Honda Fit with poor MPG

I’ve put 2000 miles on a Honda Fit and am getting MPG far less than I should. Averaging 26 mpg with the last 2 tanks at 21 and 23 mpg. Of course a main reason I chose the Fit over something like a Subaru wagon was for the fuel economy. In reading Fit forums, a number of people seem to be having the same issue. Of course there are all sorts of recs about tire pressure and driving style - and my driving is all city, virtually no highway, so I did expect I would be getting the high end of economy but I hoped to be in the 30s and minimally 28 as per the recently downwardly adjusted mpg expectations for a Fit.

Any real world advice as far as dealing with Honda or practical solutions that don’t involve extremes such as tire pressure far above the Honda recs, etc? Thanks for any advice!

All city driving provides the worst fuel economy for any vehicle because of the stop and go traffic conditions. And you have to remember, the EPA fuel mileage ratings do not reflect real world conditions. So you’re going to see less in fuel mileage in the real world than what the EPA mileage rating states.


Thanks. And sorry, left out a crucial “not”. I did NOT expect to get the high end of fuel mileage ratings based on my city driving but shouldn’t be getting below the lowest when these are the downwardly adjusted EPA ratings. A few months before I bought the car the EPA ratings had a low in the 30s but the low was adjusted to 28 when I purchased. I seem to be one of the low percentage of owners who have a bit of a MPG lemon and I’m not sure what can be done about that.

“City Driving” is a very subjective term-- the EPA version of it assumes free-flowing traffic with some, but not exessive, stops. The congestion seen in many major urban areas causes conditions far worse than the EPA test track version. What did you get in whatever you were driving before? If your driving was the same, I’ll bet it wasn’t getting the EPA rating either.

Taking a long trip somewhere in the country would be a good way to establish if you are getting the correct highway mileage, as well as a fun adventure with your new car. If your highway mileage is close to the EPA rating, your car is probably not the problem and you can at least feel good that it’s probably still getting better mileage than most cars would in the conditions.

You are right where the EPA says the Fit should be: 27 MPG. And as Jack said, you may be idling more than in the EPA test.

Add : This is winter and most cars get lower mileage in the winter due the the fuel and the temperatures.

Are you using gasoline with 10% ethanol? If so, it will lower your mileage by about 10%. 26 mpg is not really all that bad if you’re driving in the city all the time. Try shutting off the engine if you know you’ll be sitting still in traffic for a while. If you live in a cold part of the country, you may get better mileage when the weather warms up in the spring.

How far do you really drive in the city? People get in a tizzy over poor mileage but then at the same time only drive limited mileage typically in a city. Not sure if this situation applys to you but overall what does the picture look like?

The car isn’t quite broken in yet. It might improve in another 1000 miles. I just read the other posts and they have good information. I bet that when city MPG is figured that they run the car a long way to get the mileage right. Too short a trip and you won’t get the best rating. They probably go through most of a tank of gas in a day with the engine fully warmed up. With trips of less than two miles, you will get terrible gas mileage. They probably don’t test them until they have 5000 miles on the car either. Everything is still new and tight on your car. It needs miles and time and Summer temperatures to get its mileage up.

With winter time here and your type of driving I don’t think there is anything wrong with your vehicle at all.
It’s entirely possible that environemental conditions and your driving habits could whittle the 27 down to 21 or 23.

If your car is ever starting to suffer due to an excessively rich fuel mixture then the Check Engine Light on the dash will tell you so.

Consumer Reports reported on the Fit and other budget cars in their 12/2006 issue. Their tests of the Fit showed city MPG of 22 for the automatic, 26 for the manual; overall 32 and 34. You don’t say which trans yours has, but your 21 and 23 are pretty close to CR’s 22 for the automatic.

The comments above about driving in winter temperatures and using gas that has ethanol in it ring true.

The European Fit that is called the Jazz uses a different engine that is not a high revving vtec. That engine is designed more for gas mileage. My guess is guess Honda doesn’t think the Fit will sale here unless it has enough performance. I don’t know why Honda doesn’t at least offer a HF (high fuel mileage) version here like they did with the Civic at one time.

They don’t sell…

That really surprises me. My 98 Civic gets at least 29 MPG at the very worst (city driving in winter). I think the answer lies in the pep that the Fit seems to be known for. Compared to other economy hatchbacks, I read that the Fit has quick acceleration. When you take advantage of that quick acceleration, you can’t expect the same fuel economy that you would have if you were to accelerate and decelerate gently.

My advice is:

  1. Check your tire pressure every two weeks. Keep it at the rating recommended in the owner’s manual and on the sticker on the driver’s door pillar. The rating on the tire is the maximum pressure, not necessarily the recommended pressure.

  2. Lighten your weight. If there is anything you don’t need in the car, take it out. Sometimes if you bowl in a league it is tempting to leave your bowling ball in the trunk seven days a week along with a tool box. This will hurt your fuel economy when driving around town.

  3. Drive judiciously. Accelerate and decelerate gently.

  4. Pay attention to your shifting speeds. With a small engine and a manual transmission it is tempting to get more power from the engine by shifting at higher RPMs. This will lower fuel economy and usually the extra power isn’t needed. Try shifting to the next gear a little earlier. As long as you don’t lug the engine, it won’t do any harm. For example, when I first got my Civic, I was shifting from 2nd to 3rd at 30 MPH, from 3rd to 4th at 45 MPH, and from 4th to 5th at 60 MPH. I noticed when my brother drove my car (on a trip where we were sharing the driving), he was shifting from 2nd to 3rd at 20 MPH, from 3rd to 4th at 35 MPH, and from 4th to 5th at 50 MPH. I tried it myself and I didn’t like doing it the way he did, but I found middle ground with which I am comfortable. Now most of the time I shift from 2nd to 3rd at 25 MPH, from 3rd to 4th at 40 MPH, and from 4th to 5th at 55 MPH. This gives me a good balance between fuel economy and power that I can live with and leaves me room to eek out a little more power if I need it.

Thank you all. I should have mentioned that I have a manual transmission and, yes, live in Minnesota. I also drive mostly 4 miles at a time. I’ll give it a bit more time.

“I also drive mostly 4 miles at a time”.

Now that we know this vital bit of information, I can tell you that you should be very glad to be getting the gas mileage that you reported. Under those conditions–mostly 4 mile drives in Minnesota weather–your engine does not come even close to normal operating temperature, and is running on a rich gas/air mixture for your entire drive.

Besides being bad for gas mileage, this is also not good for the exhaust system or for the engine itself. While there is really no solution for your gas mileage problem if you are only driving 4 miles in very cold conditions, at least you can lessen the impact on the car by changing the oil according to the “severe” or “extreme” maintenance schedule listed by Honda (this should be sitting in your glove compartment) and by being sure that you drive the car for AT LEAST 30 minutes at a time once a week in order to evaporate all of the excess moisture that is diluting your motor oil and being deposited in the muffler.

I agree that your driving short trips will cause unusually low gas mileage. I have a 5-spd Fit Sport and get 30-32 around town (in-town Atlanta) and 36-39 on highway trips. You may want to question the amount of fuel you are getting when you fill up. Change stations and see if you notice anything. With electronics it is easy to short the gallons by a small amount. Companies have been prosecuted for doing just that, and they were the discount stations.