The MPG (miles per gallon) of a car is always a big consideration point when purchasing. Knowing about MPG and how you can improve yours, means that you can ensure you’re prepared.
What actually is MPG?
MPG is simply a way to measure the fuel efficiency of a vehicle, by working out how many miles a car can travel with only a single gallon of fuel in the tank. A car’s MPG can be inconsistent. This is because it is affected by a number of different factors, so it is difficult to get an accurate measurement. For example, factors like traffic and road conditions can affect MPG in any given context.
How is MPG calculated?
The MPG figure you see when you purchase a car is worked out under strictly controlled conditions in a lab, using a test called the WLTP (World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test).
The WLTP was only introduced for new cars in 2017. It involves additional tests, real driving data and greater consideration of how cars perform outside the lab.
By testing each vehicle across four different driving speeds, the WLTP gives a clear picture of how cars perform on main roads, in cities and on the motorway. The results of these four tests are then compiled to give you one solid figure, which is the MPG.
This does mean that MPG is a standardised measurement, there’s still likely to be a discrepancy. It is an estimate on how many miles your car can actually do with one gallon on the road. So, keep in mind that you may have to take the MPG figure with a pinch of salt.
Converting MPG into MPL
One of the main issues with MPG is that in the UK, we now buy petrol and diesel by the litre, instead of by the gallon.
If you want to know your MPL, then take the MPG figure of your car and divide it by 4.54.
This is because there are 4.54 litres in a gallon. This formula should give you a clearer sense of how far your car can actually go on a full tank of fuel.
How to improve your car’s MPG
If you would like to try and improve your car’s fuel-efficiency, there are ways to get more out of a tank of fuel:
1. Check your tyre pressure: having the wrong tyre pressure can make a real difference to your car’s fuel-economy. Luckily this is a cheap and easy problem to fix.
2. Reduce your time idling: if you’re waiting in your car or sitting in traffic, turn your engine off. Leaving the engine to idle gets zero miles per gallon, and wastes billions of gallons of fuel every year.
3. Get rid of extra weight: by getting rid of things like the roof box, or unnecessary items in the boot, you can hugely improve the fuel consumption of your car. As more weight means less MPG.
4. Adjust your driving style: habits like revving your engine and accelerating fast use more fuel than necessary. Save fuel by changing gear earlier and speeding up more gradually.
5. Replace old/faulty spark plugs: these are responsible for sparking the engine in your car to ignite the fuel. Faulty spark plugs can really reduce fuel efficiency. Replacing them every 20,000 miles or so should prevent this from happening.
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