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  • avatar morin2 03/01/13 6:52 pm PST

    I agree with the use of Chevron Techron. It goes on sale fairly often at the autoparts stores, and I stock up when it is "buy 1, get 1 free".

    The Pilot is a heavy shoebox shape that has high wind resistance - that increases with speed. Slowing down on the highway and coasting whenever possible will help.

    I have no in-state access to good ethanol-free fuel. But when I travel, I use ethanol-free if it is available in the states I pass through. The website www.pure-gas.org lists stations selling ethanol-free fuel. I get 5-10% better fuel economy with ethanol-free fuel, and better performance. That, along with the knowledge that my purchases are not assisting the price increases in our food supply, or the pollution of my beloved Chesapeake Bay by the fertilization of corn crops used to make ethanol, are bonuses.
    Perhaps if your husband does political humor, the use of ethanol-free fuel could lead to some new material about how corrupt politicians benefit an industry with our tax dollars to produce a fuel that is worse for our cars, increases pollution, and diverts corn from the food supply. I suppose there is no shortage of material for a comic with this Congress.

Answers

  • texases 03/01/13 5:55 pm PST

    How long have you had it? Did it used to get better mpgs? Have you done the maintenance listed in the owners manual?

    I'd stay away from 'engine clean or a motor vac', most all of these are a waste of money. I would go to Walmart and get a large bottle of Techron and put it in the gas tank, it might help clean up the injectors. And I would make sure the tires are correctly inflated (check them 1st thing in the morning with a good tire gauge, the correct pressure is listed on a sticker on the door jamb or in the glove box).

    17 mpg is not real bad, the EPA estimates are 15 city, 20 highway, and the average reported is 17 mpg.

    To do much better will require a different vehicle.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 03/01/13 6:22 pm PST

    That's close to "as good as it gets" with a 2003 Pilot.


    As texases suggests, dose it with Techron, check tire pressure, and stay in the speed limit---and avoid using AC if you can. That's about it.

    If you haven't changed your air filter in a long, long time, and if it was really clogged, that might help, too, to change that for a new one.

    But even all these suggestions only might lead to minor gains---driving habits is the biggest factor.

  • morin2 03/01/13 6:52 pm PST

    I agree with the use of Chevron Techron. It goes on sale fairly often at the autoparts stores, and I stock up when it is "buy 1, get 1 free".

    The Pilot is a heavy shoebox shape that has high wind resistance - that increases with speed. Slowing down on the highway and coasting whenever possible will help.

    I have no in-state access to good ethanol-free fuel. But when I travel, I use ethanol-free if it is available in the states I pass through. The website www.pure-gas.org lists stations selling ethanol-free fuel. I get 5-10% better fuel economy with ethanol-free fuel, and better performance. That, along with the knowledge that my purchases are not assisting the price increases in our food supply, or the pollution of my beloved Chesapeake Bay by the fertilization of corn crops used to make ethanol, are bonuses.
    Perhaps if your husband does political humor, the use of ethanol-free fuel could lead to some new material about how corrupt politicians benefit an industry with our tax dollars to produce a fuel that is worse for our cars, increases pollution, and diverts corn from the food supply. I suppose there is no shortage of material for a comic with this Congress.

  • gramathielen 03/02/13 5:21 am PST

    We bought the Pilot new in 2003. That was long before gas got so expensive. We calculated how much longer it would take to get where we're going by going 60 instead of 75. Since we drive sometimes more than 1000 miles as you can imagine 3 hours is a lot of extra time. Especially when your old and don't have that much time left. HaHa. We have done regular maintenance on it and recently changed the filter. Guess we'll try the Techron and see if that helps. Thanks for all your suggestions. I didn't really like the one about getting a different vehicle because that's what my husband wants to do and I love that car. We've had soooo little problems with it and it's very comfortable to drive and ride in. But thanks anyway.

  • morin2 03/02/13 9:42 am PST

    Thanks for returning to provide additional information. I think now it is obvious that the speed is likely the primary reason for the less than optimal fuel economy. Your mathematical approach to the problem is sound but it doesn't help you to save gas money. You have many pluses on one side of the equation and only the fuel economy as a minus, so that is the trade-off.

    Saving 3 hours might be worth the additional fuel cost. I always compare the cost of a flight to the number of stops and duration between destinations, and I'm willing to pay more for a direct flight, with the amount I'm willing to pay a function of the time saved.

    You will not hurt the Pilot by continuing to drive at 75 rather than 60. You can still accelerate gently to your desired speed, and decelerate by coasting as much as possible. The shape and weight of the vehicle will limit any fuel savings.

    Most vehicles operate at best fuel efficiency at much lower speeds - say 45 to 55 mph. On many highways, you would be run over if you drove at those speeds.

    Do look for ethanol-free fuel - it is easy to find in the South and Southeast.

    Happy trails.

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