Fuel Economy: Learn what affects your MPG

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fuel economy and mpg 

Image by jeffwilcox

If you go onto any car lot you’ll find the estimated MPG right on the price sticker of each car.  Some people even use the MPG to help determine whether or not they want to buy that particular car – eg will it give them the fuel economy they are looking for or will it end up costing them more in the long run?

While it is wise to know the estimated MPG of your car – our Chevy calculates it for us, so we can see it at the touch of a button – did you know the WAY you drive can have a dramatic impact on your MPG?

Everyone has a different style of driving, but some common factors that affect MPG include:

  • Accelerating quickly or breaking heavily – doing that can actually reduce your fuel economy by up to 33% on the highway.
  • Driving at higher speeds – apparently new EPA tests account for drag up to 80mph, but for those who exceed that speed (and you know who you are), you are actually lowering your MPG.
  • Making frequent short trips, especially in cold weather – since your engine doesn’t operate as efficiently until warmed up, it is wiser to combine all your trips into one, in order to maximize your fuel economy.
  • Limiting your use of accessories (such as the A/C) – running your air conditioner on maximum can reduce MPG between 5-25%.  Now not that many people I know run their air conditioner on maximum when driving, but it gives you an idea as compared to not using it.

For a fairly complete list of factors, you can go to fueleconomy.gov.  

So the next time you go for a drive, factor in how your style of driving is affecting your MPG and see what you can do to help improve it.  Then, remember to use the proper octane of gasoline, use an effective fuel additive and get your car tuned up regularly, as those too can affect your fuel economy.  Well, there’s the information, the rest is up to you.

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