Even though the gas bills are nowhere near the level they were last winter, especially in the US – where a gallon of gas can be purchased even below $2 – there’s a simple reason why you should employ fuel-saving tips.
The main reason is that cold temperatures have a huge toll on the vehicle’s overall efficiency – increasing fuel consumption by as much as 34 percent. That’s because everything has to work a little harder (just as the human body does, actually) – engine and transmission friction increase, air pressure in tires drops, hybrid batteries get depleted much faster. It’s a proven fact – statistically: the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has surveyed EPA fuel economy tests conducted on 600 gasoline autos and 14 hybrid powered vehicles at two different temperatures: 77 and 20 (25 and minus 6.6 degrees Celsius). When it comes to gasoline cars the fuel efficiency loss stands in between 12 and 20 percent, while hybrids lose a whopping 31 to 34 %. The effects are even worse on short trips or during severe winter storms.
According to fueleconomy.gov, here are some tips that can help alleviate these troubling numbers. One: don’t sit and idle until the engine heats, drive off after 30 seconds as the heating comes faster when driving. Two: check tyre pressure regularly (that’s an all-season tip). Three: if possible, park in a garage or a covered parking. Four: combine trips so that the engine stays at optimal temperature longer. Five: don’t overuse the seat heaters or car’s defrosters. Six: if the automaker tells you to use a different oil during winter don’t be cheap and make the switch before the season starts. Seven: if you have a plug-in hybrid or electric car, pre-heat the cabin while you’re still attached to the grid. Then use seat and steering heaters instead of the general cabin heater and AC.