Why a Honda Civic Might Get Bad Gas Mileage

by Arthur Barnhouse

The Honda Civic has long stood amongst the leaders when it comes to outstanding gas mileage. Whether it's powered by a traditional gasoline engine or a hybrid, your Civic should be saving you money at the pump. In fact, since 1978, only late model Civics equipped with a 2.0 liter engine have dipped below 30 mpg in highway driving conditions. The great majority average well over 30 mpg, with some even topping 50, according to the website MpgOMatic. Thus, if you're experiencing bad fuel mileage with your Civic, you should investigate for some underlying reasons.

Mechanical Problems

The first thing you should do, for both your safety and the overall health of your Honda, is to look for mechanical problems. Start with your Civic's spark plugs. Bad spark plugs can lead to an engine that is sluggish or misfires. Bad plugs also make your engine inefficient and ruin gas mileage. If you can't remember the last time you had new spark plugs put in your Honda, you should probably have some installed. While you're at it, have your mechanic check your fuel injectors, fuel lines and gas tank for any problems or leaks. Obviously, if you're leaking gasoline, it's going to appear as if you have terrible fuel economy.

Bad Driving

Look in the mirror. It may not be your Civic's fault that you're experiencing bad gas mileage. Constantly speeding above 55 mph will be a drag on fuel efficiency. It's best to maintain a constant speed at or below 55 mph on the highway. Also, when you rapidly accelerate and/or brake, you waste gas. Instead, practice slow starts and coast to stops whenever possible.

Bad Gas, Filters and Oil

Bad gasoline can decrease your Civic's gas mileage and ruin your engine. Try to avoid extremely cheap gasoline or disreputable gas stations. Dirty or watered down gas will make your engine run less efficiently and will cost you in the long run. If you have old oil or oil that is too thick, your miles per gallon will be negatively affected as well. Frequent oil changes, using a synthetic or lower viscosity oil should increase your mileage. Finally, check your air and fuel filters. Dirty filters will reduce fuel efficiency.

Wasteful Habits

If you have a tendency to allow your Honda Civic to idle excessively, it could be the root of your poor gas mileage problems. With your engine idling, your Civic is motionless while burning gas. This habit will lead to a rather dreary 0 miles per gallon. Also, if you have a habit of running your air conditioner, you're putting extra strain on your Civic's engine, which results in lower gas mileage.

Excessive Weight

When you add extra weight to your Honda Civic, you increase the workload on your engine and make it less fuel efficient. Try to remove as much weight as possible, as just an extra 100 lbs. will reduce gas mileage by up to 2 percent. Therefore, unload any cargo you may be hauling around in the trunk of your Civic and uninstall aftermarket accessories, such as heavier wheels or larger tires. Lastly, if your Civic has a roof rack, try not to use it. Not only will the extra weight cost you, it will ruin your aerodynamics

About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera county gas pump image by Robert Bourgeois from Fotolia.com