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Terrible MPG in brand new 2013 Honda Civic LX

Update 2/10 - First tank of gas, manually calculated at 21.5 MPGs, additional thoughts?

Hello! I have a brand new Honda Civic – 2013. It has a grand total of 186 miles on it. My typical commute in this vehicle, so far, has been a 14 mile round trip commutes to work. During this time, I have a couple of traffic jams, couple of stop lights, but by no means is it awful traffic. I would think it falls somewhere in between “city” and “highway” driving.
• All MPGs are from the computer, I’m not measuring these myself
• Bought the car with about 70 miles on it brand new, it had about a 20 MPG avg when I picked it up. I assumed this was because they just had it idling a lot.
• Set a new MPG marker when I bought it, since that point I have been getting about 17 MPG.
• Taking into account the entire life of the car (70 miles when I picked it up, 116 miles since then for a total of 186 miles) the car is averaging 19.7.
• 2013 Civic should get about 38MPG on the highway, about 30 around town. I believe these are slightly understated.

Considering the fact that I’m driving very normally and in a fuel conscious way (no flooring it, light on the gas, coasting, etc), why is this new civic so far below the factory recommendations? Does it have to do with “breaking in the car”?

At what point do I go back to the dealer and tell them this is an issue?

Thanks all for your help!


I think you should measure your fuel economy manually to confirm the computer’s figures. If the computer is wrong, reset it and give it some more time. If your numbers are close to the computer’s numbers, take it to the dealership ASAP.

Typical trip is 7 miles one way. It’s barely warmed up by then. This is severe service regimen.
You don’t state what region (temperature primarily, oxygenated gas second, altitude/terrain third) you’re operating in which can have a significant detrimental effect, especially with such short trips.
You’ve cycled less than 7 gallons of gas through this new car.
In short, I think condeming it is premature…where about are you located?

All MPGs are from the computer, I’m not measuring these myself

At what point do I go back to the dealer and tell them this is an issue?

When you check it manually and determine what your actual mpg is. The computer to determine actual mileage is NOT accurate.

If u drive 200miles and use 10 gal and computer sez used used 10 gal and avg 20 mpg than that is accurate. Why is that not accurate? Those are your conditions. That is real life. I bet if u got on hwy and drove 300 mi you would get 32mpg. Saying the trip computer is not right is bunk. Your sample size is extremely low

Thanks all for the responses. I’ll go about manually confirming.

@TwinTurbo - I live in Arlington VA, close to DC. So it’s been cold out here so far, but not THAT cold. Thanks for the rec.

If u drive 200miles and use 10 gal and computer sez used used 10 gal and avg 20 mpg than that is accurate.

My computer displays what my MPG is. It does NOT say how many gallons or how many miles I’ve driven. The discrepancy of what the MPG is being displayed does NOT equal the MPG when I divide the miles driven by the number of gallons used.

If you confirm manually what the computer is telling you, I recommend that you bring it in to the dealer for a look-see. Be sure the shops order clearly documents your complaint and that they clearly document their findings, just in case. This is a good habit to get into anyway.

Anything you do yourself to try to rectify the concern, including taking it to an independent garage, may jeopardize your warranty.

@ the same mountainbike - thanks for the recommendation, very helpful. Good stuff to look out for. I have about half a tank right now, I’ll fill up today and manually confirm over the next couple of weeks.

Have you verified that your tires are properly inflated, especially in this recent cold weather?

Speaking of tires, are these the OEM size? Does your speedometer read accurately?

With some traffic jams, my thought is that you’re closer to the city rating, not partly between the city and highway ratings.

  1. Might take a tank or two for the computer display to calibrate itself.
  2. Poor conditions: Packed snow & slush, increase rolling resistance.
  3. Winter gas. Cold temps.
  4. New, tight engine. Expect mpg to increase a bit for 5-10,000 miles as engine parts wear in.

@circuitsmith - thanks for your rec. I haven’t been able to find anything to support to “new tight engine” or ‘breaking in engine’ for later model cars, hondas/civis. I have looked into that on MPG websites like Couldn’t find a single example (out of thousands who posted) with MPGs anywhere near mine with same make/model brand new cars.

@lion9car - thanks for the comment. Tires are OEM and inflated correctly. Speedometer is correct. I drive to work a freeway. I think that it’s probably a bit over city. Either way, it’s still way under the “city” MPG.

I also think you need to do some manual calculations to confirm the computer. 112 miles is simply not far enough to get an accurate picture of the fuel mileage.

You need to take a long trip and manually measure the fuel consumed and miles driven. Be prepared that gas mileage for the first 1000 miles may not be that great because the car is still being broken in.

Once you accurately dermine what your real world mileage is, and it’s not what you expected, then go to the dealer.

I wouldn’t expect to get an accurate reading (and obviously no average reading) when you haven’t even used a tank of gas yet.

In my opinion it’s much too early to be concerned.

One more thing that makes a huge difference is how you accelerate and brake. Hard acceleration and braking decrease mileage dramatically. New car owners often can’t help themselves and drive their new cars hard since they are so much fun.

@bloody_knuckles - I’ve been driving carefully, slowly. Easy on the gas/brake.

" I live in Arlington VA, close to DC. So it’s been cold out here so far, but not THAT cold".
I just saw on the news reporters on the mall by the Capitol building doing a broadcast outside. The temperature was around 22 degrees. It is cold enough, particularly with your type of driving to lower the gas mileage. Here in east central Indiana the temperature has been between -10 and 10 degrees for a couple of days. Even though my vehicles sit inside a garage where the temperature is 45-50 degrees, the mileage on our cars in this weather has gone way down. I had to make a 30 mile round trip to my dentist in another town on a trip I make frequently with my Sienna loaded with four people and their musical instruments. I usually get about 22 mpg. I barely got 16 in the cold weather and I was the only occupant. Engines just take longer to reach operating temperature in this weather even if they have been housed overnight in a garage at 50 degrees.
I think the posted gasoline mileage is done when the temperature is 68 degrees–quite a bit warmer than things are right now in the eastern part of the U.S.

I think what I’d do in this situation is take it for a drive in the country – flat country preferable – the next free weekend. Once you get out of town and the engine is warmed up, buy a tank of gas, and drive on the freeway for a couple hundred miles, then re-fill the tank, and calculate your mpg using the elapsed miles and the number of gallons needed to re-fill the tank. Then at least you’ve got some objective data you’ve measured yourself to hang your hat on if you need to have a chat with the dealership. I expect if you actually have a problem, it will prove fairly simple for the dealership shop to fix.


Its the cold weather, I promise you, its hurting all vehicles right now. I drive a prius and My commute is 5 to 6 miles depending on my route, this is all highway driving, no stoplights if I go the shorter route, only two stop signs.

In the summer I can squeeze 45-50mpg on my commute easily, 55mpg if I try. Right now I am lucky to hit 28 mpg, this is in a prius.

I have a truck that normally gets 15 mpg, in winter im lucky to see 10mpg out of it.

If your area uses special winter blends for fuel this will also ding your mileage some.