Use the Fuel Efficiency Calculator to track and optimize your car’s fuel economy easily. Enter your trip distance and fuel used, and it will provide MPG or L/100km metrics in a color-coded format: green for high efficiency red for areas to improve.
Miles Per Gallon Calculator
Miles Per Gallon: Improving Your Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency
1. Calculate Your Current MPG
The first step is to figure out your vehicle’s current miles per gallon (MPG), you can use the calculator I’ve created above.
This will provide a baseline to compare against as you try different tactics to improve efficiency. Calculating MPG is simple – just divide the number of miles driven by the gallons of fuel used.
For example, if you drove 300 miles before refueling and it took 15 gallons to top off your tank, your MPG would be 300/15 = 20 MPG.
To get the most accurate MPG calculations, reset your trip odometer at each fill-up and divide the miles driven by the gallons added at that stop.
Tracking your MPG over a few tanks of gas will give you a good understanding of your vehicle’s average fuel efficiency.
2. Drive More Efficiently
How you drive can have a major impact on MPG. Avoiding fuel-wasting behaviors like rapid acceleration, speeding, and hard braking is an easy way to improve efficiency.
- Accelerate smoothly instead of gunning it when taking off from stops. Gradual acceleration puts less strain on the engine.
- Go easy on the brakes by beginning to slow down early when you know you’ll have to stop.
- Obey posted speed limits. Wind resistance increases dramatically above 50 mph, dragging down MPG.
- Cruise at lower rpms in highest gear possible for your vehicle’s speed. Revving the engine wastes gas.
- Avoid prolonged idling when parked. Turn off your engine if you’ll be stopped for more than 30 seconds.
Developing fuel-efficient driving habits takes some practice but can really boost your MPG over time. You’ll also reduce wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
3. Perform Regular Maintenance
A well-maintained vehicle operates at its peak efficiency. Staying on top of maintenance like regular oil changes, new air filters, fresh spark plugs, and proper tire inflation will maximize MPG.
The owner’s manual for your vehicle will outline the recommended maintenance schedule. Follow this to keep your engine tuned up and working efficiently. Addressing minor issues early on can prevent bigger problems down the road too.
Regular maintenance might cost a little more upfront but will save you money in fuel expenses over the long run while also extending your vehicle’s lifespan. Think of it as an investment in future MPG gains.
4. Reduce Drag and Rolling Resistance
Drag and tire resistance sap engine power, lowering MPG. Minimizing these forces helps your engine operate more efficiently. Some simple ways to reduce drag include:
- Stowing unneeded roof racks or bike racks when not in use
- Keeping windows rolled up at high speeds
- Removing any unnecessary weight from your vehicle
To cut down on tire resistance:
- Keep tires properly inflated to the PSI recommended by the manufacturer
- Get wheel alignments and rotate tires regularly to prevent uneven wear
- Replace worn tires that can increase resistance
The less dragging and resistance acting on your vehicle, the easier it is for your engine to propel it down the road using less fuel.
5. Use Recommended Motor Oil
What oil you use really does make a difference. Always go with motor oil that meets or exceeds the viscosity recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer. Thinner oils tend to improve MPG.
Many oils now carry fuel economy labels to help you choose a brand engineered to reduce friction and improve efficiency. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil gives you the best shot at maximizing MPG.
6. Upgrade to Higher Efficiency Tires
The right tires can lead to noticeable MPG gains. Tires with lower rolling resistance allow your engine to use less power at sustained speeds. Brands like Michelin and Continental offer tires engineered specifically to boost fuel economy.
Upgrading to higher efficiency tires might cost more upfront but can quickly pay for itself through fuel savings. Replacing just two tires with lower resistance models can improve MPG by 3-5%. Make sure to properly inflate new tires for maximum effect.
7. Use Fuel Additives Wisely
Gasoline and diesel fuel additives making MPG claims are definitely out there, but handle them with caution. Reputable brands like STP are your best bet. Questionable or dirt cheap no-name additives may do more harm than good.
Additives can help clean fuel injectors and prevent buildup. But don’t expect miracles. Follow package directions closely. Improper use of some additive products could potentially damage your engine. Any MPG boost would likely be marginal at best.
8. Think About Vehicle Upgrades
If you’re looking to get serious about fuel economy, vehicle upgrades can provide even more significant MPG improvements. Some options to consider include:
- Trading in for a hybrid or electric vehicle
- Having a more fuel-efficient engine installed
- Adding aftermarket aerodynamic improvements
- Having performance chips installed to fine-tune transmission shifting
Upgrades require greater investment but may be worthwhile if you drive long distances or are truly committed to achieving maximum MPG. Crunching the numbers can determine if upgrades offer a decent return through fuel savings.
Leverage MPG-Boosting Products
A variety of aftermarket products on the market today claim to increase MPG by improving your engine’s performance.
Adding a fuel catalyst can provide extra efficiency gains.
Testing products extensively to verify legitimate MPG benefits takes time. Read reviews and dig into the science behind claims before purchasing additive devices or fuel filters promising better efficiency. Skepticism will serve you well to avoid gimmicks.
With persistent effort, you can definitely coax some additional miles out of each gallon you pump into your vehicle’s tank.
Applying the tips and techniques outlined here will put you well down the road to improved fuel efficiency. Just remember that boosting MPG requires commitment over the long haul.