2003 Honda Accord 4 cyl gas mileage on the highway

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Just thought this gas mileage story might be worth noting for some Honda Accord buyers.
I just took my first long ride with this car this past weekend from
Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas and back. I used cruise control 99 percent of the time and had 2 adults, 2 teenagers and baggage and air conditioning 100 percent of the time. I locked in the cruise control at about 66 or 67 mph (speed limit said 70) and just stayed mostly in the right lane to allow cars/trucks to pass me. Most of the trip is hilly terrain and weather was sunny and warm and not much wind. Car is in excellent shape.
I was concerned that gas stations would be closed based on news reports earlier so I wanted to be sure to do this trip on one tank of gas tho it turned out gas stations were open. I calculated I got 37.5 mile/gal and I was totally surprised. I'm sure it's not a mistake too. Normally city driving I get around 24 mile/gal.
Off topic, I noticed many times, the large pickup trucks moved over to the right lane only to let the prius, focus or honda civics pass them (guessing they were doing around 75mph or so).
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Not a mistake at all. I had a 2000 Accord 5 speed; in the summer, A/C on, going through the mountains, I got 35mpg.
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On 9/6/05 7:09 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@nntp2.usenetserver.com, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"

several years ago from the Northeastern US (back to Dallas), with four passengers and quite a bit of luggage and camping cargo in the back, I somehow managed to get 28 mpg.
This with the 3.5 liter V6 Acura engine, A/C going full bore, and driving mostly around 80 mph.
I will grant that heading toward Dallas from where we were was aiding us with a gentle decrease in elevation, but still, I was wowed.
Be
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Rob wrote: : > : >> Just thought this gas mileage story might be worth noting for some : >> Honda Accord buyers. : >> : >> I just took my first long ride with this car this past weekend from : >> Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas and back. I used cruise control 99 : >> percent of the time and had 2 adults, 2 teenagers and baggage and air : >> conditioning 100 percent of the time. I locked in the cruise control : >> at about 66 or 67 mph (speed limit said 70) and just stayed mostly in : >> the right lane to allow cars/trucks to pass me. Most of the trip is : >> hilly terrain and weather was sunny and warm and not much wind. Car : >> is in excellent shape. : >> : >> I was concerned that gas stations would be closed based on news : >> reports earlier so I wanted to be sure to do this trip on one tank of : >> gas tho it turned out gas stations were open. I calculated I got 37.5 : >> mile/gal and I was totally surprised. I'm sure it's not a mistake : >> too. : > : > Not a mistake at all. I had a 2000 Accord 5 speed; in the summer, A/C : > on, going through the mountains, I got 35mpg. : > : I don't own an Accord; I own a 2001 Odyssey. On one leg of a return trip : several years ago from the Northeastern US (back to Dallas), with four : passengers and quite a bit of luggage and camping cargo in the back, I : somehow managed to get 28 mpg. : : This with the 3.5 liter V6 Acura engine, A/C going full bore, and driving : mostly around 80 mph. : : I will grant that heading toward Dallas from where we were was aiding us : with a gentle decrease in elevation, but still, I was wowed. : : Be
I once got more than 29 mpg in my '01 Ody, on a 345-mile leg of a trip between Atlanta and Houston. True, it was over flat terrain, mostly without the A/C (it was December), and at an average speed a bit lower than my usual 75 or so, but I did have two adults and a child in the van, plus a lot of stuff. Even given a little margin for error in the refueling process, I was impressed.
Around town? Usually about 16 to 18 mpg, unfortunately.
Paul
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numerous times we've averaged 33 mpg with premium gas. 3.5L V6 205 HP (210 HP with premium)
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On one leg of a return trip

A small tailwind can make a big improvement in mpg. A small headwind can take a pretty good toll as well.
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The car is rated for 34, and the government highway test is more demanding than just cruising endlessly at a steady speed. So, your results are not unexpected.
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I have a 2003 Honda Accord 4 cylinder with manual transmission. I find that at 50 MPH, 2000 RPM in 5th gear, I get the best gas mileage. On a trip from Canton, TX, home of the BIG Flea Market, to Austin, TX, I averaged more than 50 MPG. On a short trip on IH 35 from San Antonio to Austin, it averaged more than 50 MPG. To get that economy, I use no air conditioning, no cruise control and use the built-in navigation system computer to show me the instantaneous gas mileage number. I find that seeing the gas mileage number in real-time helps me drive for highest economy with little effort. Unless the highway is totally flat, the cruise control does not drive as economically as I can. I routinely get more than 45 MPG on the highway.
Using the air conditioning, using the cruise control and driving faster that 50 MPH drops the economy to 36-38 MPG. I always use the lowest priced grade of gasoline.
In town economy depends on the time of day. Non-peak time driving can yield as much as 32 MPG. That is a achieved by coasting when possible. Typically in Austin, during peak traffic times, the number is only 26-28 MPG.
This Honda was bought new and has been driven over 60,000 miles. No repairs have been needed yet. I change the oil every four months with Castrol 5W20, clean the leather, wash and wax the paint and that is all.
--- James D. Howard Austin TX USA snipped-for-privacy@helps.com
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snipped-for-privacy@helps.com wrote:

Is that imperial gallons or U.S. gallons?
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ahem. Your BEST mileage will be when using cruise control.
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On Wed, 07 Sep 2005 13:11:41 -0400, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"

50 mpg. Somebody's in la-la land.
_________________________________
"Take a little 5FU, leucovorin and irenotecan for thy stomach's sake." -- 1 Timothy 5:23 (adapted)
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Well, it sounds like he is coasting a lot and letting his speed drop when going up hills also. If you really game the system, you will beat the cruise control. After all, you can see what's coming up next, and it can't. It also sounds like he's making his fellow drivers nuts by going 50 mph and getting in their way. Austin traffic is hellacious, and I wouldn't want to be behind this guy so he can save $10 a month.
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On Wed, 07 Sep 2005 13:11:41 -0400, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"

You'd think so, but experimentally, in a lot of different cars doing economy runs, its not. Cruise control is just to keep the car at a constant speed, no to do it efficiently.
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So you're keeping your throttle at exactly the same position, manually, and if you go up or down a hill and your speed changes dramatically, so be it?
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On Fri, 09 Sep 2005 14:21:40 -0400, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"

I say up front i ahven't used cruise control in years, except for once last week. My vehicles don't have it, i don't use it. I used it on my wifes work van, a 96 T+C. Before this, my last experiance was with a 03 buick century back in 03 (a rental car).
Basically, whenevre it droped below the set speed, it opened the throttle to what felt like 20%, and carried on until the set speed was reached. Personally, i'd fluctuate a bit more, run it 3 or so over, let it run 3 or so under, and repeat. The vehicle seemed to surge as well, as it moved into acceleration mode. and it never went over about 2500rpm, avoiding the peak torque area (which is the most efficient area)) although whether this was more a fact of the cruise control, or the slushbox, i don't know.
These large and drequent instances of throttle usage are not efficient However, the wife loves the cruise control. i've asked her to make a not of how far and how much fuel she used in the van today, and when we do the route again, i'lm going to go with her, and drive as i normally do, to compareThat'll be at least a week away though.
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So you're saying you have very little experience with cruise control.
I also noticed that you avoided answering my question, so I'll ask it again:
So you're keeping your throttle at exactly the same position, manually, and if you go up or down a hill and your speed changes dramatically, so be it?
Is that what you're doing when you drive, to avoid the throttle movements that are "inefficient"?
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On Fri, 09 Sep 2005 18:25:55 -0400, "Elmo P. Shagnasty"

I'm saying i have limited experiance, but with that, i pay a lot more attention to what its doing - its not something i take for grated, and ignore as a backgroud part of driving'

no, i'm not. If you read what I said, I vary the cars speed, work with the grade (and with the road thats comming up - something NO cruise control can do) anticipate, etc.
Cruise control programming is very simple 10 IF speed<set THEN throttle++ ELSE throttle = 0 20 goto 10
Thats putting how i've seen cruise control operation to be, rendered into 20-odd year old Basic. If the programming is more conplex, then it certainly doesn't come across in the driving experiance.

To drive efficiently, you must drive smoothly, with no sudden speed changes, and in harmony with the othre road users around you. A cruise control takes no notice of any enviroment except the one its driving over at that second, and has no way of detecting other road users. It in no way attempts to use the engine most efficiently, so HOW can it be driving most efficiently?
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I can think of at least one possible way *if* the car is an automatic. It is possible (though I do not know for a fact) that the OEM could factor in the CC in the torque converter (TC) lockup routine. Generally the TC locks up at a certain min rpm and for a range of throttle positions. It might be programmed to note that if CC is engaged, throttle-based drivability concerns will not be as big a deal at lower rpm settings. Thus it might lock it up at non-normal speeds resulting in a more efficient transmission.
Anyway, it has been my experience that CC probably beats my mileage. But one factor may be that if I have CC engaged, I'm driving slower than I would otherwise.
As to the modulating throttle, I think it is a fallacy that this markedy decreases MPG, unless done so *aggressively*. At least in a manual where the TC doesn't come into play. Contrary to what you might infer from your high school driving instruction, an engine is actually more efficient at higher (but not max) throttle setting. Accelerating doesn't consume more fuel, braking does! (well, accel does, but it just stores it in the kinetic energy of the car where it is available for later use). And yeah, faster driving means higher rpm and air drag. Both of these result in increased frictional losses.
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On Sat, 10 Sep 2005 12:41:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Dave) wrote:

Dunno if this last paragraph was directed at me or not. Engine is most efficient at arond its peak torque area. (at least for non vtec engines) I'm not sure about them, having not had much experiance of them. I personally didn't learn about anything at high school (since i'm not american, and thus never went to one) but what i learnt about cars, i learnt in my teens, working on my fathers rally car, and doing the old economy rally's. Those were fun, slingshotting the car around the peak torque area, and using a saab freewheeling unit in between.
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I think that is close, but at peak torque, most if not all engines go into fuel enrichment. So, they won't be terribly efficient there. Highest efficiency is typically about 20% or so below the peak torque for that rpm judging from the fair number of brake specific fuel consumption maps I've seen. That's still a very high throttle setting which you won't see in typical cruise.
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