When buying a new car one of the biggest factors that influence is a person’s decision is fuel economy. With gas prices higher than ever that’s really no surprise. Knowing what your new car’s fuel efficiency will be will not only let you know what your monthly vehicle costs will be (more or less) but may also help you decide on which model to purchase.
If you haven’t purchased a new car in some time you may not know what to look for and where to find this valuable information. Not only that but you might not know which information is more important or how to decipher what auto manufacturers and the EPA are saying. Once you’re done reading today’s blog you will however so, as always, enjoy.
- The easiest place to find fuel economy information is on the window sticker of any new car. On this sticker you will have EPA numbers for city, highway and combined mpg.
These numbers can be quite deceiving however and, the reality is that few cars will actually achieve the numbers listed on their window sticker. In fact, unless your car is on an open, flat road, in perfect conditions and at a certain specific speed, the numbers on the sticker for city and highway driving will probably never be matched. In most cases the combined number is much more accurate but you’ll need to look harder for it because it’s near the bottom of the sticker in smaller print. (Don’t you just love new car manufacturers?)
- The United States DEA has a lot of fuel economy information on their website, fueleconomy.gov.in fact, it’s one of the best tools for finding and comparing car mpg numbers and you can find and compare them for vehicles going back all the way to 1984. (Insert George Orwell reference here.)
A great feature on the site is being able to customize your data so that your MPG results are more accurate. Just click on the personalized button and you can input your annual mileage, fuel prices where you live, the percentage of miles that you happen to drive in heavy traffic and so forth. Once done, you’ll see all sorts of different results including the cost to fill your tank, drive 25 miles and even your estimated annual fuel costs.
- Most every carmaker has information about their brand’s mpg on their website but, in most professional opinions, using that information will get you mixed results at best. For example, if you’re looking for a full-size SUV you’ll probably have to spend quite a bit of time digging to find the mpg for that model and, in some cases, you won’t find it all.
The fact is, the current system that is being used to measure a car’s fuel efficiency is far from perfect and, in many cases, creates a very inaccurate perception of a car’s actual fuel consumption. In the future we can expect to see some changes, including figures that show how many gallons a car uses for every hundred miles it’s driven.
Until that time, take any MPG numbers that you see with a grain of salt and do your best to get as much from every gallon of gas as possible including proper maintenance on your car, driving at slower speeds and so forth. (For that matter, we have literally dozens of blog articles about how to increase your cars mpg so, when you have a moment, take a look at some of them for ideas, tips and advice.)
If you have any questions about fuel economy, how to save money on gas or other personal finance issues, please let us know and we’ll get back to you with options and answers as soon as we can.