Fuel economy, which is how far a particular car will go on a gallon of fuel when driving in the city or on the highway, is almost always an important consideration when purchasing a vehicle. However, while the car you buy might have an impressive fuel economy, it is important to understand the effect that your driving and vehicle maintenance can have on it. The following are the key things you should know about fuel economy.
The average person drives around 20,000 miles each year. If you consider the price of gas, or diesel if you’re so inclined, opting for a vehicle that offers only 10 mpg more than your current vehicle could save you hundreds of dollars each year. If you’re one of those who purchases a large SUV based on a once a year vacation, it might be a better option for you to purchase based on your normal driving and simply rent the SUV when it’s time to hit the road for vacation – the savings at the pump will more than make up for it.
If you’re one of those who is always determined to be the first off the line when the light turns green, you are lowering your vehicle’s fuel economy. In some cases, heavy acceleration can result in up to 33 percent more fuel consumption when driving at highway speeds and at least 5 percent in the city.
The Idling Myth
The idea that idling uses less fuel than starting the vehicle is a tenacious myth. Today’s engines use less fuel at startup, while excessive idling consumes even more. All that time spent idling rather than simply restarting the car can drastically lower your fuel economy and cost you hundreds each year when it’s time to fill up.
Any time you tow something with your vehicle, the added weight drastically lowers your gas mileage. Likewise, using the air conditioning, kicking on the four-wheel drive and even braking heavily can all have an impact on the fuel economy of a vehicle.
Making sure your vehicle is in good condition by having a basic inspection completed regularly will keep that fuel economy high. These maintenance inspections can locate potential problems before they become big ones, plus you can have the oil and filter changed at the same time.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Fuel Economy and was authored by Valerie Johnston.