Ways to improve your gas mileage this winter

Winter weather can cause many challenges. Snow and ice can make driving difficult. Extremely cold temperatures can make it dangerous to be outside. In fact, cold temperatures also reduce our cars’ fuel economy.

This table shows what happens to our fuel economy during the winter months.

Car TypeWinter Fuel Economy
Conventional Gasoline15% less than it would be at 77 degrees Fahrenheit
Hybrid30 – 40% less than it would be at 77 degrees Fahrenheit

Here are some things you can try to help improve your fuel economy this winter.

1. Combine your errands. During the warmer months getting into your car to run an errand isn’t a big deal. But during the winter months, errands should be combined. Cars run more efficiently when the engine is warm. Short trips make this difficult.

2. Check your tire pressure. It’s important to check your tire pressure on a regular basis during the winter months. Underinflated tires aren’t only dangerous, but the increased drag can reduce your gas mileage.

3. Reduce idling time. While there are many benefits to remote car starters, fuel economy isn’t one of them. If you don’t have remote start, idling your car 30-60 seconds is sufficient. The best way to bring your engine up to operating temperature is to gently drive your car. By driving your car, the engine, and its components (brakes, transmission, etc.) will warm up faster which allows your car to run more efficiently.

4. Wash your car regularly. Packed snow and ice in your wheel wells can negatively impact your car’s handling and gas mileage. It’s a good idea to clean off as much snow and ice as possible. A car wash during the winter months can help with this. If you own a pickup truck, don’t forget to remove excess snow from your truck bed. 

5. Clean out your trunk. Keeping winter accessories in your trunk is a good idea, especially if you get stranded. However, removing other items that aren’t used during the winter months, such as golf clubs, helps improve efficiency.

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