The Gas Mileage Difference Between City and Highway Driving  | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

The Gas Mileage Difference Between City and Highway Driving 

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If you live and work in a city, you probably primarily drive in city streets. Stopping and going at multiple intersections, slowing down often, and more are some of the reasons that driving in the city affects our gas mileage differently than driving on a highway does. In this article, we’ll detail the differences and what you can do to get the most out of your gas mileage no matter what kind of road you’re driving on.

Understanding Gas Mileage 

The fuel economy of a vehicle takes into account the miles traveled by car and the amount of gasoline consumed while doing that  traveling. 

If your car takes gasoline, then on the label it will list city, highway, and combined miles per gallon values. For most people, the combined miles per gallon (MPG) value is the most prominent in regards to comparing these numbers across multiple vehicles. Combined fuel economy is a weighted average of city and highway MPG values that is determined by weighting the city value by 55% and the highway blue by 45%. 

Gas Mileage: City vs. Highway 

City driving is harder on your engine. Your engine has to work harder to stop and start changing speeds more frequently when you’re on city streets. Therefore, this will require more gas and burn oil faster, resulting in a reduction in gas mileage. 

Highway driving is more of maintaining a consistent speed. So, as long as you’re driving at a speed that your car is designed to handle, this is easier on your engine than city driving since your engine has to do less work to maintain the speed set while you’re driving on the highway. 

Improving Gas Mileage 

So, what can you do to improve your gas mileage? There are a few steps that you, as a driver, can take to help reduce your fuel costs. First, and foremost, drive slower. Especially on the highway, if you are driving at a higher rate of speed than your vehicle was designed to run optimally at, then you’re going to burn more gas. 

In the city, try to avoid stopping and starting abruptly as this can also reduce gas mileage rather than just driving slowly and defensively. Staying far enough away from the car in front of you so you don’t have to slam on your brakes, pulling up to a light slowly to be prepared for a green to yellow change, and just driving more carefully all the way around can improve your gas mileage while you’re driving in the city. 

Fuel Injector Service and Repair

Another way to improve your gas mileage is to have your fuel injector cleaned periodically. At Scott’s Auto, we recommend that you have this service done approximately once every 25,000 miles. 

A clogged fuel injector can lead to sluggish acceleration, increased gas mileage, and even shakier idling. You might even notice higher carbon monoxide emissions, which is especially worth avoiding if you live in a state that requires emissions testing. You could also be more susceptible to build-up or blockage if your trip onsite consists mostly of short trips, or if your car has many miles on it. 

Fuel Pumps and Lines 

The fuel pump creates pressure in the fuel lines to propel the gasoline for your gas tank into your engine. Any unused gas is then propelled back into the tank. The flow should be constant, but that consistency can lessen overtime and your car can become increasingly sluggish. Contamination and overheating can lead to this behavior in your fuel pump, and over time your gears can wear out. One way to prevent this is by keeping your gas tank filled above the quarter mark. 

Get Gas Help with Scott’s Auto

If you believe that your fuel economy isn’t as efficient as it should be, let one of our professionals examine your car at Scott’s Auto. We will look at your fuel injector, pumps, and lines to see what the issue could be. Further, we can give you tips on how to improve your gas mileage in the city or on the highway! Just stop by one of our four locations today: Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Loveland, and Montrose. 

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