Be a Better MPG Driver
The most important factor impacting your car’s MPG is you.
Jackrabbit starts, accelerating toward stop lights, stretching the speed limit — we all do some of it sometimes, and they all take a real toll on gas mileage. It’s a fact: the faster you drive, the more fuel you burn. The Department of Energy estimates that aggressive driving lowers your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town.
On the other hand, cultivating mileage-minded driving habits can give your MPG a noticeable boost, which means you’ll spend less at the pump. Possibly much less.
Skeptical? Check out the video in the Resources section with a side-by-side test demonstrating that MPG-wise driving style can result in over 20% better fuel economy in mixed driving, 43% on the highway!
Learn the facts about how your driving can cost or save you money at FuelEconomy.gov.
Get some more facts about how your driving affects gas mileage.
Let’s see. According to the Department of Energy, each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an extra $0.16 per gallon for gas. Assuming gas costs $2.24 per gallon, reducing your speed by 10 mph can save $0.31 cents per gallon.
For every extra 100 pounds of stuff in your car, your MPG is reduced by about 1%
Those rooftop cargo containers also hurt your fuel economy by impacting the aerodynamic drag of your vehicle. They reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% at Interstate speeds (65 mph to 75 mph).
Tax Incentives for Electric Vehicles:
If you are in the market for a new vehicle already and are really interested in improving your fuel economy, consider an electric vehicle. Tax credits of up to $7500 may be available based on the capacity of the battery used to fuel the vehicle.
Should I warm-up my car in the winter?
No, warming up your car does not improve your gas mileage; it just wastes gas and increases pollution. You’re better off organizing your errands so you make one circular trip or take longer trips. This allows the car to warm-up and run efficiently. FuelEconomy.gov gives you the facts about how idling and other factors impact your MPG.
With a 4-wheel drive car, is driving in 4-wheel drive or 2-wheel drive better for fuel economy?
4-wheel drive reduces fuel economy; in fact, the fuel economy ratings are measured using 2-wheel drive (except, of course, on full-time all-wheel drive vehicles). Keep the car in 2-wheel drive for routine driving. Use 4-wheel drive during inclement weather or when on challenging terrain.
Does cruise control help save gas?
Yes, on the highway cruise control keeps the car at a constant speed and avoids random increases or decreases in speed, which can decrease miles per gallon.
How does idling my car affect gas mileage?
Idling your car for one minute wastes gas, increases pollution and can cost up to 2 cents a minute. Contrary to popular belief, you only use a few seconds’ worth of gas to start your car — so turn it off if you are going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds. Also, idling often occurs in parking lots and pick-up spots where children and others are present — creating unhealthy pollution for pedestrians and others that may be waiting nearby.
How do I improve my MPG in the cold and the heat?
Once temperatures drop below 20 degrees, a car’s gas mileage can decrease about 12%. However there are a few simple things you can do to improve this! Park your car somewhere warm so the engine and the inside of the car don’t get as cold. This decreases the amount of time needed to warm them up. If you drive a hybrid or electric car, preheat the cabin while it is plugged in and use seat warmers instead of the heater to help your MPG.
The summer heat can decrease your car’s MPG up to 25% due to the high usage of AC. Here are some simple tips that can help you improve this number. Before turning the AC on, drive with the windows down for a bit to let some of the hot air out. Rolling down the windows at lowers speeds is better than using AC, however on the highways its better to use AC. If you drive a hybrid or electric car it is better to use the AC while the car is still plugged into the charger. This will increase the car’s range