The price of fuel has been on the rise recently, leaving many drivers struggling to fill their tanks. Whether you drive a fancy sports car, a roomy SUV or a practical minivan, getting the best mileage you can is very important.
That is why you drive carefully, avoiding jackrabbit starts and sudden stops. It is why you combine your errands and limit your driving to essential trips. It is why you clean out your trunk and limit the amount of weight your vehicle carries. But no matter how carefully you drive, there is only so much you can do to improve its mileage.
Calculating Your MPG
Tracking the number of miles your vehicle travels between fill-ups is one of the most important things you can do, since a sudden drop in mileage could indicate a looming problem. If your MPG drops without explanation, you could have issues with your fuel system – issues that could cost you a lot of money in repair costs if not swiftly addressed.
Calculating your miles per gallon is an easy thing to do, so there is no reason not to track this important number. To calculate your MPG, just reset your trip counter to zero the next time you fuel up. Then drive as you normally would, taking the precautions outlined above.
When your fuel gauge drops, pull into the gas station and fill up. Avoid the temptation to overfill your tank, as doing so could cause a harmful spill. Once the fuel pump stops, note the number of gallons you have purchased, including the decimal places.
Checking Your Fuel Mileage
To calculate your fuel economy, simply divide the number of miles you drove by the number of gallons you just purchased. For instance, if you drove 300 miles and purchased 10 gallons of gas, your fuel economy would be 30 miles per gallon.
A number of things can impact your fuel economy, and that is why it is important to check the mileage over time. If you normally drive on the highway but spent the last few weeks shuttling the kids around town, you can expect your fuel economy to take a hit. Likewise, if you normally drive around town but just came back from a long road trip, you should see an uptick in your fuel mileage.
These variations on fuel economy are perfectly normal, but it is important to watch for unusual drops. If your fuel economy drops without explanation, it is important to have your vehicle inspected for fuel leaks and issues with the fuel line.