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Washington DC City Driving

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Hello everyone! I'm new to the board and a new owner of a 2002 5spd Insight. I've got about 1700 miles on the car so far, and have followed all of the driving techniques on this wonderful site. My commute is about 11 miles each way, often in stop and go traffic, and with many lights. I have "only" been averaging about 42 mpg to this point, and it's getting a little frustrating. Benjamin of InsightCentral says that I shouldn't be worried until the break-in period is over - before 3,000-5,000 miles in his experience, the car just gets whatever mpg it wants without regard for the driver's actions. I was just wondering what advice others might have for me, as well. I put 45psi all around about 3 months ago, so I guess I should check the current pressure, but I noticed someone on the lifetime database lives in the DC area and has an average of 69! I'd like to get a lot closer to that, so any advice regarding city driving in a 5 spd would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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· Registered
49 Posts
I drive a bit in NYC as I live in the Bronx during the week. It is difficult to get great mileage if I drive in the city w/o having been on the expressway warming it up a bit. The thing that I find works the best is anticipating red lights and then drifting in nuetral, hopefully timing it to where you don't have to come to a complete stop. Many of the lights are timed here atleast during peak traffic so that helps. Try reseting your trip mileage recording each day and studying every detail. Also make sure that you get your car to auto stop as much as possible.

· Registered
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Washington DC Driving

I actually got in the low 50's going home yesterday, and 50 coming in to work today. Perhaps it's still just a question of really understanding how to drive this car? Thanks for all your help!

· Registered
2000 Citrus manual Insight
563 Posts
Where in DC do you drive? I got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on route 15, then route 7 in and around Leesburg going to Sterling the other day, and I got 51MPG, by far the worst I have ever gotten on that drive. I drive from Martinsburg, WV to Sterling, Va to work, and usually get between 63 and 75MPG, depending on how fast I feel like driving, so a lot of stop and go really kills the mileage. The more you stop, the more the MPG is going to drop. By the way, I have a 2002 5 speed, just discovered this site, and just started playing with the tire pressure.

· Premium Member
2000 Silver M/T
1,320 Posts
I've only had my car 3 weeks, and I've almost got 1700 miles on it, hehe.
I'm certainly no veteran insight owner yet and my lifetime is only 57.5, but I'll give you my tips anyway.

I accelerate REAL slowly until I achive my desired speed.
I read alot of people recommend a quick acceleration to take
full advantage of the electric assist, but my thinking tells me that
I'll loose more in the gas consumption than I'll gain with the electric assist.
besides, I've tried both approaches on an identical route and achived a better MPG driving in granny mode.
I can't rule out the fact that I may simply not know what the hell I'm doing yet though.

when slowing down for a stop I leave it in gear and apply just enough
break pressure to receive maximum battery rejuvenation, sometimes downshifting so I can suck every last drop of juice.
When the recharging stops (around 2k rpm) I break quickly until I'm
under 20mph , toss the gear into neutral, and press the break ever so gently so that the engine auto stop is enabled, but not hard enough to loose any significant acceleration.
I also never drive with the windows down, as to maintain my airodynamicity. (is that a real word?) :wink:

ah, and some other factors I noticed and this may just be because
I'm a little strange but here goes anyway:
My radio station has a big factor in the way I drive.
I notice that if I'm listening to fast or aggressive music it has a drastic
effect on the way I drive. Rap rock and metal are very bad, and cause
me to throw my MPG's out the window.
Drove home listening the first Van Halen album 2 nights ago, and I sank down a few MPG's.
If I listen to NPR, or classical music my mind becomes more focused on the task at hand (more MPG's).
Also, having a passenger is terrible distraction on top of extra unnecessary weight gain. Took a friend to lunch last week, and I had to listen to two days of bach to gain back my MPG!

· Registered
2,341 Posts
All things considered I'd say your doing alright. There is a real breakin on the car. After your second oil change (and I do recommend you do your first at the 3750 mile interval at least) it's like a whole new car. I've got 14,000 on mine and it seems to just be getting nicely seated in.

Harder acceleration does work under some circumstances, it really depends. The theory is you accelerate and just burn the fuel and get it in to lean burn as quickly as possible, which will cancel out the extra used to get to the speed quickly. However, you don't pass that point in heavy traffic.

For regenerative braking what I do which works pretty well is to tap the brake while in 5th and slow down to around 40, down shift to 2nd and ride that till 19mph and hit the clutch to engage auto stop. Coasting in on that 19mph or slower can take you a long way with the Insight's low rolling resistence and can raise your mileage a few. Also, if the rpm's get too low in a gear it will come out of fuel cut to keep the engine going, you can observe this on the fcd gague so you will want to down shift for maximum fuel economy. 5th down to 2nd works great. You'll have to play with watching the fcd for this.

As far as the windows, in the city I don't notice much of a difference, naturally I would expect it to make a huge difference on the highway. Maybe I just like having the windows down so people can ask questions if they want to.

I agree with the music vs mileage. It's easy to slip your foot in to the pedal a lot more. Over time you can train your foot to not go in to it more with more aggressive music, but sometimes it's hard to do.
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