Thursday, October 14, 2004

Latest Update

Here's the latest on my hybrid car. I'm drafting a long note to Honda about my overall experience. I hope I can offer some useful advice on everything from customer satisfaction processes to dealer/manufacturer communication. Honda is a good company, and I suspect their heart is in the right place, so I hope they'll fully internalize my input. In the meantime, I order a new set of license plates from the State of Ohio. Regretably, I'm just not comfortable keeping the "Mo Miles" plates on my car. More on this later.

37 Comments:

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

I just want to let you know a link I found that might interest you. It offrers a lot of advice similar to what you gave, and also gives some good information on alternatives.

http://www.smartmoney.com/consumer/index.cfm?story=20031126

Also, thanks for helping potential hybrid buyers weed fiction from fact. It's good to know the real scoop on hybrid mpg.

~lady from New York

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry that link spanned off the page it is..

Are Hybrids Worth it

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again...

If for some reason, the blog cuts off the url and you only see story=2003112 please add a 6 to the end of the url.

Are Hybrids Worth it

 
At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...your detailed struggle with a hybrid is compelling reading. I am astounded at the low mpg you're getting. Ive got a 2001 Corolla and three years later I'm getting 36-38mpg freeway and 30-33mpg in the city.

I feel your pain...

--Mr. Helpful

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete

I'm tom from Santa Cruz and also a slug. I've heard about folks like you who don't get the promised mileage on your hybrid and wondering what's up. I was actually given a 2002 Prius by some well to do friends who have bought a 2004 Prius. I've been using my Prius for a commute to Davis and pretty happy with the results. It now has 30,000 miles. At 70-75 mph average roundtrip to Davis (except over Hwy 17) I always use cruise control and I've been getting 42 mpg, and at 65 mph I get about 50-52 mpg, and at 55 mph I actually got 60, or so says the instruments (i so far am trusting the instruments) so far I haven't use it in the rain.

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete,
Here is a way to improve your MPG. Change the air filter on the car to a K & N air filter. It allows 60 % more air flow.
I have a 1998 Chevy Malibu V6 that gets around 24.5 mpg on the highway (the air filter was in good shape. With the K & N air filter I am now getting 27.5 mpg. I once got 28.7 mpg. I am going to try Bosch 4 tip platinum plugs next. Good luck.
S Jacob Chacko

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete,

I work for New Hampshire Public Radio. We're doing a show on hybrid cars next week. I'm interested to see if you'd participate for a five minute phone call around 9:30am on Wednesday, November 17th, talking about your experience as a hybrid car owner. Email me at tfreligh@nhpr.org for more details. Thanks!

Cheers,
Tai Freligh
NHPR.org

 
At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect you must be driving 95mph down the expressway or flooring it at every green light. I have a 2002 prius and easily get the epa ratings or better. On 10/29/2004 my father purchased an auto HCH and I have drivned the car several times in the brief 700 miles since we have had it. It is chilly here in Hingham MA but cruisin around town i am easily getting 50mpg. Maybe you have a lemon. I would tell your Honda dealer to #*$& itself, demand a refund and get a prius or something or an hch from another dealer.

 
At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that i think about it... You should check out this prius website...www.john1701a.com. Go to owners and click on Jesse. if you have any questions email me at seenuinoz@hotmail.com. Good luck.

Jesse

 
At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really feel your pain. I just got a '05 Prius 2 weeks ago and I am already getting 48 MPG (highway + city combined) without the car broken in and without refraining myself from accelerating normally from every stop. 33 MPG for the Insight which look pales next to the Prius is just not acceptable. There are a couple of fuel-saving devices that you can look into: Super FuelMAX, Grounding Cables, etc. Check out www.Earthority.com for more info. Thanks and good luck.

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger gary1964 said...

Hi Pete

I have not bought a hybrid yet and am doing research and plan to buy in about 1 year. Enjoyed this week's Newsweek-you are mentioned in it. Thanks for starting this blog. I hope Hybrid mileage estimates will be more accurate going forward. Though it may not be financially prudent, hybrids are indeed good for the environment. Perhaps an ancillary benefit

Pete, met you way back when with FAST and interactive advertising in 1998. Chat soon

Gary1964

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, I wonder if Honda would be willing to install some kind of automotive "black box" on your hybrid to track your speeds, acceleration, braking, shifting, etc.

If nothing else, the information could provide some useful hard data on your driving style.

A less expensive approach would be to temporarily swap vehicles with another owner of same model/year and similar odometer miles; someone who is getting a much higher number. The results should be telling.

Justin C / Salt Lake City, UT

 
At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your problems. I would recommend a OBDII scanner to collect the engine info and compare with a normal hybrid. We have 3 hybrids in my family and 2 of the 3 are above the EPA numbers and 1 is slightly lower. I wouldn't buy any other type of car.

 
At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

I own a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid and I average about 32 mpg. I am relieved, strangely enough, that I have found another civic hybrid driver who gets less than 35 mpg, too. So we are not alone. I feel ripped off because I should have purchased a Prius or a regular civic for thousands less. There *must* be a change in the way Honda advertises the 47/48 mpg bumper sticker!

 
At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

I own a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid and I average about 32 mpg. I am relieved, strangely enough, that I have found another civic hybrid driver who gets less than 35 mpg, too. So we are not alone. I feel ripped off because I should have purchased a Prius or a regular civic for thousands less. There *must* be a change in the way Honda advertises the 47/48 mpg WINSHIELD sticker!

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another dissatified Civic Hybrid owner. I'm only getting around 34 mpg. When I first got he car I was getting around 44. The dealer said they couldn't find anything wrong. My driving habits haven't changed much and frankly, I don't think I should have to constantly monitor the fuel efficieny gauge in order to try and maximize my mileage. I'm driving a car not playing a video game. What have other owners done to fix this problem? I live in New York. Does anyone know if I have any lemon laws would apply here?

 
At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Marc Alberts said...

Hey Pete--

I wish you were having better luck. I, too, have a 2004 Civic Hybrid, and while I am not meeting the mileage targets overall, I am not nearly missing by as much as you are. My average (after 15k miles) is 43.9 mpg, and after my last tune-up my per-tank average is now over 48 on mixed driving for the last few tanks.

All I can say is that while the EPA does allow Honda to overstate the mileage, in my experience the biggest factor by far is knowing how to drive to the car's strength's mileage-wise. This is especially important for driving in congestion, as it seems to me that the only way to get the autostop to engage is to get above about 1800 RPMs (Honda should really allow a manual autostop for stop-and-go if they're not going to go with a pure hybrid in their mainstream engines).

Honestly, I can't help but think you're a leadfoot or using cruise control as you go over big hills, or driving only short distances when the car is cold. Those are the only things that really drive mileage down for me.

 
At 8:24 PM, Anonymous B.J. Porter said...

We have a 2003 Civic Hybrid we've had since late 2002. We love it, in the summer we average around 47-49 MPG, in the winter around 43 (no Auto Stopping does have has an impact).

We do nothing special, although spot and average mileage meters do make you more consientious.

We get around 475+ miles on an ~11.5 gallon ($22-25.00 these days) fillup with the car.

I'm not sure what problems you are having, a lemon maybe or some operational isseus. We HAVE seen that many of the dealers/techs are a little puzzled by the car still, since they don't see that many of them. The guy that sold us ours for example had noidea how it wored, and could not demonstrate the autostop feature since he had no clue how the car had to be set for this to work.

I can't wait to get my Highlander Hybrid next month.

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,
I am going to get my Highlander hybrid soon.EPA estimated mpg 37 city/28 Hwy!!!!.
People say Toyota technology is more reliable than others.After reading your experince I am having second thoughts.What is your comment?
Michael.

 
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