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  1. #1
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I believe I have heard that the HCH gets worse gas mileage in the winter. I live in Chicago, IL and I am experience this reduced gas mileage, but I don't know if this is due to changed driving conditions or the weather (or both). I typically got ~49mpg during the spring, summer, and fall. Now I am getting around 40. Does anyone have any tips for getting better gas mileage in the winter?

    Also, I always thought that the only thing that would prevent the auto-stop from working (when your temp-gauge reads in the middle) is if the "ECON" light is off (e.g., front defroster is on or A/C is being used with ECON off). However, I have noticed that, even if the ECON light is on and the temp gauge reads in the middle, the auto-stop will still not work. I have to turn the fan setting to "OFF" in order to get auto-stop to work. I have only noticed this since the outside temperature has dropped below 30 degrees F, so I am assuming it has something to do with the outside temp. Any ideas on this?

    Stephen Fenwick

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  3. #2
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    first, if you guys are like california you have "winter blend gas" going on. i don't understand it but for several years (even before my hybrid) i saw a drop in total miles per tank between summer & winter. i thought for a while this was brand related (mobil or arco or whoever) but eventually saw the summer-winter blrnd switch across all brands of gas. it occured once coincident with me getting an oil change & tune up which really made me wonder what was going on...

    i don't understand how a worse mileage blend of gas can somehow be better for us. anyone know the details?

    for the econo button i only see it "off" by my choice or by the use of the defroster. i guess there is a law somewhere that can not let the defroster air be disrupted by stop & go like the usual hybrid setting.

    see ya




  4. #3
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    In response to "Winter Blend gasoline". The reason drivers in cold regions get worse mileage from Winter blend fuel is b/c the fuel is cut with an anti- gel agent. The anti gel has less BTU energy than gasoline so it lowers the overall energy of the gasoline.
    Also in cold weather any engine is less efficient until it gets up to operating temperature. Just another 5-10minute delay in reaching operating temp. can lower mileage 5% or more.
    Even once it is at operating temp. when outside air is below 60F engines are not as efficient.
    As the temp. keeps dropping, efficiency goes down even more.

    There is not much you can do about this winter issue. I have seen Insight owners blocking most of the radiator grill with dense foam to keep radiator warmer.

  5. #4
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    this wintering gas issue is fascinating. as are jeff's comments that below 60 degrees all engines underperform.... That sounds like pretty poor performance across the boards. I would understand it it were below 32 f.

    why is this the case. seems shocking that you can buy a $12 insulated lunch bag that controls temperatures for hours, but car makers can't hold performance below 60 degrees?

  6. #5
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    this wintering gas issue is fascinating. as are jeff's comments that below 60 degrees all engines underperform.... That sounds like pretty poor performance across the boards. I would understand it it were below 32 f.

    why is this the case. seems shocking that you can buy a $12 insulated lunch bag that controls temperatures for hours, but car makers can't hold performance below 60 degrees?

  7. #6
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    Will blocking the radiator help winter fuel economy? I'm sure Honda disapproves, but is there a recommended way to block it, without damaging the radiator or the engine?

  8. #7
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I've seen some Insight owners use a packing foam pressed in between the outside grill openings.
    ==========
    Foam
    ==========
    Foam
    ==========
    If the above equal marks are your grill, the foam is slid in between the grill strips. Not all openings are blocked, about 50% are. I'm up in the cold NorthEast.
    I guess the object is too keep the radiator warm.
    If your car warms up quicker and stays warm. Then the gas motor will shut off at stops/ red lights
    as it does in the summer. ie better fuel mileage.

    Do you remember seeing school buses with the "bras" covering the grills? That was so the darn bus would throw some heat in the winter.

  9. #8
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    Some reasons I read about the Temperature issue causing a drop in economy are:

    Cold engine is less efficient. Cold weather causes longer warmup times.

    More rolling resistance from your tires.

    Cold air is denser, causing a higher coefficient of drag.

    Last thing car designer said was optimium air temp. for best fuel/air mix was about 60F.

    Think this all was in either MotorTrend or Car and driver in the last couple months.


  10. #9
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I own an '05 HCH as well and I live in Northern MI so I am also in very cold winter conditions for many months out of the year. My HCH was bought in November before it became it became normal to have below 40 temperatures and my Auto Stop function worked at almost every stop.

    I've read in quite a few places that the Auto Stop feature does rely on the outside temperature being 40'ish and above but I've gotten mine to work in the 30's with a fully warmed up car.

    You also have the issue of tire pressure which I've asked about many times before but cant get a solid answer on. My HCH came with Dunlop's set at 30psi at the dealership. I brought this up to 35psi on all four tires and noted a small increase in MPG but then the cold set in.

    I've seen other's somewhere talk about running their '04 HCH at 38psi on all for and even one guy who ran his at 42psi on all four. The tires are rated a lot higher than this but that seems somewhat dangerous for those of us in hard winter climates.

    As for the radiator vent blocking I would agree and disagree. In theory it seems like a benefit to keeping the radiator warmer than normal but in practice I can see some dangerous things happening with melting foam/insulation and etc. Just a little to paranoid to try this on my brand new car.

    Right now I'm at 3K total miles and I'm averaging 34.4 MPG for my current tank of gas running mostly highway miles and my lifetime MPG is at 35.6. These are not astronomical numbers at all and my driving habits have been modified from the get go.

    The only thing I can think of that is limiting me out of the 40's like so many other HCH drivers I see is the winter conditions, possible tire pressure, winter blend gas, and improved MPG after my first oil change at 5K.

    I'd be real interested in hearing what others with the same model vehicle have to say who also drive in similar conditions. I'm a bit disappointed in the lack of websites about the '04 and '05 HCH as opposed to the Insight and Prius.

  11. #10
    Guest

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    How does the HCH get worse mileage than the regular civic? I would be at the dealership asking why I paid $2000 premium for a hybrid?

    Alot of people are getting a rude awaking when winter roles around. They are finding out the overly optimistic EPA mileage numbers are not atainable in the winter.

    Hybrids are great in warm climates and city driving, but they don't live up to the mileage claims in other real world conditions.

    Previously I drove a VW Jetta TDI (turbodiesel)
    that returned 50mpg highway year round.
    Now I', driving the Passat TDi it's rated at 38mpg high, but I'm getting more like 40-42mpg @ 70mph.
    Diesels are a proven, long lasting car with a minium premium for great economy and power.

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