Okay, bought a Hydrid. Now what?

jannieJuly 9, 2010

On June 16, we bought a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid.The dealer said we'd get about 50 miles to the gallon. I've filled up twice and we're only getting about 30 MPG. We do mostly local trips, not much long distance highway driving. Any tips to get better mileage? Oh, I drive like a Little Old Lady-no fast starts or stops.

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No experience with a Honda, but we recently purchased a Toyota Prius and I'm regularly getting 56-58 mpg (just went past 3,000 miles), and have gotten as high as 62 mpg (mostly in-town driving). We got an average of 52 mpg on a 12-hour trip from Kansas to Tennessee at highway speeds - hills and all.

I read the manual to learn how to drive the car for maximum mileage, which is a bit different than a standard car. Maybe there is something in your manual that you missed.

As soon as I reach the speed limit, I let my foot off the gas, then slowly press the accelerator again to maintain the speed limit. This disengages the gas-powered mode so you drive in the electric mode only. I have a gauge that indicates my mpg (this is different than the speedometer) and I'll peg-out at 100 when using the electric motor, but it will drop to 40 or 50 mpg (or lower) when the gas-powered engine has to engage. When I'm on a level street and maintaining a constant speed, the car will be powered with the electric only, which is when it saves gas and improves your mileage. When the street has an incline or a hill, the gas-powered motor kicks in. Downhill, when you can coast or maintain a constant speed, it will get maximum mpg again because it kicks back into electric mode. But I have to release the accelerator, and then press it again, to work the function.

I have been able to choose routes around town without a lot of stop-and-go driving (I avoid "rush" hour traffic when possible), mostly on level ground, to get maximum mpg. If you live where there are a lot of hills, or you drive in heavy stop-and-go traffic (because it requires the gas engine to get your car going), you'll never get great mileage.

If I drove my Prius like a standard car, without learning how to engage the electric motor via the accelerator, I'd get your kind of mileage. It took me a few weeks, but now anytime I reach my traveling speed, I automatically release the accelerator (ever so slightly), and then press it again, to disengage the gas-powered motor to use electric only.

Hope that helps...


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 7:51AM
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grainlady is correct. Read your manual to learn how to drive a hybrid for best mileage results. A friend of ours who has a similar Honda Civic hybrid gets 48 mph freeway, but she'll certainly never be in any danger of getting a speeding ticket, ever.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Grainlady,THANKS! I did notice when I coast downhill and take my foot off the accelerator, my MPG guage goes to "100". So I must be more aware of any accelerations. I'll try your tips,tanks again. And Jcom likewise.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 6:43AM
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'Twould be nice if you'd bought a standard transmission ... then, when you see a traffic signal go yellow, or going downhill (lacking another car getting ready to run up your exhaust pipe) ...

... you could push in the clutch, turn off the ignition key ...

... and use no gas at all, until you arrived at the light, or speed dropped too much, in which case you turn on the ignition and let out the clutch.

Caution: in some states/provinces, this is reportedly illegal.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:48PM
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Ever heard of the 10 second rule? Turn it off if you are stopping more than 10 seconds if not the gas consumed for ignition would be about the same amount.
I guess that is not true for recent cars as they use electronic fuel injectors, which rigorously control the amount of gas delivered to the engine when you hit the ignition so virtually no fuel is wasted during startup.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 6:10AM
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