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Hi Folks,

I just got back from my first major trip in my new '01 SS LX. The van was everything I expected. It ran well, was adaquately comfortable and provided the utility I've needed for a number of years now.

My main reason for posting this is to give a report on the kind of mileage the Ody delivered vs the octane fuel being used. Considering the number of discussions I've read in this forum speculating whether or not a higher octane fuel would improve fuel mileage, I decided to put it to the test. Please understand that this isn't very scientific and it's also of a very short duration. There are "many" things in the world that can effect a vehicles fuel mileage so if anyone else tries this, they may get completely different results. I tried to take note of the general driving conditions experienced during each tank. My driving habits are relatively consistant on a trip like this (I'm a very religious cruise control user) so I feel that part helps.

The trip covered a total of 2,550 miles from Texas City, Tx. to Muncie, In. I drove the same route up and back. The car consumed a total of seven (7) tanks of fuel in the process. The first four were 87 octane regular and the final three were 91 octane premium. The statistics of each are as follows:

1. Texas City to Texarkana, TX.
343.0 miles, topped of 14.7 gallons of regular gas for a fuel consumption rate of 23.3 mpg. I took Hwy 146 to Dayton, Tx., Hwy 321 to Cleveland, Tx. and then Hwy 59 north to Texarkana. For those of you unfamiliar with Hwy 59, it runs through a "bunch" of small town in east Texas so the speed limits run from 35 to 70 mph. The country is hilly and I believe I was pushing a left quartering headwind on this leg.

2. Texarkana Tx. to Blythville, Ar.
332.2 miles, topped off 12.6 gallons of regular gas for a fuel consumption of 26.3 mpg. This was all interstate highway. I-30 to Little Rock, I-440 around the south end of town, I-40 to West Memphis, Ar. and I-55 north to Blythville. I was on the cruise control at 75 mph the entire distance. That quartering headwind I had on the first leg became a quartering tail wind on this leg and the mileage figure reflects that.

3. Blythville, Ar. to Indianapolis, In.
399.8 miles, topped off 15.8 galllons of regular gas for a fuel consumption of 25.3 mpg. Again, this was all interstate driving. Continued north on I-55 and turned right on I-57 up into central Illinois. Headed east on I-70 at Effingham, IL. and picked up a friend at Indianapolis airport after filling the car. I couldn't tell if there were any significant winds on this day. It was pretty much calm.

4. Indianapolis to Muncie, IN.
286.3 miles, topped off 14.3 gallons of premium gas for a fuel mileage of 20.0 mpg. We spent the night in Carmel, In. at my friends in-laws house and then made our way over to Muncie the next day. The remainder of this tank was used commuting around Muncie for the next 4.5 days so it was entirely city driving except for the first 80 miles or so getting between Carmel and Muncie.

5. Muncie, In. to Charleston, Mo.
419.7 miles, topped off 16.2 gallons of premium fuel for a consumption rate of 25.9 mpg. This is the first tank of premium gas. It included driving from Muncie back to Carmel where we spent the night and I dropped my friend off at the airport before heading west on I-70. There was a modest north wind that day so I pretty much had a 90 degree cross wind while on I-70 that became a nice tail wind once I turned south on I-57 in Illinois. The low fuel light was on for between 50 and 60 miles on this one. The guage never indicated below the "E" line at any time on this trip. I continued down the road back to Blythville and got a motel there.

6. Charlston, MO. to Texarkana, TX.
423.0 miles, topped off 17.3 gallons of premium for a consumption rate of 24.4 mpg. After getting up this morning, it was back on the interstate again. Winds were dead calm all morning as far as I could tell. I think I picked up a bit of a head wind once I was back on I-30 heading for Texarkana. As usual, cruise speeds were 75 mph on the cruise control.

7. Texarkana to Home
345.3 miles, topped off 13.9 gallons for a consumption rate of 24.8 mpg. I stayed on Hwy 59 through Houston this time and picked up I-45 south to home. I had a bit of a head wind on this leg but it was only noticable via any flags I happened to pass on the way.

Well, there you have it. Overall, I'm thilled with the fuel consumption of my Odyssey. As you may have noticed, there was no obvious increase or decrease in fuel consumption associated with what octane fuel I burned. Wind direction and strength played a much bigger role in the equation. You may be asking, how did it perform? The Odyssey performed great, for a relatively heavy minivan with a 3.5 L V-6.
I could tell absolutely NO improvement in performance while running the premium fuel and I did have the opportunity to test it while running the freeway on ramps and in one or two passing maneuvers. What I've gotten out of this is that I'll not waste my money on premium gas with this car. It simply doesn't make a notable difference. FWIW, fuel priced in Texas City are around $1.43/gal for regular. Add .20 cents to that for premium. The most expensive regular fuel I bought on the trip (after leaving home that is) was $1.29 and $1.23 was more the average. That tank I filled in Charleston, Mo. for premium was $1.29. Regular there was $1.09!!! It beats me how my home town with oil refineries right in our back yard has regular fuel prices pushing $1.50 and this little Missouri country town about eight miles south of Cairo, IL. is $1.09. There's just something not right about that.


Oh well!

Drive Safe,
Steve
 

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Steve,

Thanks for the report. I've been getting between 24-25 mpg too, sure beats the old pickup. $1.50/gal for regular? I would love to get that kind of deal out here on the west coast! We're still paying $1.79 for the cheap stuff and about $2.01 for the premium. NOW, that's not right!
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DTKWOK:
Steve,

Thanks for the report. I've been getting between 24-25 mpg too, sure beats the old pickup. $1.50/gal for regular? I would love to get that kind of deal out here on the west coast! We're still paying $1.79 for the cheap stuff and about $2.01 for the premium. NOW, that's not right!
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You're welcome!


I guess the fuel prices are relative, aren't they? I was in California in 1999 before all of the more recent price increases and spent the night in Bridgeport, just north of the eastern entrance to Yosemite. Regular fuel prices there were $1.99 back when most of California was running around $1.60 and here at home, we were still paying in the neighborhood of $1.05. We were happy we didn't need fuel at that time.


Drive Safe,
Steve
 

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Get yourself to Costco-they are charging $1.54/gal for regular and $1.66 for premium. I had been paying around $2/gal at the local Mobil station until my wife came back from her Costco trip and told me about the prices. Of course, there was a 20-30 min. line, but for 40 cents off the usual cost per gallon, I guess I'll read a book or kick out the jams in our new Ody while waiting in line.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DTKWOK:
Steve,

Thanks for the report. I've been getting between 24-25 mpg too, sure beats the old pickup. $1.50/gal for regular? I would love to get that kind of deal out here on the west coast! We're still paying $1.79 for the cheap stuff and about $2.01 for the premium. NOW, that's not right!
</font>
 

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Our first road trip in our '01 EX was from Atlanta to Dauphin Island, Alabama (south of Mobile). We totaled about 990 miles, mostly interstate with some secondary highway mileage and "in-town" driving mixed in. We averaged 22.65 mpg, with a high of 24.45 on the southward trip (practically all interstate). I'm not sure the engine is completely broken in (it had about 1,000 miles on it when we left) and I'm sure the speeds at which I was driving (almost legal) didn't really enhance my fuel economy. Not bad, but I'm hoping for better. Unfortunately, this vehicle is going to be used mostly for short trips to work and back, so I don't expect to see 20+ again for a while.

BTW, I'm not putting anything but regular in it, at least for now. Just can't see paying the extra for premium. Last time I filled up here in the Atlanta area I paid $1.099 at Quik Trip. That's about a nickel less than many stations are averaging around here.

Paul

[This message has been edited by pmueller78 (edited 07-21-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #6
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by pmueller78:
We totaled about 990 miles, mostly interstate with some secondary highway mileage and "in-town" driving mixed in. We averaged 22.65 mpg, with a high of 24.45 on the southward trip (practically all interstate). I'm not sure the engine is completely broken in (it had about 1,000 miles on it when we left) and I'm sure the speeds at which I was driving (almost legal) didn't really enhance my fuel economy. Not bad, but I'm hoping for better. Unfortunately, this vehicle is going to be used mostly for short trips to work and back, so I don't expect to see 20+ again for a while.

BTW, I'm not putting anything but regular in it, at least for now. Just can't see paying the extra for premium. Last time I filled up here in the Atlanta area I paid $1.099 at Quik Trip. That's about a nickel less than many stations are averaging around here.

Paul
[This message has been edited by pmueller78 (edited 07-21-2001).]
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Hi Paul,

That 22.65 tank of mixed driving doesn't sound that far out of line. As I mentioned in my post at the top of this discussion (BTW, I started that trip with 1024 miles on the odometer), my first tank was just over 23 mpg which also seemed low to me at the time but it was pretty much a mix of highway and city driving. As for the highway mileage at 24+, I found that it didn't take much of a headwind to push the car under the 25 mpg highway EPA estimate and I don't find that surprising for a minivan. Let's face it, they're not the most aerodynamic vehicles on the road.

I hope you do better in your local driving that you're anticipating. I generally run around a 70/30 split (city/highway) in my local driving and the lowest tank I've seen so far is 18.8 mpg. Most of my tanks have been in the low 20's which is better than I expected. I try to be conservative while accelerating by being light enough on the gas that the transmission shifts our of first gear at around 2000 rpm. It doesn't take much more pressure on the gas peddle to run it up to 3000 to 3500 rpm. The Ody is capable of getting pretty good fuel economy as long as your conservative with it. It's pretty much up to you or whoever does most of the driving.

Good luck & Drive Safe,
Steve
 

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I was wondering how much luggage or extra baggage you were carring? My wife, brother and sister in-law and our 4 month old just drove from baltimore to myrtle beach, sc and we got just under 20mpg. We had some luggage up top and the van looked noticeably weighted down in the back. thanks in advance.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by cjl1816:
I was wondering how much luggage or extra baggage you were carring? My wife, brother and sister in-law and our 4 month old just drove from baltimore to myrtle beach, sc and we got just under 20mpg. We had some luggage up top and the van looked noticeably weighted down in the back. thanks in advance.</font>
Hi CJ11816,

I was carrying about 350 lbs of equipment and luggage. That's a not particularly heavy load for this van, certainly less than what you were carrying. A couple of questions come to mind based on your description.

1. How big was that load you had mounted on the top of the van? Was the luggage simply strapped on top or was it in some king of carrier? If all you did was strap suit cases on top, the aerodynamics would have been horrible. Add in a bit of a head wind and 70+ mph cruise speeds and I don't doubt you got some pretty lousy fuel mileage.

2. I've noticed it doesn't take much to get the rear suspension to squat a bit. Aside from some kind of air lift assistance, I'm not sure what you can do about it. Something else that comes to mind is; what air pressures were you running in the tires at the time? It sounds like you did have a healthy load on the Ody and keeping the tires at the max (35 psi cold) recommended pressures wouldn't have hurt anything. It might also help that squatting look you mention, assuming you were a little low in the first place. If not, I'm not sure what to tell you.

From my own experience, driving a vehicle relatively empty vs relatively loaded doesn't make that big a difference in fuel mileage. Yes, you will take a hit because it's harder to accelerate but once you're at speed, the difference in power required to hold that speed isn't that much. At least I don't think it would account for the 4 to 5 mpg difference between what I reported and what you got on your trip.

My bet would be on the difference in wind resistence with that load mounted on the luggage rack.

FWIW,
Drive Safe,
Steve
 
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