Old 08-11-2004, 02:23 PM
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Real Name: Larry S. Singleton
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Hybrids: 2007 TCH and Loving It !
Posts: 1,430
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Quote:
Originally posted by texashchman@Aug 11th 2004 @ 4:02 PM
I think the main reason I get better than EPA is I drive 60 miles with very few stops. I drive under the speed limit i.e. speed limit is 65 I do 60. I try not to have jackrabbit starts and yes I don't use the a/c as much as I could, but I do use it when needed. I have found that city driving and a/c is a bummer on this car but then again it is bad on all cars. I do know 2 different people that have reg. Honda Civics and both say they only get in the high 20's so I think it's all in the type of driving you do and how you drive the car.
That's a key point - "the type of driving you do" - I think the TYPE OF DRIVE is FAR MORE IMPORTANT in getting high MPG than the WAY you drive.

To emphasize my point: With the TYPE OF DRIVING I DO, which is short trips, city driving, stop and go, never going faster than 45 MPH and only in short bursts when I do go that fast, I think there is no possible way I could *change the way I drive the car* and increase my MPG substantially.

One of the reasons why the Prius II is rated higher for "city driving" is that the Prius II can use the electric engine ALONE at lower speeds, and use the gas engine to assist when required.

I think my personal driving patterns and type of commute indicate I should get a P II as soon as possible !!

Laterz...........
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2004, 03:29 PM
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Real Name: Steve
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Hybrids: 2004 Civic CVT Hybrid
Posts: 1,796
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Quote:
To emphasize my point: With the TYPE OF DRIVING I DO, which is short trips, city driving, stop and go, never going faster than 45 MPH and only in short bursts when I do go that fast, I think there is no possible way I could *change the way I drive the car* and increase my MPG substantially.
It will be difficult to get EPA estimates in block to block stoplight traffic as you describe.
I don't think it matters what you are driving, continuous stop & go will kill your MPG.

Quote:
One of the reasons why the Prius II is rated higher for "city driving" is that the Prius II can use the electric engine ALONE at lower speeds, and use the gas engine to assist when required.
I believe Prius would suit your situation better, but as pointed out by texashchman any car would have difficulty.
Remember it takes alot of energy to push a 2,000 car from a stop whether it is an electric motor or gasoline. The gasoline engine also has to charge the battery along with pushing the car.

In my own commute my high MPG is 1/2 country highway with few required stops, almost all the rest of it is freeway going 55-65MPH. I've locked cruise control in at 80MPH a couple of times to see what happens but my MPG drops to around 43-45.

.

Efficient drivers do it better.
1003 miles a tank personal record. 74MPG calculated. HCH1 CVT
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  #6  
Old 08-11-2004, 05:04 PM
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Real Name: Wayne Gerdes
Location: Northern Illinois
Posts: 2,567
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Hi All:

___I will tend to disagree somewhat here. The automobile certainly is the key to eye popping averages as you aren’t going to receive 100 mpg in a Civic or Corolla but you can beat EPA estimates by quite a margin if your automobile is setup and you drive to beat EPA estimates each and every time you turn the key. This does include those automobiles without a game gauge ala Toyota Corolla LE w/ Auto.

___In any car I have ever driven in the past 2 years over a distance to get 2 fill ups, I have always averaged higher then EPA estimates other then the Landscape truck when hauling 4,000 #’s of trailer and mowers around the neighborhood of course. Yesterday, I took my son to his afternoon band practice in the Insight. I got nailed (0 mph at a standstill is almost like getting a speeding ticket to me so I call it getting nailed ) at 2 stop signs, 6 lights, and a final stop at his school. On the way back, I got hit with 4 lights and 2 stop signs. For the round trip of 7.1 miles, the FCD showed 85.1 mpg for the segment. This is across a path with 8 lights and the stop signs + heavy suburban traffic. I picked him up again 45 minutes later with slightly less traffic and with a better feel for the lights. I received a very nice 95.1 mpg over this same 7.1 mile segment on the second go around. This is using every trick in the book of course with timing going a long way but I don’t drive this route but maybe once a month and only used my own calculated estimates as to when the lights were going to change. When I take the MDX to the BP station, it is an ~ 10 mile round trip from home. The X is only rated for 17 City/23 Hwy. Since I reset the FCD at the station like normal (it only has 1 instantaneous), I drive back home freshly fueled. Although she is warmed up given the 5 mile trip there, the return trip includes a 120’ - ¾ mile climb from a dead stop at a 120 degree corner. Even with this climb, I always arrive home with between 25 and 29 mpg showing on the Instantaneous. This drive home includes an ~ 2.5 mile section of state highway with 3 stop lights which most certainly helps but if you use the techniques discussed here, 35 - 50 mpg in just about anything within reason (not a 4,500 # + 4WD SUV but it’s close ) is at your finger tips out on the highway in particular imho.

___As it stands, I would love to take a Camry LE or Accord LX w/ 4’s and Auto’s for a few thousand mile jaunt after I had a chance to set them up. I know they are simply begging to hit 40 - 45 mpg out on the open road and those are rather large and weighty automobiles in comparison to our Hybrids in most cases. A fellow Insighter I know received 37 mpg in a Lincoln Town Car (17 City/25 Hwy) 2 years ago on a lengthy road trip. That non-setup Buick Le Sabre I had down in the desert southwest last month was another that surprised me both in town and out on the highway. A 2004 Mercury Mountaineer (15 City/20 Hwy) I drove for almost 200 miles from the U of I had a tad under 28 showing on its rudimentary game gauge … I don’t know how accurate its game gauge was given it was my daughter’s daily use perk for managing Avis - O’Hare but it had to be within 2 or 3 mpg of actual … High fuel economy in whatever you drive is obtainable but you have to be patient and I guess lucky. The lucky part comes from what we have all figured out and learned here.

___Finally, if you hit a stop light or sign on every third block time and time again, EPA estimates will be not only a dream but simply unobtainable as Hot_Georgia_2004 mentioned above. The key is to make sure you don’t get nailed at every light on every third block.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___Waynegerdes@earthlink.net

.



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  #7  
Old 08-12-2004, 09:44 AM
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Real Name: Larry S. Singleton
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Hybrids: 2007 TCH and Loving It !
Posts: 1,430
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Breaking it down to the question that was asked to start this topic:

"Can anyone get the EPA Mileage on their vehicle by driving thoughtfully but without their eyes glued to the MPG gauge?"

I say the answer is "NO" unless you are talking about HWY mileage. For city mileage, I challenge ANYONE to get 46 MPG consistently in an HCH if you "drive like a normal person." For HWY miles, it's easy to set the cruise and let the engine do the work - that's considered driving like a normal person.

My2CentsAgain...........
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2004, 10:51 AM
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Location: So. California
Hybrids: 2010 Insight
Posts: 1,120
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Jayblues:
Your hybrid is rated at 48; you are getting 38
So, if you buy a car rated at 38 you will get 28.
The problem is not the cars.
It's your driving style.
Stop whining.

I just got 62.4 MPG for a full tank in my 2004 HCH CVT AT-PZEV rated at 47/48.
Sure I have adjusted my driving technique but I don’t “pulse my accelerator” as you say.
I don’t bother with the “driving with the load” technique you read about.
I just accelerate gently and keep it in cruise control.
My eyes are not glued to the dash.
I find this new driving style to be VERY relaxing.
Everyone else is flooring the gas when the light turns green, tailgating to protect their territory from invaders, and slamming on their brakes as the last second.
They are the ones who are stressed out.

Honestly, I think one reason there are so many people getting over 50 MPG on the database is we like to brag.
We learned techniques, and made the changes to get that mileage and we are proud of it.
It would be A PIECE OF CAKE to me get the EPA of 47/48.
I am actually getting sick and tired of the media and a few crybabies implying that there is some scam going on.

You should be grateful that any car gives you 38 MPG, the way you drive.

.

This 2010 Insight EX is my third hybrid. 1st was 2004 HCH1, then a 2006 HCH2.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2004, 11:00 AM
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Real Name: Steve
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Hybrids: 2004 Civic CVT Hybrid
Posts: 1,796
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Jayblues wrote:
Quote:
I do 70 on the freeways on short trips, faster on longer ones. I do not do more than 25% of my miles of the freeway...I don't want to pulse my gas pedal for 200 highway miles to garner the value I thought was inherent in this vehicle...I got 33 MPG on my vacation. I drove fast on the freeway(75-80), but that number is ridiculously poor
I was going to include some tips in my last post that may help in block to block stop & go traffic, but if I read Jayblues post he isn't very interested in modifying his driving style very much, but rather let the car do most of that and not to think too much about it.

That is a reasonable position, Sometimes I drive my Grand Caravan that way and it drops about 5-7MPG. I haven't owned a small car in many years and don't know how other...say Civics perform in this regard but I know that if you drive the HCH hard you'll get 30's MPG, and at the other extreme is better than 60.

Thats a huge MPG spread difference between my HCH and Caravan for the given driving styles. For this reason I beleive driving skills play an especially strong roll in Hybird performance.

.

Efficient drivers do it better.
1003 miles a tank personal record. 74MPG calculated. HCH1 CVT
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2004, 11:00 AM
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Real Name: Larry S. Singleton
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Hybrids: 2007 TCH and Loving It !
Posts: 1,430
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Here's what JABYLUES is asking: Is it possible to drive like a normal person and get EPA mileage?

So far, no one has shown any evidence that you CAN get EPA by driving like a normal person.

What I say is that is must be kind of strange to ALL OF US that some people are getting mid 30s and others are getting low 60s with the SAME type of car.

I'm sorry, but no one has convinced me that the variances can be attributed solely to "driving style."

Personally, I definitely DO NOT DRIVE like a normal person - I use Hybrid tricks. I accelerate slowly from stops, drive slower than the speed limit when possible, coast in gear at every chance to charge the battery, use the A/C as little as possible, use low-friction synthetic oil, 38 PSI in the tires, and the best I have seen for a full tank is 40.6 MPG. No one can fault my driving style, because I am almost GRANNY out there !!! If there are people driving less aggressively than I am, you are a DANGER to the other drivers on the road !!

I can guarantee you that no one else driving this car on MY commute in these conditions could get 62 MPG in MY HCH......

(ain't debate fun?)
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:00 AM
 
 
 
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