But don’t let these hikes pinch your wallet; check out AAA’s fuel finder tool, which can be used to find the lowest gas prices around you.
We love our car brands here at the Jim Shorkey Auto Group, but admittedly, we are a little biased. So, for impartial and unbiased opinions, we suggest looking at resources outside the dealership, such as ACE, Automotive Content Experience. Recently, they ranked the most fuel-efficient five-year-old cars, and to no surprise, some of our beloved brands are on the list. Check out which cars made the list and what ACE had to say about each one.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Combined Fuel Economy: 39 mpg
Ford redesigned the midsize Fusion for 2010, and as part of that change introduced the Fusion Hybrid. With room for the entire family, the Fusion Hybrid offers comfort and great drivability in a very fuel-efficient package.
Ford Escape Hybrid (2WD)
Combined Fuel Economy: 32 mpg
As the most fuel-efficient SUV on the road in 2010 (with the exception of its two siblings in the following slides), the Escape Hybrid offered great utility as well as impressive fuel economy. The newest Escape design is quite a departure from this five-year-old version, and the hybrid is no longer an option.
Combined Fuel Economy: 31 mpg
One of the least expensive fuel-efficient vehicles, the Rio offers reliable transportation in a small but useful package. The interior is not as sparse as you might expect, but it is pretty basic — given the price.
The Jim Shorkey Auto Group has an ample collection of vehicles with a fantastic fuel economy, including the best-in-class Mitsubishi Mirage, both the Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid, the Chrysler 200, and any Ford vehicle with Ecoboost (and even some Ford vehicles without).
And as far as we can tell, there’s only one thing that puts these fuel-efficient cars to the test: cold weather.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can even drop as much as 22% for very short trips, lasting about 3 to 4 miles.
Cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids cause engine and transmission friction to increase in cold temperatures. Also, it takes longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature when starting from a much lower temperature. This affects shorter trips more, since your car spends more of your trip at less-than-optimal temperatures. And don’t forget—those heated seats, window defrosters, and heater fans that you LOVE use additional power. Finally, colder air is denser, increasing aerodynamic drag on your vehicle, especially at highway speeds, causing it to work harder.
What can you do?
Park your car in a warmer place, such as your garage, to increase the initial temperature of your engine and cabin. Try carpooling or combining trips when possible so that you drive less often with a cold engine. As much as we hate to say it, don’t use seat warmers or defrosters more than necessary. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure proper inflation. Additionally, remove accessories that increase wind resistance, like roof racks, when not in use. Finally (and maybe most harshly), minimize idling your car to warm it up. Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner, decrease your fuel costs, and reduce emissions.
With road trip season upon us, prices at the gas pump are heading in the wrong direction in Southwestern PA. But don’t let this keep you from enjoying the wind in your hair and sun on your face this time of year—here are some basic tips to help squeeze the most miles from your fuel dollars.
Avoid High Speeds. As your speed increases, so does your aerodynamic drag. Some experts say driving 62 mph versus 75 mph can reduce fuel consumption by about 15%!
Do Not Accelerate or Brake Hard. By anticipating the traffic and applying slow steady acceleration and braking, fuel economy may increase by as much as 20%.
Keep Tires Properly Inflated. Ensure your tires maintain a pressure level recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. A single tire under-inflated by 2 PSI can increase fuel consumption by 1%. This may not sound like a lot, but depending how many miles you drive, it could make all the difference.
Use A/C Sparingly. This may be more difficult during peak summer months, but try turning your air conditioner down. It causes your engine to work harder, which in turn uses more fuel—sometimes by about 20%. Side note: The defrost position on most vehicles also uses the air conditioner.
Close Your Windows. Windows open—especially at highway speeds—can increase drag and result in decreased fuel economy of up to 10% in some cases.
Service Vehicle Regularly. Proper maintenance avoids poor fuel economy related to dirty air filters, old spark plugs, or low fluid levels. Keeping your car in top shape will save you in the long run.
Use Cruise Control. Maintaining a constant speed over long distances often saves gas, as the engine doesn’t have to work as hard.
Avoid Heavy Loads. Remove the sand bags from your trunk in the spring and pack lightly for long trips.
Avoid Long Idles. If you anticipate being stopped for more than 1 minute, shut off the car. Restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle for this time.
Purchase a Fuel Efficient Vehicle. When buying a new vehicle examine the vehicle’s rated fuel efficiency. Usually choosing a small vehicle, such as the Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi Lancer, Kia Forte, Kia Optima or Kia Optima Hybrid, Kia Rio, Kia Soul, and Dodge Dart, with a manual transmission will provide you with better fuel economy than larger models.