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Friday, July 31, 2009

Find Your Car's Fuel Efficiency

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you should cultivate the habit of watching your gas mileage all the time.

Among the reasons to watch your gas mileage are:

  1. Create a true baseline of your car's fuel efficiency.
  2. Recognize immediately when something goes wrong.
  3. Get a true test of the effectiveness of gas-saving gadgets and techniques.
  4. Improve your driving skills.

Create a Baseline

You know your car was rated at so many miles per gallon when you bought it, but is it really getting that mileage? Remember that thing about "your actual mileage may vary"?

In order to know what kind of fuel efficiency you're actually getting, you're going to have to measure it yourself.

Unfortunately, the very act of measuring your fuel economy might "change" it. Its kind of like a classroom full of children: When they know the teacher's watching, they behave better. Similarly, when you know your gas mileage is being measured, you might step a little lighter on the accelerator.

The only way to get a true measurement of your gas mileage is to measure it all the time. If you make a habit of writing down every gallon of gas you buy, sooner or later, you will revert to your real driving habits - the way you drive when the teacher isn't looking - and you will find out what's really going on.

Recognize a Problem

Your car's gas mileage is a good indicator of its overall performance. When something is beginning to go wrong, it will start robbing you of power - and gas - before you really notice serious performance problems.

If you're in the habit of tracking your gas mileage all the time, you will see immediately when your car needs attention. Is it time for a tune-up? How's the tire pressure? Does your transmission need some adjustment? These and many other things can make your car start burning more gas than it should.

If your gas mileage suddenly drops from 33 mpg to 30 mpg and stays there, you might not notice it for weeks or months. How much does that extra 3 mpg cost you over half a year? It adds up, and if you're not watching, it adds up stealthily and robs you blind.

But if you're keeping track of your gas mileage all the time, you will know about subtle problems like this right away. Then you can take corrective action before the money starts leaking out of your budget.

True Test of Improvements

If you're planning to install some new gadget or use some new fuel additive to get better gas mileage, how will you know it really works? The same question applies if you've heard about some new trick or technique to get better fuel economy.

The only way to know is to have a good baseline to start with, and to get a good, accurate measurement of your fuel economy after you make the change.

There is something that might be called a "placebo effect" in gas mileage improvements. You get better gas mileage after you install the new widget because you want to get better gas mileage. You start using some snake-oil fuel additive, and you drive a little slower, even without realizing it, and so you get better gas mileage with snake oil.

The only way to know whether that new widget really works is to get a true, long-term measure of your gas mileage. And, as described earlier, the only way to do that is to keep up the habit of measuring your gas mileage all the time, even when "the teacher isn't looking."

Improve Your Skills

Once you're in the habit of measuring your gas mileage constantly, you can use that information to keep tabs on your driving habits. Yes, "the teacher is watching." You know how to drive for maximum fuel efficiency, but are you really doing it?

Monitoring your car's gas mileage all the time will let you know, not only how your car is performing, but how you are performing as a driver.

Don't just think you're driving for maximum efficiency - know it!

And don't try to fool yourself into believing that you're an efficient driver. Your ongoing fuel economy records will show the cold, hard truth. "The teacher is always watching."

Conclusion

This article told you four good reasons why you should measure your car's gas mileage all the time. It assumes that you already know how to get a good ongoing MPG measurement, but that is the subject of other articles.

Measure your gas mileage all the time. This will let you know what your real MPG is, whether your car is performing at its maximum efficiency or if something needs fixing, what effect that latest gizmo or additive is really having on your gas mileage, and whether you really are as fuel-conscious a driver as you think you are.

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/automotive-articles/four-reasons-to-keep-track-of-your-gas-mileage-793461.html

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