Want Your MPG? 10 Factors That Affect Fuel Economy


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Fuel economy isn’t just a number you find out about at the car lot; it’s also something that can change. Many regular driving and maintenance habits can reduce your fuel economy. Here are ten factors that affect fuel economy that you can change today.

Frequent Braking and Acceleration

When you’re in town, you frequently brake and accelerate because of traffic and stoplights. Even on the highway, driving aggressively by braking heavily or accelerating too quickly can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 30%.

How Fast You Travel

Like quick acceleration, maintaining a high speed can negatively affect your fuel economy. Maintaining a constant speed lower than 60 miles per hour reduces how much energy your engine uses and increases fuel efficiency.

How Far You Travel

An engine that isn’t fully warmed up won’t operate at the best efficiency, which means it will use more fuel. Warming up your engine while driving takes a bit of time, so traveling only short distances in your vehicle can use more gas than if you took a lengthier trip.

General Maintainance

Regular maintenance like oil changes, air filter cleaning and replacement, and more may feel like a chore than a benefit. But all of these things can change the performance of different parts of your car, including the engine and fuel efficiency, so make sure to get regular maintenance done on your vehicle.


Learn more about car maintenance here



Maintaining tire pressure prevents increased friction - and more engine power and fuel use. The same goes for worn tires; newer tires have better tread and fewer friction issues, meaning they’re better for fuel economy because less engine power and fuel are needed to move the same distance.

The Surface You Travel On

Driving on rough terrain wears out your tires faster. Going uphill or via winding roads can also cause your engine to work harder despite going the same distance. This means things like off-roading and taking a winding backroad home can reduce your fuel efficiency on your trips.

The Oil You Use

Motor oil can reduce friction in your engine and make a difference in your gas mileage. Because of this, it’s essential to use the proper oil in your car - it’s recommended that you use synthetic, friction-reducing oil.

The Weather

Just like you use more fuel on shorter, more frequent trips, you also use more fuel in cold weather because heating your car enough to drive it before you head out on your trip still uses gas. It’s hard to avoid driving in cold weather, but if you can limit it, it’ll be better for your fuel efficiency in the long run.

Engine Part Damage

Just like maintenance, when engine parts are damaged, it reduces engine performance and increases fuel use. Worn or damaged spark plugs, head gaskets, and pistons can reduce engine performance if they aren’t taken care of quickly.


Increased weight from passengers, lots of cargo, or towing something behind your car can decrease your fuel efficiency. Consider how much your vehicle can reasonably hold or haul before going on trips.