Sunday, January 15, 2006

Saving the Planet - 1 gas tank at a time? 

There is a lot of thrash out there on the subject of hybrid cars and actual gas mileage in real driving conditions.

In the interest of providing some real information - I've posted the 2005 mileage charts and details for my Honda Civic (manual transmission). Quite a year - I bought the car new in January, and we have put 24,000 miles on it since. A lot of time spent behind the wheel in a complete mix of driving conditions and loads in suburb Washington DC traffic.

Here's the charts and fuel log details.

What is interesting is comparing my figures to the EPA #'s on the 2005 Honda Civic Manual - 51 highway and 45 traffic. These seem pretty fair for the Honda. I certainly can average over 51mpg in pure highway driving, while in mixed driving I've averaged over 45mpg.

They are planning to revise the EPA system for 2008 - see NYT article here. The article seems to think these new testing methods will bring down numbers on hybrids - but I'm not so sure. Certainly the conventional cars will see worse EPA numbers that will improve the comparison. For example my Lincoln LS is rated 23mpg EPA - which I've never got - more like 19mpg average. That's around 25% worse gas mileage than sticker. If I compare the Lincoln to my Honda I'm getting well over double the gas miles - and a savings of over $1,000 per year on gas alone looking at 2005 gas prices.

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