This is a topic that is in the media and all around us. Even though gas prices are currently dropping, which is great, we are still a far cry away from where we were just a few short years ago. Anybody remember paying less than $2.00 per gallon? I can remember prices as low as $.50 but that dates me a bit.
If you do not have a computer on board your vehicle, how do you know what mileage your vehicle is giving you? Do you really know how to calculate your fuel economy? Even better, any idea how to use this calculation to your benefit?
calculate miles per gallon
Well simply put, fuel economy, in this country, is measured in Miles Per Gallon or MPG. So if you have a 10 gallon fuel tank and you drive 300 miles then you divide the 300 miles by the 10 gallons to get 30 MPG. Easy enough. The math gets a little more complicated in the real world but the formula is always the same. Here is what I mean.
If you have that same 10 gallon tank you probably do not empty it and cough your way into the gas station. In reality you probably purchase 8.3 gallons or some odd number like that. Then the odometer reading at your last fill up was … say … 120,000 miles and now it reads 120,287. So that leave 287 miles driven for 8.3 gallons of gas or (lemme get my calculator out) …um … 34.578 MPG.
I mean, you gotta buy gas. The tank is on empty. You gotta get to work. Who cares about the mileage? Right?
There is no better performance meter of how your vehicle is running than MPG.
So much affects it. Like:
- How you drive
- Hiway or intown
- Leadfoot or little old lady
- Towing a trailer?
- Tire condition
- Engine tune
- Spark plugs/wires
- Air filter condition
- Fuel filter condition
- Grade and age of oil
- Intake deposits
- A/C on or off
- Extra weight
- Trunk denizens
There is a lot that can affect your vehicles performance and monitoring fuel economy will tell you when the changes and trends are small and can be dealt with inexpensively. You do not need to be an expert mechanic to tell that the performance is waning. You just have to be able to track a simple little number.
For those of you with Smart Phones it gets even easier. I have an Apple iPhone and I use a program called Road Trip. It does all the calculations for me and then graphs the result. Takes seconds and is even kind of fun. This program even tracks what it is costing me to operate the vehicle per mile/week/tank fill up/ or year. Great for taxes and tracking repairs and maintenance. Check out your Smart Phone’s app store. There might be a solution there for you.
The money you save at the pump can easily pay for the maintenance costs associated with getting the best fuel economy. And a well maintained car rarely needs repair. It is all an awareness thing. You can only control that which you are aware of. Want to fight gremlins out of your pocket book. Pay attention to your fuel economy.