Fuel For Thought

What You Should Know:

The EPA uses standardized testing methods for all vehicle manufacturers in each vehicle classification (Car, Truck, Crossover, SUV, etc.).

The test are designed to reflect typical driving conditions and driver behavior, but several factors can affect MGG:

  • How and where you drive
  • Engine Break-In
  • Fuel Variations
  • Vehicle Conditions and Maintenance
  • Vehicle Variations

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website, fueleconomy.com, EPA ratings are useful tools for comparing the fuel economics of different vehicles but may not accurately predict the average MPG drivers will get.

MPG Ratings

EPA fuel ratings are estimates typically based on engine drive type (FWD, RWD, AWD, etc.) and transmission combinations.

Break-In Period

Fuel Economy is best measured after 3,000 to 5,000 miles according to the DOE.

Driving Style

Chill Out:

Aggressive driving wastes fuel. The DOE reports that aggressive driving can lower gas millage by a whopping 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent in the city. Keep your cool and aim for smooth acceleration and braking.


Consider this: at speeds over 50 mph, your vehicle uses more fuel than it does at 40 mph. That’s pretty simple to understand. But did you know that going form 55 to 65 increase fuel consumption 10-15 percent and increasing your speed form 50 mph to 75 mph increases consumption 25 percent. So, be sure to obey all posted speed limits and keep your speed in check.

Cruise Control:

1. It controls your maximum speed.
2. It helps maintain constant speed, so you won’t be pumping extra fuel into your engine.

Fuel Factors

Fuel Smart:

Be weather wise. The DOE advises that winter fuel contains about 1.7 percent less energy that summer fuel, so if you live where it gets cold in the winter, the fuel blend you’re using can affect fuel economy.

People Count:

Of course, cars were invented to move us around, but keep in mind if you are carrying five 250 pound football players at all times, that expends more fuel than Grandma and her poodle.

Travel Light:

Do you need to lug all that cargo? The DOE also estimates that an extra 100 pounds of cargo in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. Don’t carry unnecessary weight.


Minimize the use of heated seats, A/C defroster and other power-drawing accessories when not required.

Idle Less:

The DOE also advise that idling can burn a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the engine size and if the A/C is on.

Fuel Selection:

Check your fuel filler door or your owner’s manual and always use the recommended fuel type.

Gasoline station fuel pumps


Black Gold/Texas Tea:

Millage may be degraded by as much as 2 percent by not using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Villa Ford of Orange’s service technician can help you select the right grade to maximize fuel economy.

Maintain It:

Replacing fuel filters and air filters when recommended can help optimize fuel economy.


Get Inflated:

Properly inflated tires can help improve fuel economy.

Size Matters:

Upgrading to larger or rugged wheels and tires can increase weight and rolling resistance, affecting fuel economy.


Cargo Boxes:

The heavier the load, the more fuel will be expended.

Axel Ratio’s:

For trucks, capability is significantly influenced by the rear axel ratio. Even with identical engines, the rear axel ratio can affect payload and towing by thousands of pounds. keep in mind that as axel ratios go up, capability increase but real-world fuel economy tends to decrease.

It Goes Without Saying

Rooftop Cargo Carriers:

Surfboards, Kayaks and even bikes add weight and create wind resistance, impacting fuel economy.

Trailer Towing:

The height (wind resistance) and weight of a trailer impact fuel economy.


Hilly or mountainous areas or unpaved roads can reduce fuel economy.

Interested in learning more about fuel economy? Visit fueleconomy.gov.

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