How To Improve Honda Pilot Gas Mileage? (Read This First!)

The Honda Pilot is the largest SUV offered by Honda and was first introduced to the market back in the 2003 model year.

It is still in production currently, having reached its third generation, which began in the 2016 model year.

Though it was an early arrival offering three seating rows as standard in an SUV, it now faces much competition in its category.

This article answers the question “How To Improve Honda Pilot Gas Mileage?”…

How To Improve Honda Pilot Gas Mileage?

Habits like smoother driving, slowing down, not using the gas or brake too sharply, reducing the load, keeping up with maintenance, choosing the right kind of engine oil and more all can make the Honda Pilot go further.

There are a number of things that one can do to improve gas mileage in their Honda Pilot.

None of the tips or practices needed to boost gas mileage require major mechanical modifications or other changes to the car, but rather to the driver’s own behavior.

Tips, Tricks, Recommendations, And Good Practices

There are several great tips, tricks, and good practices/habits that you can quickly adopt in order to boost the gas mileage of your Honda Pilot.

1. Keep Driving Smooth

In a Honda Pilot, when you apply the gas pedal sharply, followed by equally sharp braking as you approach a stop sign or a car in front, you increase wear and tear on the car, but you also reduce gas mileage.

Most gas is wasted during low-gear-ratio acceleration. If you can drive at a smoother pace, then you won’t be pushing the gas pedal down so harshly and thus using more fuel.

A smooth cruising speed with incremental slowing that doesn’t require you to always be flooring the gas pedal is the key to extending gas mileage.

2. Slow Down

Reducing your overall speed will also contribute to greater gas mileage. Many vehicles have an optimum cruising speed, usually between 50 and 60mph.

If you can maintain a steady speed that means you’re not pushing down on the accelerator all the time, you’ll save gas.

3. Don’t Overload The Car

Next, the heavier the Honda Pilot is, the harder the engine has to work to get it from A to B, especially if you drive in a place with slopes and hills.

Clear out all unwanted and unneeded gear from the trunk and back seat and don’t leave heavy objects sitting in the car that you don’t need on a daily basis.

4. Turn Off The Engine When Idling For More Than 1 Minute

When you’re in traffic and you can see you’ll be idling for more than a full minute, then switch off the engine.

Constantly switching it on and off for shortstops is not good, but when you’re idle will be extended, switching off is a net benefit.

This is a great way to conserve fuel and ensure your Honda Pilot lasts longer on the road.

5. Keep Up With Maintenance

Missing maintenance milestones is a great way to reduce gas mileage, and therefore keeping up with them at least maintains mileage, and when combined with other steps can see it increase.

Make timely oil changes, as well as air, fuel, and oil filters.

You should also ensure that components like belts and hoses are all working as they should be.

When these individual components go wrong, they create a knock-on effect that leads to the engine having to work harder and thus use up more fuel.

6. Choose The Right Engine Oil

Getting the right kind of engine oil is a great way to boost gas mileage.

The engine is better lubricated and cooled, and thus doesn’t have to always compensate with more power.

Some great choices for the Honda Pilot, in particular, include Amsoil Signature Series 5W-30 synthetic motor oil, Honda Genuine Full Synthetic Oil, and Castrol EDGE High Mileage 5W-30.

These tend to have the best protective effect on the engine, as well as a little boost in mileage.

7. Rotate And Maintain Tires

Finally, ensure that your tires are properly rotated and maintained, which means switching them when the right time comes.

Ensure that you are not unnecessarily driving on high-traction winter tires, because they will reduce your gas mileage, and always ensure that you are driving on tires with the correct pressure.

Are Honda Pilots Good On Gas Compared To The Competition?

The 2021 model of the Honda Pilot performs relatively well when it comes to gas mileage. It gets 20 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.

Here’s how that compares to some competing three-row SUV models.

VehicleMPG (city)MPG (highway)
2021 Kia Telluride2026
2021 Ford Expedition1723
2021 Chevrolet Traverse1827
2021 Hyundai Palisade1926
2021 Chevrolet Suburban1620
2021 Kia Sorento2429
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe1620
2021 Mazda CX-92228

As you can see, it holds up well against similar models in its class. The city rating isn’t as good as some of the Kia and Mazda models, but it holds a decent level.

The above stats are for the 2WD model, the 4WD model of the Pilot gets 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway.

What Is Low And High Mileage For A Honda Pilot?

Low mileage should be considered both for the city and the highway. If the Honda Pilot doesn’t get 20 MPG in the city, then it’s getting low less-than-optimum mileage.

If the Honda Pilot doesn’t get more than 27 MPG on the highway, then it is not getting decent mileage.

If it can exceed the 20/27 MPG city/highway numbers, then it is getting high mileage.

What Can Cause The Gas Mileage To Go Down Fast?

Engaging 4WD can reduce overall gas mileage, as can a driving pattern involving constant hard acceleration followed by harsh braking.

This also increases wear and tear on the key components of the vehicle.

Driving your Honda Pilot on improperly inflated tires will also reduce gas mileage fast because it adds unwanted traction and forces the engine to work harder to compensate.

Other faults that reduce gas mileage include bad fuel injectors, oil in need of changing, bad oxygen sensors, faulty spark plugs, and more.

Keeping up with maintenance at the right times is crucial, especially changing your oil and filters.

Bad, dirty, and contaminated engine oil will be one of the biggest factors behind quickly losing gas mileage in your Honda Pilot.

Finally, if you idle in the car for long periods while in traffic, you’ll burn through up to half a gallon of fuel per hour, and perhaps more in an SUV like the Honda Pilot.

Does A Full Tank Get Better Mileage?

No, it doesn’t. When you fill up your Honda Pilot or any vehicle with gas, you are also adding weight to it.

A gallon of gas weighs about 8.3lbs. That’s an extra 160lbs of gasoline in a 19.5-gallon Honda Pilot gas tank.

More weight will slightly reduce your gas mileage. Having an absolutely full tank should mean that you are not getting optimum fuel efficiency.

What Speed Is More Fuel Efficient?

According to many automotive expert bodies, the best speed for the Honda Pilot and just about any car is between 55 and 65 MPH.

This cruising speed means less acceleration, and when kept steady should deliver the best fuel efficiency numbers.

What Model And Year Honda Pilot Has The Best Mileage?

The Honda Pilot model history goes back to 2003. Below are the various mpg ratings that you can expect to find on all Honda Pilot Models:

Honda Pilot Model YearMPG (city)MPG (highway)MPG (Combined)
2006 (2WD/4WD)16/1522/2018/17
2007 (2WD/4WD)16/1522/2018/17
2008 (2WD/4WD)16/1522/2018/17
2009 (2WD/4WD)17/1623/2219/18
2010 (2WD/4WD)17/1623/2219/18
2011 (2WD/4WD)17/1623/2219/18
2012 (2WD/4WD)18/1725/2420/20
2013 (2WD/4WD)18/1725/2420/20
2014 (2WD/4WD)18/1725/2420/20
2015 (2WD/4WD)18/1725/2420/20
2016 (2WD/4WD)20/1927/2623/22
2017 (2WD/4WD)20/1927/2623/22
2018 (2WD/4WD)20/1927/2623/22
2019 (2WD/4WD)20/1927/2623/22
2020 (2WD/4WD)20/1927/2623/22
2021 (2WD/4WD)20/1927/2623/22

From this data, we can see that the Honda Pilot with the best gas mileage is the third-generation model starting in 2016.

The 2WD Honda Pilot gets the best gas mileage overall in every model year that offers both.

Do Bad Spark Plugs Affect Fuel Economy?

Yes, bad spark plugs will affect many aspects of performance, including fuel economy. When the spark plug is unable to fire properly to ignite the air and fuel mixture.

This will cause more fuel to be brought in to try and compensate for this apparent lack of power.

According to experts, bad spark plugs can reduce fuel economy in a car by as much as 30 percent.

If you are driving your Honda Pilot or other vehicle and suddenly experience a sharp drop in mileage, as well as sluggish acceleration and generally poor performance, then faulty spark plugs causing misfires could be the culprit.

Does A Bad Fuel Filter Affect Fuel Economy?

Yes, a bad fuel filter can have a drastic effect on mileage.

In fact, these kinds of problems in the fuel system are among the most common reasons that gas mileage is reduced.

A bad filter creates improper fuel flow, which can cause the system to try and bring more fuel in to compensate for a shortage.

It is typically combined with fuel injector problems.

It should be noted that replacing the fuel filter will not increase your gas mileage, but rather will restore your gas mileage back to its proper levels as tested by the EPA or other agencies.