Explaining Miles Per Gallon


If you’ve recently bought a car, there’s a great chance that you have seen information about the car’s MPG or miles per gallon. A car’s MPG is now one of the most important factors that people should consider when buying a new vehicle. It is a means of working out just exactly how fuel efficient a car is. But what do miles per gallon really mean and can it be applied practically? Well, if you do not have any idea about it and you’d like to know more, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to explain all about miles per gallon.

What is Miles Per Gallon?

Miles Per Gallon or MPG is commonly used in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. It is used to give you an indication of the fuel economy of a car or any commercial vehicle. It helps you to know how cheap or expensive it is to run the car that you want and tells you how many miles your car can travel on a single gallon of gas. To explain it simply, if your car runs at 50mpg for example, then it means that you will be able to drive 50 miles on every gallon of petrol that you put in the tank on average.

MPG is useful for you to compare different cars and know which are more fuel efficient. For example, if one model has a fuel economy of 60mpg and its rival has a fuel economy of 70mpg, then it means that the second model will drive an extra ten miles on the same amount of fuel. That is if they both use the same kind of fuel.

How Do Manufacturers Know the Car’s MPG?

For the manufacturers to determine how many miles per gallon a car will do, they do not test the cars on the road but in a laboratory instead. Cars are placed on rollers, in an ambient 20 to 30 degrees setting and then tested in two ways which are Urban and Extra Urban. Urban testing is designed to simulate driving in towns and cities. Extra Urban testing, on the other hand, is designed to simulate out of town driving. After the tests, the two figures from the results are averaged to find the combined miles per gallon or MPG of the car.

These tests are done under strict conditions and every car goes the same tests. Testing cars allow direct comparison between models, however, it does not give you a true picture of the MPG you will actually get from the car when you drive it. These tests do not take into account some variables that can significantly affect a car’s MPG such as operating temperatures, extra passengers, and the driving style.

This means that in reality, the official MPG of a car may be difficult to reach. Based on research, cars achieve 86 percent of their official MPG on average.

How Do You Figure Out Your Own Personal MPG?

Since laboratory testing of cars is not that accurate when it comes to real life driving, it means that you need to determine your car’s MPG your own. To do that, first, fill your gas tank then reset the trip odometer. After that, drive your car until the gas tank is nearly empty or close enough for you to need more gas immediately. Take a look at how many gallons of gas it took to fill up the tank completely. Then take the reading on the odometer which is the number of miles you’ve driven since your last fill up. Divide that reading by the number of gallons used.

For example, if your car has an empty tank and you fill it with 10 gallons of gas, then you traveled for 350 miles, it means that you are getting 35 miles per gallon. This will give you an accurate measurement over time, of how efficiently you drive your car in real-world conditions.

Diesel or Petrol – Which Offers Better MPG?

When buying a vehicle, we also choose between a diesel car or a petrol model. The reason why diesel cars are popular is that they are generally more fuel efficient compared to petrol models. Diesel cars will almost always use lesser fuel compared to an equivalent petrol model. If you are choosing a car based only on fuel economy, then a diesel model is best for you because they typically have a higher MPG.  

But remember that choosing a car is not just about how much fuel you can save. There are also other things you need to take into consideration such as depreciation or how much will it be worth in the future. Also, diesel cars are usually more expensive compared to petrol models but they often attract lower road tax, meaning, your insurance may be cheaper. Another great thing is that diesel cars allow you to change gear earlier, making it more relaxing to drive, while petrol models are more exciting.

How Can You Improve Your Car’s MPG?

If you want to maximize fuel economy and reduce your fuel bill, there are many things you can do. Here are some of the ways to improve your car’s MPG.

  • Plan: Every time you’ll drive, it’s important to plan out first where you are going. It’s because every mile that you are lost is another mile of wasted fuel.
  • Get rid of excess weight and keep your car aerodynamic: When driving, leave unnecessary heavy items at home. Did you know that every 45kg of weight removed from your car can save one percent on fuel? Also, it’s essential to remove roof racks, bike racks, and roof boxes from your car if you are not using them to make your car aerodynamic. This can also prevent you from using up more fuel when driving.
  • Turn off electrics: Electrics such as air-conditioning and other electrical items such as a heated rear window can put a strain on your car’s engine which can increase fuel consumption. So, unless it’s really hot in your car, turn off the air-conditioning, especially when you’re going at low speeds.
  • Always keep your car in good condition: It is important to have your car regularly checked or serviced to know if your engine is working to its best capacity. It’s also essential to check your tires because if they are under-inflated, it can also increase fuel consumption by up to 3 percent.

Understanding Miles Per Gallon is important, especially when you want to buy a new car that will save you money in fuel. We hope the information we shared will help you to better understand your car’s MPG.

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