December 19, 2011

Factors that affect your fuel economy


By Kim Clark, Ag Program Manger for the Nebraska Corn Board

In my previous blog it was mentioned that when using E85 in your flex fuel vehicle, you may see up to a 25% reduction in fuel mileage compared to E0.

Several factors that affect the fuel mileage when using the same fuel type.

  • Road conditions: potholes, dry pavement versus wet
  • Weather conditions: Wind, rain, snow
  • Driver: each driver has their own driving style (acceleration and deceleration speed, driving speed, etc)
  • Rapid acceleration and braking
  • Short trips
  • City driving versus highway driving
  • Short trips versus longer trips
  • Cold weather: Your engine operates efficiently when it is warm
  • The amount of weight in the vehicle
  • Towing

These are only a few of the factors that will cause your vehicle’s fuel mileage to vary when using the same fuel type. There isn’t one of these factors that will cause fuel mileage to vary more than another. Each factor plays a role in fuel mileage reduction. There are ways you can drive more efficiently.

It needs to also be noted that ethanol blended fuels are more energy dense; therefore, when you are using ethanol fuel, your vehicle will get more horsepower. Additional horsepower may be useful in some driving conditions, when towing, driving up inclines, and more.

The bottom line is that fuel mileage varies when fueling with the same fuel type for several reasons and ethanol fuel provides additional horsepower. Now it is up to you, the consumer, to weigh the pros and cons and make the best fueling choice decision.

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