Chevrolet and OnStar teamed up to conduct a study to demonstrate 10 common mistakes drivers make that hurt their fuel economy. General Motors fuel economy engineers Ann Wenzlick and Beth Nunning drove identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs with an EPA estimated at 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, on a typical workday commute. For the route, they drove both cars for 20 minutes, including city and highway driving as well as stopping for coffee.
The results show that sweating the small stuff could save drivers as much as $100 a month in fuel costs. Wenzlick averaged 37 miles per gallon using efficient driving habits in a properly maintained Cruze. Driving inefficiently and ignoring common maintenance, Nunning managed only 21 miles per gallon. The difference means Nunning would get 250 fewer miles per tank of gas, while Wenzlick would save $100 a month – or $1,200 a year – assuming 15,000 miles and $4 a gallon for gas.
“Ann and Beth’s results support data from OnStar that shows the fuel economy of drivers in identical cars can vary by 75 percent,” said Roger Clark, manager of the GM Energy Center. “With a well-maintained car, the best drivers get up to 25 percent more miles per gallon than average. When you combine a poorly maintained car with inefficient driving habits, the fuel economy of the worst drivers can be 50 percent below average.
So, what can you do to get better gas mileage?
- Get out of the drive-through lane.
“While Beth waited in the drive-thru with her car running, I shut off the engine and went inside for my morning coffee. Idling for 15 minutes burns through an average of a quarter of a gallon – adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.”
- Take it easy
“In the city, I accelerated smoothly while Beth demonstrated one of the most common mistakes we see on the road: Jumping on the gas at every light, only to hit the brakes as she caught up with the traffic ahead. Such aggressive driving isn’t going to get you home any faster, while driving smoothly can improve your mileage by 20 percent.”
- Driving 70, not 80.
“On the highway, I drove 70, compared to Beth’s 80. Again, a 10-mph difference likely won’t add much time to your daily commute, but it will save you up to four miles per gallon on the highway.”
- Use cruise control
“I tried to maintain a constant speed during our drive, while Beth’s fluctuated with traffic. Try using cruise control when possible, and maintaining a constant speed over time, which is much more efficient than speeding up and slowing down over and over again.” …read more tips and common mistakes here
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