Okay everybody, I think it's time for me to eat a big 'ol crow sandwich. After doing some exhaustive research on this highly debated issue, I've decided the best oil to use is 5W-20. It seems 5W-20 is less susceptible to thermal breakdown than 5W-30. From what info I could find it seems the greater the spread between the two weights of oils, the greater the chance for thermal breakdown. Even though I've gotten on my soapbox and preached the benefits of 5W-30, it looks like I'm going to have to change my line of thinking and use 5W-20.
I've had my Element a little over a month now (less than a thousand miles).
When I purchased it, the dealer informed me that they recommended Honda brand oil, but that it was just Castrol, put in a Honda container.
5W-20 was the recommended weight for all seasons driving.
They did say I should be particular on the filter when you change it.
They said the Honda filter was build to withstand hight pressures than say a Fram or aftermarket type. I think when its time to change both, I'll use Castrol 5W-20 and a Honda filter.