Fuel economy beaten by the cold

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cold weather affects fuel economy 

I was reading a blog from autobloggreen that covered the effects of cold weather on the fuel economy in hybrid cars.  The tests that were done showed weather and/or climate could dramatically lower the fuel economy, sometimes by 5-10 mpg in cold weather areas.

Now, like most people, I know there are a variety of factors that can affect fuel economy (driving style, gasoline quality, fuel additives or lack thereof, maintenance, road conditions, traffic, weather, etc.), but in reading that blog I realized weather is one of those I don’t tend to factor in.  I know it’s not something new, but I just don’t usually consider it when I’m driving.

Maybe it’s because I live in Southern California and we don’t usually have any dramatic cold weather like the Pacific Northwest or back East, but I just haven’t thought about it much.  If I lived in a colder climate area, it would probably be something I’d factor in when I was deciding what car to buy and looking at the fuel economy estimates.  But let’s be honest here…I’m not living where I am based on fuel economy.

However, if you do happen to live in a colder climate area, I would recommend factoring in the cold weather if you want a car that gets good fuel economy.  Don’t factor that in and you aren’t going to get a clear picture of your car’s potential.  A hybrid might be a good cold weather car, because if fuel economy on a hybrid were to drop by 5-10 mpg in colder weather, it would probably still get better mileage than many other cars.

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