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MetroMPG 04-09-2009 05:52 PM

Someone asks: How did I get 40 mpg (US) from an '89 Honda Accord?

Someone PM'd me recently asking how I managed to squeeze 40 mpg (summer time) from my old 5-speed Accord (above).

Background, from The EPA vs the EX (and the V8): beating the ratings -


According (pardon the pun) to, my car, a 1989 4-door, 5-speed, with a carbureted engine, is rated at 27/34 mpg (US) city/highway (8.7/6.9 L/100km, 32.4/40.8 mpg IMP).

In summertime highway driving, I regularly got 40 mpg US (5.9 L/100km, or 48 mpg IMP).

That's beating the highway EPA estimate by 18%.
Keep in mind a couple of things:
  • those are the old (higher) EPA ratings for the car.
  • where I used to be happy to exceed EPA by 18%, those were the days before I really got into eco-driving (a lack of fuel consumption instrumentation probably played a role there). Fact is, 18% can be left in the dust if you really want to.
  • the car was essentially un-moddified, other than keeping it in top shape with tires at sidewall max pressure, lightweight (but less aero) VX rims, and synthetic in the engine & tranny.
So the answer to the question: driving technique.

- I kept the speed down. Never sped in the city/rural roads, and used to set the cruise control at 90-95 km/h on the freeway

- I used engine-off coasting

- And generally did the normal good stuff (timing lights, driving without brakes, etc.)

One thing though: I never calibrated the speedo/odo on this car. (I could ask the current owner - I still see it around my parents' town. The guy who bought it from me has about 420,000 km on it now...)

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