Of all the seasons, winter seems to last the longest here in Oneonta. Frigid temperatures, snow, and ice become seemingly constant companions…. and not the kind that we necessarily want to keep around. Just as we behave differently in the winter months than we do in the warmer ones, our vehicles experience changes as well.
Cars experience decreased efficiency in colder months, but don’t let winter fuel economy woes get you down. It’s not your fault. Winter blend gasoline, chillier air, and snow on the roads all add up to your car guzzling more gas than it would on a warm summer day. All is not lost, though. There are things you can do to help get back some of those miles per gallon.
Keep it Clean
Your car should be clean on the inside and out. No, we’re not talking about getting it detailed or washed or vacuuming out the crumbs from your morning breakfasts to-go. We’re talking about keeping the cargo spaces clean, like your trunk and backseat, and properly removing snow and ice from the exterior. Added weight makes your car work harder and forces it to guzzle more gas. Scraping off your windows but leaving that huge pile of snow on top of your car’s roof is not only dangerous for yourself and other drivers in the event that it flies off and obstructs driving view, but it also weighs your car down. If winter means lots of weekend trips to the ski lifts, that’s great, but consider removing your racks during the week for your daily work commute. Less weight = less gas = less money… you get the picture.
Hold Your Horses
We’re constantly in a hurry. We can’t help it. Time spent driving in the car is time that could be spent being with our families or getting things done, so when we’re on that stretch of road where the cops never park, we speed. Or we go 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, thinking that it won’t get us pulled over. But a speeding ticket isn’t the only consequence of disobeying the speed limit. Fast acceleration and inconsistent speeds decrease fuel economy. Use cruise control, and keep in mind that the optimal speed for fuel efficiency in most vehicles is 60 mph. Think of the time you’ll save by spending less time at the gas station.
Try to stay updated on the weather forecast, and take advantage of dryer and warmer days. Go to the grocery, dry cleaner, and wherever else when the weather is less of a pain if you can help it. Obviously, roads are safer when they’re clear, and your car won’t have to work as hard to get you to where you need to be. Additionally, resist the urge to let your car warm up all the way while you wait inside the house. It’s actually better for your engine if it warms up while driving instead of idling in the driveway.
Beat the winter fuel economy woes by practicing better driving habits, minding the weather, and keeping your car as light on its feet as possible.