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The Organizer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
According to fueleconomy.gov:

Driver Behavior & Driving Conditions
  • Quick acceleration and heavy braking reduces fuel economy by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town. EPA tests do not account for this kind of vigorous driving.
  • Excessive idling decreases average mpg. The EPA city test includes idling, but drivers that experience more idling can experience lower MPG.
  • Driving at higher speeds increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and reduces fuel economy. The EPA test accounts for aerodynamic drag up to highway speeds of 60 mph, but drivers often exceed this speed.
  • Cold weather and frequent short trips can reduce fuel economy, since your engine doesn't operate efficiently until it is warmed up. In colder weather, it takes longer for your engine to warm, and on short trips, your vehicle operates a smaller percentage of time at the desired temperature. Note: Letting your car idle to warm-up doesn't help your fuel economy, it actually uses more fuel and creates more pollution.
  • Cargo or cargo racks on top of your vehicle (e.g., cargo boxes, canoes, etc.) can increase aerodynamic drag and lower fuel economy. Vehicles are not tested with additional cargo on the exterior.
  • Towing a trailer or carrying excessive weight can decrease fuel economy. Vehicles are assumed to carry three hundred pounds of passengers and cargo.
  • Running electrical accessories (e.g., air conditioner) decreases fuel economy. Operating the air conditioner on "Max" can reduce MPG by roughly 5-25% compared to not using it.
  • Driving on hilly or mountainous terrain or on unpaved roads can reduce fuel economy. The EPA test assumes vehicles operate on flat ground.
  • Using 4-wheel drive reduces fuel economy. Four-wheel drive vehicles are tested in 2-wheel drive. Engaging all four wheels makes the engine work harder and increases crankcase losses.
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Vehicle Maintenance
A poorly tuned engine burns more fuel, so fuel economy will suffer if it is not in tune. Improperly aligned or inflated tires can lower fuel economy, as can a dirty air filter or brake drag.
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Fuels Vary in Energy Content
Some fuels contain less energy than others. Using oxygenated fuels or reformulated gasoline (RFG), for example, can cause a small decrease (1-3%) in fuel economy. In addition, the energy content of gasoline varies from season to season. Typical summer conventional gasoline contains about 1.7% more energy than typical winter conventional gasoline.
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Inherent Variations in Vehicles
Small variations in the way vehicles are manufactured and assembled can cause MPG variations among vehicles of the same make and model. Usually, differences are small, but a few drivers will see a marked deviation from the EPA estimates.
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Engine Break-In
New vehicles will not obtain their optimal fuel economy until the engine has broken in. This may take 3-5 thousand miles.
 

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Running electrical accessories (e.g., air conditioner) decreases fuel economy. Operating the air conditioner on "Max" can reduce MPG by roughly 5-25% compared to not using it.
How come no one ever mentions the defroster, but they always make mention to the air conditioner? In order for your a/c to work in the summer the compressor runs when your defroster is on in the winter so the compressor gets lubricated and the system cycles the freon. If you want to save fuel, when your windshield is clear make it a point to turn the defroster off.
 

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That as well as seat warmers, stereo accesories, etc.

Good information to keep in mind. I never thought about the Engine Break-in...
 

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Break-in not needed for top MPG

Never thot(thought) that MPG improved AFTER engine break-in. My last three new cars gave top MPG from the beginning & that included the Caliber's first & third tanks(33.7MPG on a hilly country road & 32+MPG over 4000 foot passes). It also included Plymouth Champ & Ford Festiva that AVERAGED 42 & 45 MPG from the beginning & onward. What is needed is a mind that loves featherfooting.
 

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The Organizer
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Never thot(thought) that MPG improved AFTER engine break-in. My last three new cars gave top MPG from the beginning & that included the Caliber's first & third tanks(33.7MPG on a hilly country road & 32+MPG over 4000 foot passes). It also included Plymouth Champ & Ford Festiva that AVERAGED 42 & 45 MPG from the beginning & onward. What is needed is a mind that loves featherfooting.
I'm glad the EPA doesn't use you for fuel economy testing. I can see it now...

Hummer H2 - 35 mpg Highway/ 30 mpg City

:str::jok:
 
G

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Perhaps you could help the rest of us and post your practices on obtaining these stellar mpg figures. I also own a VW Golf TDI and am used to 45-50 mpg in MN summers. My Caliber CVT at most had 29 on a road trip (constant 60 mph as much as possible) to Chicago. Lite-footing it (way before the performance detent kicks in) and steady speeds usually does not warrant more than 27 mpg for me. In winter, I'm usually getting 23 in combined driving. From the postings I've read, even these numbers are above the norm. There must be a way to take advantage of the CVT (other than it freewheels below 15 mph). Thanks
 

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Actually Tom, your Golf TDI with its diesel engine will teach people more what they need for great mileage. Europe's been diesel happy for years for good reason.
As for my first 2 braggin' rights cars, they were nice finely tuned autos, but were ignored by Americans because they were too small & each only had 65 HP. The 1.4 liter Plymouth Champ was made by Mitsubishi back in 1980. I'm only 5'9", but my head touched the ceiling & the backseat was teeny-tiny. So a lack of weight was the main reason it got good MPG. The engine also had a tiny simplified secondary intake valve that activated at low rpms! This tiny intake valve forced fast incoming air to swirl at low rpms. Introducing less fuel into swirling air at combustion time, made for a cleaner burn, yet still retained power at low rpms. Sounded pretty theoretical, but my results proved abundant.

The Ford Festiva is even smaller & lighter than Champ at 12 feet in length. However, the 1.3 liter engine is efficiently stowed under a shorter hood than the Champ's & the back end of the Festiva is even more space efficient than the Champ's. This efficient use of space was given over to the backseat. Backseaters have happy feet, & can even have a case of restless leg syndrome without thumping on the front seats....at least too hard.
Yes, back in the 80's small was the way to better MPG & I did...& still do since I still have the Festiva.
As for the Caliber that I have now....I think Caliber talked to Festiva. Festiva told Caliber to give me good MPG or I'd drive the Festiva all the time. & Caliber loves to be on the road. 'nuf said.
 

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The Organizer
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I posted this info in another thread, but it is good info for this thread too.

In a recent article in Popular Mechanics:

"As far as warming up an engine before driving away, that old nugget no longer applies because modern engines have better lubrication, tighter clearances, and in general, are more resistant to sludge formation. Start the motor, buckle the seatbelt, adjust the mirrors, and drive off at normal speeds."

Warming up only makes sense if the windows are iced or frozen over. I can't see wasting all that gas when driving can get you somewhere, and the car warms up 3X faster. Letting the car warm up can reduce your gas mileage by 20%...and fuel economy is already an issue with these Calibers. A Caliber getting 25mpg would see a 5mpg reduction in fuel economy.
 

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I posted this info in another thread, but it is good info for this thread too.

In a recent article in Popular Mechanics:

"As far as warming up an engine before driving away, that old nugget no longer applies because modern engines have better lubrication, tighter clearances, and in general, are more resistant to sludge formation. Start the motor, buckle the seatbelt, adjust the mirrors, and drive off at normal speeds."

Warming up only makes sense if the windows are iced or frozen over. I can't see wasting all that gas when driving can get you somewhere, and the car warms up 3X faster. Letting the car warm up can reduce your gas mileage by 20%...and fuel economy is already an issue with these Calibers. A Caliber getting 25mpg would see a 5mpg reduction in fuel economy.

:iagree: in another post I stated that I wasn't so dissapointed about 16mpg on my R/T AWD because of several factors; One, I was warming up the car a little longer due to cold temps and ice on the windows (using the windshield defroster more). Two, winter gas more than likely doesn't help, and three, My mileage wasn't exactly all highway.
But if the temps were warmer, I would only warm the engine for around 30 seconds and go!!!!!:Racing:
 

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hard winter is easing up

Generally, I've used my new Caliber for nice long country drives & driven Festiva to work. But with the cold winter, I've driven Caliber to work at times which gets warmer quicker & more evenly than Festiva. Having the sweet radio & CD player is great too. Anyhow, the cold weather, much shorter drives, & many more cooldowns for Caliber have made for mileage that has dropped a lot, averaging 27 MPG with a low of 25 MPG. The cold weather has been so long enduring, that I thot my mileage calculator & Caliber were stuck forever in the 20's. But not to fear. The weather has warmed some & I've taken Caliber for sweet rides thru our tri-valley area in Puget Sound & up moderate hill passes of 1500 foot altitudes(not any journeys across the mountains or to the ocean yet). Two Caliber tanks have hit 31+MPG(sorry, Festiva still leads with 48+MPG). So hope the pre spring thaw continues. To those who have had a terrible winter, be glad you survived & warmer weather is close now, except in Antarctica, Andes & Patagonia. ha ha ha

P.S....Oh, oh! Just looked at the news & lots more snow is hitting the Northeast. So much for my Pollyanna act!
 

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Many replies in this thread are giving their mileage without other pertinent information. Which engine? Extreme weather conditions? Any extra passengers or weight in the cargo area? Highway speed? Etc.

I haven't checked the mileage in awhile, and don't have the in dash guessometer.
I was getting about 24mpg mostly highway at average speed of about 85mph - yea, that's over the speed limit - I'm sure it would be higher if I kept it down to 70mph and slower take-offs.

2.0 with cvt
Virtually nothing in the cargo area
Usually no passengers
I don't drive it like I stole it, but my foot does touch the floor and the tach does see the redline when it needs to. :Racing:
 

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Quote:
How come no one ever mentions the defroster, but they always make mention to the air conditioner? In order for your a/c to work in the summer the compressor runs when your defroster is on in the winter so the compressor gets lubricated and the system cycles the freon. If you want to save fuel, when your windshield is clear make it a point to turn the defroster off.
Yes, the compressor does run to provide lubrication. However, the compressor only comes on for a very short time, intermitently, when using the defroster. Having low tire pressure or carrying extra weight would affect it far more than using the defroster.

Using the defroster has virtually no effect on gas mileage.
 

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WRONG! unless your car does not have a/c. It takes approx.13hp to run the compressor, that's approx 10% of the sxt rated horsepower. I'll do the Caliber wave as I pass you in the gas station.
First, where do you get that it takes 13hp to run the compressor? While I don't have the actual hp required, I believe it would be less than half that.
You are implying that running the compressor uses approx 10% of the hp.
Yet 13hp would be just over 8% of the rated SXT's rated hp... at 6400 rpms!!
Being that, at cruising speed, rpm's are about 2500 - give or take a few hundred depending on speed - the rated hp is approx 60hp. Further, when the compressor does run, it doesn't take away any hp - or the car would slow down. The engine has to create the additional hp to maintain the same speed - only when the compressor is actually on.
And I am saying that the fuel needed to do that is less than the extra fuel used by the other "winter" factors: more time spent using a "fuel rich" warm up mixture, more time spent sitting while the car warms up, lower tire pressure due to cold temps, increased rolling resistance when driving through snow, etc.

And since you are driving an R/T, I'll be waving as I pass you in the gas station.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Here's some more info off the EPA site. After reading it, I'm not complaining about my fuel economy.

Winter fuel causes a 1-3% reduction in fuel economy because of the reduced BTUs. It also covers the effect of temperature, road conditions, traffic, etc. Of particular interest, related to previous posts, A/C can have a 21% decrease in fuel economy, and defroster use is analogous to A/C use. Read for yourself:

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/rfgecon.htm
 

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What I see as of particular interest is avg mpg reduction of 5.3% (up to 13%) when the temperature is 20F vs 77F. Road conditions such as slush and snow has avg mpg reduction of 4.3% (up to 50%). And idling/warmup with a reduction of up to 20% in winter vs summer.
Those things combined, by far, have a greater impact on mpg than using the defroster (which is not completely analogous to A/C, as the compressor isn't running continously like it does in extreme heat).
And while winter fuel does impact mpg, it is only used in a few dozen major cities where polution is a problem. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/special/oxy2.html


 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The bottom line is that many factors can effect your fuel economy. I think those factors are greater with a 4 cylinder engine due to the lower hp and torque.
 

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Better MPG w/garaging?

Has the factor of garage availability been mentioned? Even a separate from the house "unheated" garage is warmer than sitting in the cold soaking weather. Lots of unheated garages are connected to homes, so get a bit of heat from the house. Plus the furnace is often in the garage & so the garage gets a few more Btus that doesn't get sent into the house. Yeah, our cars must like garages! My econo cars of the past tho, were cold soaked for 25 years & gave great mileage.

Looked up dwkmi's given website about winter oxygenated fuels. Tho there are only a few dozen cities, they do account for a third of the vehicles in the country.
 

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The bottom line is that many factors can effect your fuel economy. I think those factors are greater with a 4 cylinder engine due to the lower hp and torque.
Now you're talking, way to go!!!
(and just so everyone knows, approx. in Canada does not mean exact. My 13hp and approx 10% are just that, I tired to keep the math simple.) :4-sunshine:
 
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