Here at Boost Performance Products, we talk a lot about boosting your car's, boat's, RV's and other machine's performance and fuel economy, but what is fuel economy exactly?
Miles per gallon (MPG). How far you can drive on one tank of gas. What it takes to run your car and power your engine. The exact cost of fueling your engine. There are many different ways we describe and measure fuel economy, and each of them is critical to understanding your engine and how miles per gallon can affect your life. Whether you’re shopping for a new car, selling a used car or simply looking to maximize your fuel economy, understanding true fuel economy is the first step to becoming a more informed car owner.
Car manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency both test cars by running them through a virtual course with a dynamometer to simulate driving. As the car goes through different paths and speeds the carbon emissions are measured through the exhaust pipe to determine how much fuel is burnt and used during regular driving. Not every single car is tested, so the numbers and information provided are sometimes estimates, but are scientifically acceptable. Originally just city and highway mileage was tested, but now the EPA is also testing for cold weather, air conditioning and high speed. The idea is to give you a more accurate picture of exactly what it takes to run your car.
Once your vehicle has been tested by the manufacturer and the EPA they will assign its Miles Per Gallon rating. Overall this number should provide a good assessment of the fuel economy of your vehicle. This number may not be completely, totally exact but it can be a really easy metric for comparing different vehicles. If you’re looking at two cars with similar value, mileage, wear and other features then the miles per gallon may be a deciding factor. More miles per gallon means less fuel and fewer dollars spent at the pump. If you’re a commuter then a miles per gallon rating might be a decision-making factor for you and even determine the types of cars you choose to test drive. You may not be shopping for a car, but you can look up the Miles per Gallon rating for your current vehicle and then watch your fuel usage for a week or two. Is your car measuring up? If not, it could be due to driving habits or other factors
Other Factors in Fuel Economy
Are you a lead foot? If you slam on that gas the second the light turns green you may be hurting your fuel economy. The same effect comes from hard braking. You can increase your fuel economy by coasting as much as possible and using gradual acceleration and braking. Excessive idling can also hurt your fuel economy, and can be bad for the environment, so avoid it as much as possible. Your engine is at it’s best fuel economy when it has appropriately warmed up, so if you live somewhere very cold and you take short trips where your car doesn’t have the time to warm up you may be hurting your fuel economy. Towing or carrying excessive cargo naturally affects your fuel economy because the engine has to work harder to propel more weight. Any kind of 4-wheel, unpaved or off-road driving makes your engine work a little harder, and therefore hurts your fuel economy, so avoid that whenever possible.
Increasing Fuel Economy
The first step is choosing the vehicle in your preference range with the best Miles per Gallon rating, even if it isn’t the last word on fuel economy. Starting with good fuel economy is the best choice. From there, practice careful and protective driving. Be easy on the brakes and gas. Combine trips and get your car at peak warmth for daily driving. Keep your car in top shape with regular check-ups and oil changes. You can even improve your fuel economy through fuel additives like Maxx CleanBoost which can help your fuel run cleaner and last longer, leading to much better fuel economy for your vehicle.