Seasonal peaks and valleys aside, you can almost guarantee that the cost of gasoline will continue to rise as the years roll by. Advances in design have resulted in much more efficient vehicles. Your driving habits can also have a tremendous impact on how many km you can squeeze from a tankful of gas. Plus, your late model Honda has some clever tricks up its sleeve to help you with that.

Actually, there are a few things that you can do before you get underway that go some way to reducing your fuel consumption:

  • Make sure your car is in good running order. Following Honda’s recommended maintenance is the best way to ensure that your vehicle is operating at peak efficiency.
  • Reduce weight and bulk. Pack as lightly as you can and avoid carrying any unnecessary cargo. Are you using that rooftop carrier? If not, it is probably best stored in the garage until your next long distance trip. This will help reduce the aerodynamic load.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. One tire under inflated by only 2 PSI (about 14 KPA) increases fuel consumption by 1%.

How you drive can significantly affect your fuel consumption. Here are some guidelines to help reduce your visits to the pump:

  • Avoid hard acceleration and hard braking. Smoothness is the name of the game. Aggressive starts and stops gobble up a lot of fuel.
  • Watch your speed. We’re all eager to get we’re going a little sooner but aerodynamic drag increases quickly with rising speed.
  • Use cruise control when travelling longer distances. Maintaining a constant speed helps the engine run more efficiently.
  • Avoid long idles (anything more than a minute). It’s more efficient to re-start the car than to let it idle.
  • Keep your windows closed for better aerodynamics, especially at highway speeds.
  • Limit the use of your air conditioner (A/C) – it puts a considerable load on the engine. The defrost cycle typically uses the A/C in most vehicles. Do make use of your vehicle’s automatic climate control, if so equipped. (Think of it as cruise control for your heating and ventilation system.)

Your late model Honda can provide you with some additional help by way of its Eco Assist System. In most newer Hondas you’ll find an Econ button either to the left of the steering wheel or next to the shift lever. When you activate the Econ mode several functions are modulated:

  • Throttle response is softer in the middle range.
  • The transmission’s shift points are altered to favour efficiency over acceleration. Higher gear ratios are reached more quickly.
  • When cruise control is engaged the transmission won’t shift down as quickly. The vehicle may decrease in speed as you reach the crest of a hill.
  • The A/C is turned on and off more frequently.

Eco Assist System also features an ambient meter on the instrument panel. Colour coded bars change from white (or blue in some models) to green based on your style of driving. Fuel efficient driving results in a green light. This “reward” can help you to develop habits that enhance fuel economy.

Proper vehicle care, the use of Honda’s fuel saving aids, and an easy-does-it approach to driving can all work together to save you money. The environment will thank you too!