car covered in snow

Winter weather and your car’s mpg

How does cold weather affect my fuel economy?

The weather can get pretty nasty here in Illinois, and for those of us who regularly commute, it can wreak havoc on our cars. Most of us know about the headaches that can come from cars not starting in the extreme cold, but did you know that the cold weather negatively affects your fuel economy as well? That’s right. Learn more about it below!

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car tires on a snowy road in winterHow much does cold weather affect fuel efficiency?

The difference in fuel efficiency between cold weather driving and warm weather driving is pretty big. Fuel economy test have showed a 12% difference in fuel efficiency when driving at 20 degrees vs driving in 77 degrees. The numbers get even worse for shorter trips that last only a few miles, as the difference becomes as much as 22%. If you drive a hybrid, you’ll see the worst difference in fuel efficiency. While hybrids are renowned for their exceptional fuel efficiency, drivers can expect a whopping 31-34% decrease in fuel efficiency between 20 and 77 degrees.

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Why does cold weather impact your fuel efficiency so much? There are a few reasons. The primary reason is the excessive friction that happens in the engine and the transmission, which is never good news for the mpgs. The cold engine oil doesn’t flow as smoothly and quickly as it does in warmer weather either, and the tire pressure will naturally decrease in these conditions. Some drivers notice a dip in fuel efficiency because they leave their vehicles running idle outside to warm it up before driving it. While this may seem like a good idea in theory, your vehicle will warm up much faster if it’s moving. All you’re doing when you leave the vehicle running idle is burning excess fuel.

Do you need a reliable vehicle to get you through the harsh winter weather coming up? Get in touch with the team here at Hiland Toyota and schedule your test drive with us today!