// Driving strategy for better gas mileage
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  1. #1

    Driving strategy for better gas mileage

    I bought my '05 civic hybrid about one month ago and have driven almost 1000 miles. I have been getting around 40mpg (regularly registering 41-42mpg on the trip meter that i reset each tank full, the trip metter left from the beginning has 39.3 registered, it had 82 miles when bought. I do find myself watching the real time reading and backing off the pedal where possible to try to keep the reading above 40 wherever possible and find I rarely go over 60-65 MPH on the highway (in town Atlanta so at rush hour I'm often going a LOT slower than that (26 round trip miles to/from work). I definately find I have slowed my driving down considerably but believe I make it home in about the same amount of time. If you read the standard stuff put out by Honda and others, they tell you NOT to use significat gas pedal to get up to speed, which is how I have been doing it, but reading others on boards such as this I see others suggesting getting up to cruising speed more quickly before backing off actual achieves better MPG. I will probably try this my self on the next tank to see what happens but would like to hear more about what others have experienced. Overall I like the car

  2. #2

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    Finding the best balance between using the battery for auxiliary power (when getting up to speed) and using the gas engine only when cruising may turn out to be an art. I guess that is why I prefer the Full Hybrid. As along as we keep out foot out of it, we can run on battery only up to 25-30 MPH.

    Have you been brave enough to go solo in the HOV lanes yet? Georgia says it's OK, but the Feds havn't approved it yet.

  3. #3

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    watch out about just jumping into the carpool lanes.

    in california, they passed the law for hybrids in the carpool lanes, BUT you have to get an approval decale from the dept of motor vehicles AND it all doesn't start until after jan 1st 2005.

    and it's very likely cops do not fully know the law details. my honda dealer told me in august that it was ok to drive in those lanes. far earlier then the law was even passed.


  4. #4

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    I went to get my tag, thinking I could get an "alternative fuel "tag. First they didn't know what I was talking about, once they did, they read in the policy that the vehicle must use alternative fuel 85% of the time or more which mine does not. I assumed I COULD drive in the HOV lane when I purchased but also assumed, since the CIVIC looks so "normal" I would need the tag to keep from getting routinely stopped. Fortunatly I cannot use the HOV lane on my commute since I only use I85 for a very short period of time and my exit would require me to cross six lanes. I could use it to enter on the left coming home and keep me from having to merge four lanes to the left within the first two miles. Oh well, I hope the opportunity avails its self soon and is clear to the folks in blue....still looking for driving stategies......Pete

  5. #5

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    I've owned my 04 HCH since last Feb (04) and most of the summer have averaged over a calculated 60MPG.
    Since the cold weather has arrived I''ve dropped to around 58MPG. (Cold weather here in N. Georgia is 60's days and 35 nights)
    There is a database with over 3 million hybrid car miles logged by real hybrid owners at greenhybrid dot com and the EPA estimates are right on mark for the IMA but only slightly off for the HSD.
    Some are getting better MPG than myself.
    I've learned my technique from the Insight hyper milers there and some of them have averaged just under 100MPG in their machines!
    My quick tips:
    1. Get of of the cruise control and drive with the load.
    2. Conserve momentum.
    3. Don't let your average speed exceed 65MPH.
    4. Get your tires up off of the recommended 30PSI.
    5. Drive like your brakes don't work.
    6. Be extra light in the first 5 miles of driving and keep the cabin heat off until then.
    7. Keep the vent knob set to defrost but keep the fan set to off. This will keep a steady flow of air over the windshield as you drive to help keep it clear. You will occasionaly need the A/C to come on and clear the window. In that instance switch the fan on half way and let it run for a minute or so after the windows have cleared then switch it back to OFF.
    8. Do the Defrost hack so you can enter Auto Stop.
    9. Force AutoStop if neccessary.
    10. If you're REALLY a hard core hypermiler you can reboot while driving, but DO NOT restart your CVT going over 30-35MPH.

    Summer driving:
    10. Stay off of the Auto Climate Control for A/C, work the A/C button manually as needed.
    11. If you're REALLY a hard core hypermiler then keep the A/C off and bring a small ice bucket.

  6. #6

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    Hot Georgia,

    Thanks for the tips. Please clarify if you would:

    "EPA est. sre right on the mark for IMA but only slightly off for HSD" What is "HSD"

    Crusie control - ArRe you saying use it as much as possible or avoid it as much as possible ? I find it rather jerky at slower speeds....

    What do you mean by "Do the defrost hack so you can enter Auto stop" ?

    How do you "force auto stop". I frequently have to "ease" forward when backed up in long lines of traffic and lose the auto stop since I don't get above 5mph when easing forward.

    "Reboot while Driving", do you mean cutting the key off ?

  7. #7

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    Thanks Pete:
    "What is HSD"
    HSD is the name for Toyota's hybrid system.

    Crusie control as we know keeps near perfect MPH.
    It will burn as much fuel as needed to maintain speed
    while climbing a hill, which is opposite of driving for load.

    "What do you mean by "Do the defrost hack so you can enter Auto stop" ?

    1) Turn the vent control (top knob) to "face" (one to the right of
    2) Turn the temperature knob all the way to cold (left)
    3) Turn the fan control to "auto"
    4) Hold the 3 buttons down: The A/C, recirculate and Econ buttons.
    5) Insert the key into the ignition, turn to "Start"
    6) Hold the buttons down for 7 seconds. The ECON light will blink, 7 times.
    7) Release buttons.

    You can now enter AutoStop while in the Defrost Mode.
    To switch back to default, repeat the procedure above.

    How do you "force auto stop".
    While sitting in really slow stop-n-go traffice you often can't exeed the 10MPH required by the CVT to allow AutoStop to activate, but you can shut down the key manually. For instance if traffic stops for a moment but then creeps for quite a distance you can start the car just to nudge it then shut down again and roll.
    This is assuming your pack has a nice charge.
    Sometimes this saves me around 7MPG in a 20 minute jam.

    "Reboot while Driving", do you mean cutting the key off ?
    Yes, but then turning the car back on but not starting.
    DON'T exceed 35-40MPH if you have a CVT and restart your engine. You'll get a nasty tug even in N.
    Be REALLY careful if you do this. If and when I do this it is at 2-3 in the morning and zero traffic.
    When I leave the house at 4PM it is a constant uphill fuel battle for a couple of miles. Sometimes I'll reboot and roll that hill to reclaim what was lost earlier.

  8. #8

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    I just bought an 05 HCH, it rarely does the auto stop, only twice since I bought it. It's been plenty warm where I live, I don't pump the brakes and have followed the instructions from Honda and my salesperson. Any ideas?

    Thanks Owen

  9. #9

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    You might try low rolling resistance tires. Be warned that some people don't like the older ones in the rain, and none of them are good snow tires (fortunately, here in Florida there is no snow). Get the new Michelin Energy MX S8 (I believe that's what they are called- not the MX 4 tires). There are also the Bridgestone Pontenza 950's. Both are made from better silica compounds and should have better wet traction than the older tires.

    I use the Michelin Energy MX Plus tires on my Jetta TDI and I get right on the EPA mpg, which is about 40 mpg (I drive the automatic- I'm an auto weanie, but hey, it has resale value at least). These tires will roll forever and allow for alot of coasting. The traction is decent, especially if you don't overinflate them. I'm really caution against overinflating your tires. Sure, it saves gas, but it can make for a harsh, even unsafe, ride. I run slighly above the recommended tire pressure for my car, and I get very good handling- I tried inflating to around 36 psi and I just got a bumpy, loose handling ride and I didn't feel as in control of the car.

    40 mpg is about right for a Honda Civic Hybrid if the traffic is heavy and you stop alot. The Honda Civic Hybrid is really more in its element on the highway or in light traffic. You get some benefit from the auto-stop feature (actually a starter motor generator, and nonhybrids can have these too), but most of it is due to the engine simply being smaller than the average Honda Civic, and the battery acting as a boost. Americans don't like 0-60's over 11 seconds. In Japan and Europe they sell alot of nonhybrid, gas engine cars though, that get over 40 mpg, but they accelerate slower. People speed less, so entering a freeway quickly is not as big an issue, and they also have better lane discipline so they don't need all that "passing power".

  10. #10

    Driving strategy for better gas milage

    Magnylus, just a couple of comments if you don't mind:

    "The traction is decent, especially if you don't overinflate them. I'm really caution against overinflating your tires. Sure, it saves gas, but it can make for a harsh, even unsafe, ride.

    You're right, you should never inflate your tires above their sidewall rating while cold. I keep my factory dunlops at the safe cold pressure rating of 51PSI, and my Honda dealer even sets them up this way at my request.

    The downside of higher pressure is a harder ride, but the traction doesn't noticeably change (But I can't say in the case of snow). I'm averaging about 58MPG this winter and part of that strategy is taking turns hard to conserve momentum.
    My riders know to use the cieling handles in a turn. Tires have always gripped even on wet pavement.

    The car tracks the road straighter when they're hard and after 14 months and 34K miles haven't had any uneven wear.
    I've gotten so use to it now that to drop my tires to the 32PSI door specs seem like I'm driving with my wheels sunk in wet sand or mud, and I loose about 7 MPG over a tank of gas.

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