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Discussion Starter #1
I own a new 2008 Honda Element EX with a little over 2000 miles on it and so far I am disappointed with my MPG. I'm employing conservative driving techniques ... gliding to stops, light on the gas pedal, etc.

Here are my questions about turning off your E to improve MPG while waiting at long stops like at a McDonald's drive-thru or at a railroad crossing:

  1. Has anyone done a study on how long a stop (minimum time) makes this an efficient way to improve MPG?
  2. How much MPG is lost with idling/minute or per seconds.
  3. Does restarting one's car use up part of what was gained? How much?
 

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are you seriously that concerned with saving a few pennies? Have you turned off your AC? Removed the drive belt for the AC? What about removing the rear seats? Passenger seat if nobody will be with you? Do you require the spare tire at all times?

This "hyper miling" bs is just going too far. Either someone can or can't afford to pay for the gas.

The Element was never ever touted as a fuel miser of a vehicle. It gets anywhere from 16-20 in the city and 17-25 on the highway. It all depends on the weather, season, type of fuel, type/brand/size of tires/wheels, what you're carrying/towing/hauling, with or without roof racks or accessories on top, 4AT/5AT/5MT or even 6MT... 2wd or 4wd or any combination of any of the above.

Now you want to shut off the engine during a drive-thru purchase? Why not park and walk into the place? It will save you even more!



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I own a new 2008 Honda Element EX with a little over 2000 miles on it and so far I am disappointed with my MPG. I'm employing conservative driving techniques ... gliding to stops, light on the gas pedal, etc.

Here are my questions about turning off your E to improve MPG while waiting at long stops like at a McDonald's drive-thru or at a railroad crossing:

  1. Has anyone done a study on how long a stop (minimum time) makes this an efficient way to improve MPG?
  2. How much MPG is lost with idling/minute or per seconds.
  3. Does restarting one's car use up part of what was gained? How much?

The study has been done, several times to my knowledge... If I remeber correctly "they" say you need to be stopped more than two minutes to make it worth your while. As far as "gliding" to stops it's a sensitive subject around here. Some members act as if your risking your life by coasting out of gear, and others, ( not necesarily E owners ) will say your oil pump stops when you take it out of gear.... I call BS on that madness. Your oil pump is working as long as the engine is running. I have a '86 Nissan P/U with 178K on it ..... Original brakes, yep..... let the danger talk begin !........... Oooppp looks like this is destined to be deleted!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
... Have you turned off your AC? Removed the drive belt for the AC? What about removing the rear seats? Passenger seat if nobody will be with you? Do you require the spare tire at all times? ... The Element was never ever touted as a fuel miser of a vehicle. It gets anywhere from 16-20 in the city and 17-25 on the highway.
The price sheet on my auto stated 20-22-24 (city-combo-hwy). Nowhere did it say that I would have to remove parts of the vehicle or live in a temperate zone to get this mileage.

Naturally, someone like me who is a conservative driver is going to be disappointed when they average BELOW 20/mpg. Mileage-wise, I miss my old Dodge Caravan. It had a V-6 engine and when it was new got a reliable 18-19/mpg in the city and 23-24/mpg on the highway, very close to the E's estimates AND it was a bigger more powerful car. Sadly, at 16-years of service, it had to be retired. Don't get me wrong, I love my E, but something is sadly amiss when so many people are having trouble getting the advertised mileage. Never, with my Caravan, was it necessary to think about my driving behavior, as so many E owners are doing, in order to get the advertised mileage.


are you seriously that concerned with saving a few pennies?

This "hyper miling" bs is just going too far ...

Now you want to shut off the engine during a drive-thru purchase? Why not park and walk into the place? It will save you even more!
As for my questions about turning off the engine, they were asked out of curiosity. After spending some time reading the many postings about gas mileage, some of the strategies seemed pretty far out to me but not turning off your engine in some instances. The purpose of my questions was to get some REASONABLE guideline as to when it would be beneficial to turn one's auto off.

Your response was less than helpful. It was hurtful and I resent your tone and assumptions. You did not answer my questions ... but merely ranted at me.

Who said anything about "hypermilling?"

How do you know that I don't usually walk into McDonald's? The McDonald's reference was used because on one of the FEW occasions that I drove through the drive-thru line I ended up trapped between cars waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting ... all because orders ahead of me were screwed up. I finally decided to turn off my engine, but as I crept forward, I had to turn it off and on several more times. I was curious whether I should have just idled for the 15-20 minutes it took to escape primarily because I had to turn the engine on and off several times. Naturally, if I had only had to turn the engine off once until everything got straighten out, it would have been a no-brainer decision. I've gotten trapped in other situations like this ... through no fault of my own ... and I was just wondering about idling vs. parking.

As a SITE ADMIN I would have thought you would have better manners.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The study has been done, several times to my knowledge... If I remeber correctly "they" say you need to be stopped more than two minutes to make it worth your while. As far as "gliding" to stops it's a sensitive subject around here. Some members act as if your risking your life by coasting out of gear, and others, ( not necesarily E owners ) will say your oil pump stops when you take it out of gear.... I call BS on that madness. Your oil pump is working as long as the engine is running. I have a '86 Nissan P/U with 178K on it ..... Original brakes, yep..... let the danger talk begin !........... Oooppp looks like this is destined to be deleted!
Thank you for answering one of my questions and being polite in your misinterpretation of my use of the word "gliding." Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. Rather, I "slow down" or "avoid sudden braking" when approaching stoplights or signs. As for putting a car into neutral, the practice seems risky. I prefer not to lose the ability to quickly maneuver my car if necessary from a hazardous situation.
 

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Check your tires and make sure they have the recommended 32psi front and 35psi rear. This is the first and best thing to start with.

If you're that serious about boosting your mpg a little, (lot more than shutting off for a drive through) at your next oil change, consider switching to Mobil-1 oil in the 0W20 weight instead of 5W20. Even switching to the 5W20 Mobil-1 will up your mpg a little but either one is good for the warranty.

Look and see if you have a problem with the brake shoes. Engage and release the parking brake to make sure it's not stuck.

Try buying a couple tanks of gas from another station. Pumps don't always pump a full sized gallon.

Make sure you're not using gasoline that's been cut with a lot of ethanol. If you're not sure, ask at the station who supplies their gas and then try somebody else. The more ethanol in the fuel, the lower the mpg's and some states are pushing the stuff to the limits to lower air pollution. (I live about 10 miles from an ethanol plant and you can smell the "aroma" of fermenting moonshine every time the wind blows in the right direction)

Weird as it seems, check your tire size if it's a used vehicle. The OEM tires supplied by Honda are almost criminally poor in handling and lifespan and it's fairly common for the disgusted first owner to replace the harder to find 215/70-16 with a larger size. If they are, you're not getting lower mpg's - you're driving longer miles.

You WILL get lower mpg's in the Winter unless you're in one of those strange places that doesn't know what snow looks like.

Speaking of idling, you'll take a big bite out of your fuel economy if you like to leave the engine warm up "just for a minute or two" before driving to let the air conditioner get cool or the heater warm up.

You'll probably get lower mpg's than you expected for the first 2500 to 3000 miles while the engine's breaking in. Mine did about 15-17 around town until it hit 3200 miles and then it shot up all at once. I don't know why. It ended up around 19 mpg in town until I switched to a mix of 0W20 and 5W20 Mobil-1 (there was a shortage) and it jumped again to 20-21mpg. I know because I have a mpg gauge in the car and I watched it happen going in for the oil and when I came back out a half hour later.

Last thing is harder to do because it involves a bit of self-honesty. "Am I really as light on the gas pedal as I think I am?" If you're even with the other cars when starting up at traffic lights, probably not. The Element isn't supposed to be a bunny rabbit unless you mean the kind inside a box lunch.

Whoops! I see you have a new E with 2000 miles. After you check your tires, make sure you notice where I mentioned the lower mpg's while in the break-in period. Have courage and don't switch to Mobil-1 until the regular scheduled oil change or later unless you want the lowered gas mileage forever. Break-in pretty much stops once you switch to the synthetic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Check your tires and make sure they have the recommended 32psi front and 35psi rear. This is the first and best thing to start with.
Interesting that you mention this. When I complained to a Honda service person about my disappointing mileage, he made the assumption that the tire pressure was too low. However, when he measured, all tires were over 40psi! He adjusted them to 36psi.

If you're that serious about boosting your mpg a little, (lot more than shutting off for a drive through) at your next oil change, consider switching to Mobil-1 oil in the 0W20 weight instead of 5W20. Even switching to the 5W20 Mobil-1 will up your mpg a little but either one is good for the warranty.
I will definitely consider doing this when it is time.

Look and see if you have a problem with the brake shoes. Engage and release the parking brake to make sure it's not stuck.
A mechanically inclined friend offered to jack up the end of the E and check the rotation of the tires. If the break is grabbing, I'm off to my Honda dealer.

Try buying a couple tanks of gas from another station. Pumps don't always pump a full sized gallon.
Will do.

Make sure you're not using gasoline that's been cut with a lot of ethanol. If you're not sure, ask at the station who supplies their gas and then try somebody else. The more ethanol in the fuel, the lower the mpg's and some states are pushing the stuff to the limits to lower air pollution. (I live about 10 miles from an ethanol plant and you can smell the "aroma" of fermenting moonshine every time the wind blows in the right direction)
On my list.

Weird as it seems, check your tire size if it's a used vehicle. The OEM tires supplied by Honda are almost criminally poor in handling and lifespan and it's fairly common for the disgusted first owner to replace the harder to find 215/70-16 with a larger size. If they are, you're not getting lower mpg's - you're driving longer miles.
New car ... original tires.

You WILL get lower mpg's in the Winter unless you're in one of those strange places that doesn't know what snow looks like.
It is not winter yet here. Can't imagine being even more disappointed. :cry:

Speaking of idling, you'll take a big bite out of your fuel economy if you like to leave the engine warm up "just for a minute or two" before driving to let the air conditioner get cool or the heater warm up.
Nope, don't do that. I just get in and start moving.

You'll probably get lower mpg's than you expected for the first 2500 to 3000 miles while the engine's breaking in. Mine did about 15-17 around town until it hit 3200 miles and then it shot up all at once. I don't know why. It ended up around 19 mpg in town until I switched to a mix of 0W20 and 5W20 Mobil-1 (there was a shortage) and it jumped again to 20-21mpg. I know because I have a mpg gauge in the car and I watched it happen going in for the oil and when I came back out a half hour later.
I was told this by the Honda service people, but they stated about 2000 miles. Maybe there is still hope is yours took longer to break in.

Last thing is harder to do because it involves a bit of self-honesty. "Am I really as light on the gas pedal as I think I am?" If you're even with the other cars when starting up at traffic lights, probably not. The Element isn't supposed to be a bunny rabbit unless you mean the kind inside a box lunch.
I'll double check myself using your "test."

Whoops! I see you have a new E with 2000 miles. After you check your tires, make sure you notice where I mentioned the lower mpg's while in the break-in period. Have courage and don't switch to Mobil-1 until the regular scheduled oil change or later unless you want the lowered gas mileage forever. Break-in pretty much stops once you switch to the synthetic.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
 

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I have a couple recomendations,
I also owned a mopar minivan, and I now own a Insight which has less then 2000 miles on it.
The mopar I owned was v-6 and there are some driving habit changes you need to make vs the E. Offline from a stop performance is completely different, you need to be very gentle untill you are rolling and shifted up into 3rd gear. The caravan could take jack rabbit starts much better. Your 08 has an extra gear more then likely if its a auto and that should in the end account for better gas mileage then I can get with my 4 spd auto. High end speed also makes a big difference, the E will suck gas at speeds over 60, again because its only a 4 cylinder.
I bring the insight into the conversation for 2 reasons. The first is that being a new engine its tight, and as others have said. If you truly are a conservative driver you will prolong the break in period more then likely. Its a good thing to be getting lower mileage at first, the bearings all have to get acquainted with each other.
The other reason I bring the insight into the conversation is that if you have a computer(and I am not entirely sure the newer E's do) if it is telling you the MPG its more then likely incorrect. I have found the computer is lower then my paper and pencil version of MPG thus far by about 3 mpg.
Also be consistent in your fill ups, the comment above about a pump not pumping a true gallon is sorta not part of the conversation if you fill it up all the way. If anything I would go to the same station same pump every time as the pump cut out will work nearly the same every time. Save your receipt and compare gallons inserted last time with your current miles at the next fill up. I have found it more accurate to fill up at 325 miles in mine and compare the amount of gas put in then to pick a random point on the gas gauge. Keep in mind that a 1 mpg increase from the tank of an E is about of an E is about .5 of a gallon over a 13 gallon fill up(i used 20 to 21 MPG).
Another thing you can do is pull out the rear seats, if not used. I pulled out one of mine and got another MPG or so but I do alot highway miles.

Chris
 

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Mileage in my E.

I have a 03 E with 4wd and automatic transmission. I purchased it new and at that time I was getting around 25 mpg summer and 19 mpg winter. I live in northeastern Oregon and the temperatures can range from 110 degrees during the summer to -20 during the winter.

I used reqular oil until around 10k miles and then switched to synthetic. Since then I have been averaging around 25 mpg per tank most of the time. Recently I went on a short road trip of about 350 miles and got 29 miles mpg. Almost all of this was highway but I was traveling around 65 mph most of the time unless I had to slow down for traffic or small towns.

I am still running on the original tires, I get better fuel mileage than with the aftermarket tires I bought. I run the tires at 2 lbs over recommended front and rear. I use the synthetic like I mentioned above and I am looking into putting synthetic oils into both the transmission and rear end.

I also shutoff my car if it looks like I will not be moving for a minute or more. I read somewhere that 35 seconds is the lower limit before it starts paying off. At drive thrus if no one is behind me I will wait until the car(s) in front of me has made it past the window. Even if there is a car behind me, but they have already ordered and there is no one behind them, I will sit there waiting. I don't know if they have shut down their engine also, or not, but I have not seen or heard any bad gestures, sounds or had something thrown at me so I guess it not causing them too much heartburn.

I have also taken different routes home and to work to find the route where I have the fewest stops and can travel around 40 mph. Sometimes this ends up being a combination of roads with 35-40 mile speed limits with 55 highway speeds somewhere in the route.

All in all what I am doing seems to be working when looking at fuel mileage. Or I am really lucky.

I now have approximately 61k on my E and it is still going great.

Have A Happy,
 

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All good except your plans to use synthetic transmission oil. The only one I know that has had any luck is the Amsoil transmission fluid and it's not a perfect match for Honda's requirements. I wish it was. Transmissions are fickle things and I think Honda might've used that as their goal.
 

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All that shutting off and restarting is tough on the starter, Price a new starter and it will never come close to saving the same amount of fuel.
 

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A great way to improve mileage by shutting off your engine would be to shut it off in your driveway and walk, bike, carpool, take public transportation, drive a more efficient vehicle... etc.
 

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Park it and ride your bike, mileage will be killer that way

never turn your car off when driving, your power steering can stop working with no power, all of a sudden you may end up in a salty marsh
 

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Park it and ride your bike, mileage will be killer that way

never turn your car off when driving, your power steering can stop working with no power, all of a sudden you may end up in a salty marsh
Very true. Just read through this whole thing. If you feel the need to shut the car off in the drive through, why not take a nice little walk inside to get your order?

Now, if your stopped at a rail road crossing waiting for the freight train that seems to have 100 cars to finish crossing, go ahead and cut the engine. So yes, there are places it makes sense. The drive through is not one of them (for an increase in mpg)*.

One of the posters said something about coasting to a stop. I've tried that... never succeeded to slow down enough just coasting, even engine braking won't do it. I guess you've got to live in a one stop light town or always stop up hill for that to work well.

*In a previous decade (wow I can't believe it's been that long, life moves fast), I was a drive through cashier/order person. I greatly appreciated it when people with loud motors/exhaust cut their engines. Otherwise, taking the order was impossible.
 

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Could you low gas mileage be caused by the 10% Ethanol mixture they are putting in gas now? Some states dont have any rules on signage on the pumps. You may want to look into that.

John
 

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Walking into a place that has drive thru.

I would agree with you if it was pertinent in my case. I am a paraplegic and have been for 28 years. So getting into/out of a car would be a pain in the backside, that is if I could feel it.

Shutting off a vehicle while on the road is completely unsafe, in my opinion. I don't believe shutting off a vehicle while at a LONG stop light is safe either.

I have heard and seen some documentaries on on hyper-mileage but many of the things that these people do to save fuel are unsafe, again in my opinion.

You people have some safe holidays times. Watch out for that white stuff that falls from the sky, the freezing rain, freezing fog, etc.

Have A Happy,
 

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Just drive the damn car. It's a freaking box. Don't expect hybrid levels of MPG. You're gonna have to put gas in it regardless of whether you're getting 18mpg or 24 mpg. I learned a long time ago to quit checking gas mileage. I've been much happier at the pump since then.
 

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It's an older test (2005), but I don't see why the results aren't valid.

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/fueleconomy/articles/106842/article.html

Edmunds suggests that shutting the engine off if you're going to be idling for more than 1 minute can save fuel.

However...I would caveat that by saying don't bother when your engine is cold. If your engine is cold, you're not getting optimal mileage anyway because your car's computer basically ignores the sensors and tries to get warmed up as quickly as possible by injecting more fuel. If you prolong the warm-up, you're prolonging the poor mileage. This is why every study I've read suggests that for optimal economy while doing a bunch of errands, go to the farthest location first, as it gives your engine a chance to warm up, begin paying attention to its sensors, and getting better fuel economy.

Someone else said ethanol...when I had my E, my mileage dropped noticeably while running ethanol.

By the way, even though I don't have an E anymore, I still lurk around here...I miss the E! Although I gotta say...over 3300 miles of driving with my Golf TDI, I'm averaging 43.2 mpg. Best tank has been 49, worst has been 38. And I'm not babying it or hypermiling...just driving. But I do have to run a lint roller over the entire interior of the car EVERY TIME my dog rides in it...never had to do that with my E. Ahhh, tradeoffs...
 

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Has anyone done a study on . . . How much MPG is lost with idling/minute or per seconds.
I can't believe that if this made a radical difference in fuel consumption and total operating cost, that the major manufacturers wouldn't have adopted it already.

Anyway, the potentital savings would vary depending on your particular vehicle. To calculate the gross savings you'd need an emergency can of gas. I know that I can drive for more than 8 hours in mixed traffic on a full tank, so idle must consume less than 2 gallons per hour (probably a lot less).

- at the closest station to home, fill your tank and a 2 gallon gas can, drive home and park,
- top off the tank,
- run the engine at idle for an hour,
- stop the engine and measure how much gas is needed to top off the tank.
- divide by 60 for fuel/min.

Do the test twice, on a hot day and a very cold day, average the results.

I make a practice of turning off the engine whenever I am certain that I will be stopped for more than a minute. I don't know that it would be worth the wear and tear on the emission system/starter/battery to do it every time the car stopped, and I sure wouldn't try it in stop and go traffic.
 
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