Life hack: Getting better gas mileage

On my way to a metric-based lifestyle, I started taking a closer look at my gas mileage. This was a metric that I have been collecting for a while and thought I should be able to improve rather easily – lending itself to improved daily discretionary spending.

I recently purchased a 2010 Ford Fusion Sport. According to Ford’s specs I should be getting 18mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway. I’ve put 11,000 miles on my car in 6 months – most of them highway driving so I should be getting near that top MPG range in this car. However, I rarely broke 300 miles on a single 17.5 gallon fuel tank (I usually filled up with 14-15 gallons). In fact, most of my fuel-ups netted me 270 miles. For the longest time, I couldn’t get above 18.x miles per gallon according to the sensor on my car. This left lots of room for improvement in a car that says it can do a lot better.

I keep a journal of my gas fuel-ups. Here are the metrics before my changes:

Avg Miles/Tank Avg Gallons/Fuel-up Avg Miles/Gallon Est. Gallons/Year* Est. Fuel Cost/Year**
272 14.53 18.71989 1282.059 $3,653.87

* Based on 24,000 miles a year (my current pace)
** Based on $2.85/gallon average price tag

I just had to do better. I used to get a thrill out of getting 300 miles out of a tank of gas. I wanted to know what it was like to get 350 miles — maybe more. Without any research on the web, I just tried a few things – things that might be common sense for others, but were just not a big deal for me. Here is what I decided to do.

No More Distracted Driving

I have a ton of gadgets that can vie for my attention while I’m driving. In the past, those gadgets would get my attention – particularly if I was in stop and go traffic. I decided to make a habit of ignoring everything but driving. After driving through three tanks of gas, I noticed that I was consistently getting around 300 miles per tank. Distracted driving seems to have cost me about 10% of my fuel efficiency!

No More Aggressive Driving

I’ve lived in a lot of big cities where it was eat-or-be-eaten when it comes to driving. Again, in stop and go traffic, I would tend to stay very close to the bumper of the next car so others wouldn’t cut me off. I made a conscious decision once again to start driving far less aggressively. I use my cruise control when I can. I stay far behind the cars in front of me. A defensive driving instructor would be proud! Oddly enough, I feel a lot less stressed when I just acknowledge that people are going to keep cutting me off and that’s ok. The result? My last two fill-ups gave me over 350 miles per tank and my current tank is on target to give me about 365 if it keeps on pace! This is amazing.

Results

I’ve nearly squeezed an extra 100 miles out of every tank just by changing driving behavior! Let’s put this in perspective. Here are the metrics after my changes (assuming I get the 365 miles out of this tank):

Avg Miles/Tank Avg Gallons/Fuel-up Avg Miles/Gallon Est. Gallons/Year* Est. Fuel Cost/Year**
357.5 14.53 24.60427 975.4406 $2,780.01

If you compare that against my previous cost, I’m on track to save $873.86 this year – and that’s if I don’t change anything else. Being that this is an iterative process, I’m going to try more behavior tweaking to try and get my MPG up.

Be Sociable, Share!

    3 Thoughts on “Life hack: Getting better gas mileage

    1. BTW, I improved my gas mileage to 35-36mpg city, 50+ highway by getting rid of two wheels.

    2. “I noticed that I was consistently getting around 300mpg” – that is impressive. ;-) (several MPG in there that should be MPT(ank))

    3. Edouble on January 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm said:

      Walk or bike your lazy butt to work :)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    Post Navigation