Fuel economy plays a large role in how many people choose their new car. Gone are the days of careless gas-guzzlers - now we want the best car with the longest range per gallon. But are you really getting the estimated miles per gallon (MPG) you were told when purchasing your new car?
Although all cars have a range in which they’re expected to perform, there are many factors that will ultimately determine your MPG which are specific to you and individual circumstances. Just a few things that might affect the fuel efficiency on your car alone compared to others of its kind are:
- Your driving habits
- Whether it’s driven more on highways or city streets
- Tire pressure
- Fuel quality
- Street quality
- Engine or mechanical problems
Some of these are things you can and should fix if you notice them. That’s why tracking your gas mileage is so important. It’ll will make sure you get the best life out of your vehicle and ultimately save the most money.
Many modern cars have approximate MPG as a feature on the dashboard. These are not 100% dependable on all vehicles. Here are some other ways to more accurately track your gas mileage. Method 1 of this article explains how to use math to calculate your MPG, Method 2 suggests some apps you can use, and Method 3 recommends a website to track your mileage.
Method 1 of 3: Use good old-fashioned math
If you prefer not to use apps and more technology, you can actually calculate your gas milage pretty effectively by simply filling up your tank and using your odometer. Here’s how:
Step 1: Fill your gas tank completely.
Step 2: Start your odometer. Either reset your trip odometer or write down your total mileage on the master odometer.
Step 3: Drive until you have half a tank. Drive like normal until at least half your tank is depleted.
Step 4: Fill the tank. Refill gas tank and record how many gallons you put in.
Step 5: Record your mileage. Record mileage used since last time you filled.
Step 6: Divide miles by gallons. Divide miles traveled by how many gallons you purchased at your second trip to the gas station (eg: 287 miles/15.5 gallons = 18.52 MPG).
Method 2 of 3: Use an app to calculate MPG
Of course there’s an app for that! With apps for pretty much everything under the sun, this is not a surprise. A few of the more popular apps include Fuelio, Fuel Buddy, FillUp, or Drivvo.
Although each app is different and caters to different needs. The basic method to tracking your gas mileage is:
- Download app to your smart phone
- Log gas fill-ups
- Log mileage
The app will not only show you your current gas mileage and graph your gas mileage over a certain period of time, but most of the apps have tips and fuel economy advice based on your driving and current gas mileage. You can also track necessary maintenance for your car on these apps.
Method 3 of 3: Get even more control with a website tracker
There are specific online communities you can join such as Fuelly.com where you can get individualized support for you and your car. Similar to the apps, all you have to do is sign up, add your basic information and log your mileage and fill-ups.
This site will track your progress over time and give you advice to better your mileage. You can jump on the forum with any concerns to talk to other drivers as well as support professionals.
Whatever method you choose, it is important to track your mileage on your vehicle as it changes over time with different influences affecting your car at different times. The only way to make sure you’re getting the best gas mileage is to actually track it and look for ways to improve.
The mileage you travel and whether it’s over highways or city streets doesn’t just affect your fuel efficiency, it also affects your insurance prices and coverage. Having a better idea of what your driving habits are can give you a greater idea of what kind of coverage you need.