Hey it’s Leslie, and we’ve all been seeing the stories about the problems electric cars are having in the cold weather. But what about gas vehicles?
I reset my trip odometer every time I fill up, and my car tells me approximately how many more miles I have left in each tank of gas. I have noticed that this week, my fuel efficiency has dropped somewhere between 50 and 100 miles for this tank. That’s a lot!
So I did a little research, and according to energy.gov, cold weather and winter driving conditions can significantly reduce fuel economy, anywhere between 10:00 and 33%! That tracks!
And if you have a hybrid, the news is even worse. Fuel economy decreases from 20 to 45% in hybrids.
And the efficiency of electric vehicles can drop by about 40% in the extreme cold, which is why everyone needs to recharge more often.
So, what can we do to increase fuel efficiency?
Drive 55 mph wherever it’s legal. It really does increase fuel efficiency. Not slower, not faster.
Minimize idling. According to the same website comma energy.gov, most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster while it’s being driven, which will help decrease fuel costs.
Decrease use of seat warmers and defrosters. Oof.
Use motor oil recommended for cold weather.
Remove roof racks or other accessories that increase wind resistance.
Maintain your tire pressure.
Park in a garage if possible.
And for plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles, preheat the cabin while it’s plugged into the charger, and then switch to seat warmers instead of the cabin heater to extend your range.
I’m glad I learned these tips, hopefully I’ll be getting better fuel efficiency, especially now that the weather has become a little more tolerable.