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New hybrid, low mileage?

I just purchased an '09 civic hybrid. Fresh of the dealer’s lot, without touching a thing (haven’t even put gas in it yet), and I’m only getting ~ 35 mpg over the first 78 miles (50 of which have been hwy). I also have an '03 civic hybrid which routinely gets ~ 50 mpg. Is this cause for concern? Or is it just the “newness” factor and will improve over the next x-hundred miles or so?

How are you calculating mpg if you haven’t even put gas in the car? It’s WAY too soon to worry. I would not be surprised, however, if the '03 gets better mileage than the '09. New cars weigh more than older cars, and weight matters.

Hybrids get their best mileage in urban driving, and “conventional” vehicles get their best mileage in highway driving. If most of your driving is going to be on highways, then a hybrid was not the correct type of vehicle for you to purchase.

Many people have already found that a vehicle like a Honda Fit will be cheaper in the long run than a hybrid, given both the lower purchase price of the Fit and the fact that hybrids are not at their best in highway driving.

Also, your driving style will have a lot to do with the mileage on a hybrid, just as it will in a conventional vehicle, but the driving style for optimum mileage with each type of vehicle is somewhat different. You might want to see how the Owner’s Manual suggests that you drive your hybrid for optimum gas mileage, but if you will be driving mostly on highways, you will likely never see the gas mileage figures that are advertised by Honda.

Your average mileage is based off what the dealer, port workers, and factory was moving the car about and the bit you put on.

Wait a few tanks and then see what happens.

Interestingly enough my wife’s car got the best mileage I ever say average when delivered with 270 miles at 28MPG average. However the person who moved car is a very careful older gentleman.

Civics keep track of the mileage on the trip A/B odometers. I didn’t realize the weight was so much different. Both the '03 and '09 are 4dr sedans. I expected the actual mpg to be different than the posted, but not THIS different. But, as you said, maybe it’s just WAY to soon to worry and the car just needs to be broken in more.

A couple things going on here.

First you’re calculating the mileage WRONG. There is no way you can get a accurate reading in just 78 miles. You need to average several tank fulls (which in this case will be over 1000 miles).

Second - Hybrids best gas mileage is city driving. One of the big advantages of a hybrid is it’s regenerative braking. Every time you press on the brake pedal it charges the hybrid battery.

I’ve certainly heard that’s true of the Prius, but not the Civic. My experience with the '03 civic hybrid is just the opposite: MUCH better mpg on the hwy than city (but still better than avg in city). Since most of my miles are hwy, it just made more sense. As for driving style, I usually go about 10-15% over the limit, e.g., 62 in a 55 zone, or 72 in a 65 zone. Like I said, based on my experience with the '03, I would expect the '09 to get at least comparable mpg. But with only 78 miles on the car, maybe I’m jumping the gun.

Actually, per Honda’s website the 2009 Civic Hybrid is EPA-rated at 40 city/45 highway/42 combined.

The mpg is calc’d automatically by the trip A/B odometers. The feedback I’m getting from others seems to be that it’s too soon to be jumping to conclusions so I’ll give it the first 1k before evaluating it again. I also responded to someone else that my experience with the '03 civic hybrid is that it gets it’s best mileage on the hwy (~ 50 mpg) but just better than avg in the city (maybe ~ 38 +/-). This is based on a 5 yr history, 165k, so it’s going to be pretty hard to convince me otherwise. I know the prius does better city than hwy, but not the civic hybrid.

so was the '03 civic hybrid, but it almost ALWAYS did better under real world conditions, +/- for weather conditions, etc.

There are 6 years elapsed. They recently changed the way they estimate mileage so that it better reflected real world conditions. Some usage profiles will still do better, some worse but there’s a good chance your not comparing apples-apples after the changes.

The mpg is calc’d automatically by the trip A/B odometers.

Those are notoriously INACCURATE. Sorry…but I stand by my statement you’re calculating it wrong. Second…even it was accurate it would still be wrong. The average MPG is taken over a wide range of driving conditions. 78 miles is NOT going to be a wide range of driving conditions so it can average out. Those 78 miles could all have been in a head-wind giving you the low reading.

Well most Prius will get more “Improvement” to the mileage attributable to the Hybrid part, but not better mileage alone. Hybrid does it’s thing in stop and go, it has little or no effect on the highway.

I assume you are looking at in car mileage read out. Those are never really accurate and the accuracy can depend on the driving style so a high highway error might or might have a high city error. They also learn about the driver so they get better with use after a tank fulls.