How the Econ Button Works on a New Honda

When it comes to making sustainable vehicles, automakers face a dilemma. On the one hand, consumers are increasingly less willing to buy cars with low levels of fuel efficiency. On the other, raising fuel economy standards often requires compromising performance. Honda's new Econ button evades this problem by allowing users to switch between sustainable and high-performance modes. Available on most models, it captures the best of both worlds for Honda users.

Econ Button Evaluation

When you press the Econ button, the car switches to a setting that saves energy, improving fuel efficiency by one to two miles per gallon. It does this by modifying the following features:

  • Throttle Response- In order to reduce fuel consumption during acceleration, the throttle slows the rate at which your vehicle increases in speed. It does not affect acceleration from very high or very low speeds, confining its impact to the middle range.
  • Cruise Control- If your vehicle is on cruise control, the Econ mode limits its ability to shift down gear. This may slow the car down when climbing up an incline, but it yields significant reductions in energy use.
  • Air Conditioning- The Econ button causes the air conditioner to switch off more frequently and blow more slowly, thereby using only the minimum amount of fuel necessary to cool the cabin. This limits the rate at which a hot cabin becomes cooler, but has minimal impact once the cabin is already cool.
  • Transmission- The Econ button alters the shift points for your transmission, distributing power more efficiently throughout the car.
By activating and deactivating these features, the Econ button empowers you to balance performance and sustainability as you see fit. Based on the price of fuel, your performance needs, and your concern for the environment, you can decide when and how often to use it.

Are there any downsides to the Econ button?

In general, the Econ button lets you save energy while still maintaining a high level of performance. You should limit its use in some situations, however, such as:

  • On Very Hot Days- If outside temperatures are high and the vehicle has yet to cool off, you may want to leave the Econ button off for the first few minutes. Cooling down the car quickly is important, as excess heat not only makes the car uncomfortable, but can also be bad for your health.
  • When Entering The Highway- Given its effect on acceleration, the Econ button may put you at risk when merging onto a crowded, high-speed highway. Turn it off until you have merged successfully and reached a safe speed.
  • On Dangerous Roads- If you're climbing up a steep hill or navigating a twisting road, you should maintain full control over your vehicle's acceleration.