Chevy Fuel Economy Engineers Say Sweating the Small Stuff Could Save $100 a Month in Fuel Costs

© General Motors

In these times of extremely high gasoline prices, consumers and automakers are constantly looking for ways to improve their fuel economy. Earlier this month, Chevrolet released the results of a study they conducted which showed that sweating the small stuff could actually save Chevrolet drivers up to $100 a month in fuel costs.

Two of General Motors fuel economy engineers,  Ann Wenzlick and Beth Nunning,  drove identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs with an EPA estimated at 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, on a typical workday commute. They drove both cars for 20 minutes, including city and highway driving, as well as stopping for coffee.

The results?  Wenzlick averaged 37 miles per gallon using efficient driving habits in a properly maintained Cruze. Driving inefficiently and ignoring common maintenance, Nunning managed only 21 miles per gallon. The difference means Nunning would get 250 fewer miles per tank of gas, while Wenzlick would save $100 a month – or $1,200 a year – assuming 15,000 miles and $4 a gallon for gas:

Roger Clark, manager of the GM Energy Center, said “The fuel economy of every vehicle is greatly affected by how you drive, and how you care for your vehicle. Often, relatively small changes to your driving habits and vehicle maintenance can make the difference between being on the bottom, or the top, of the fuel-economy scale.”

Check out five of the things Ann Wenzlick did to drive more efficiently in her Cruze:

  1. Get out of the drive-through lane.
    “While Beth waited in the drive-thru with her car running, I shut off the engine and went inside for my morning coffee. Idling for 15 minutes burns through an average of a quarter of a gallon – adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.”
  2. Take it easy
    “In the city, I accelerated smoothly while Beth demonstrated one of the most common mistakes we see on the road: Jumping on the gas at every light, only to hit the brakes as she caught up with the traffic ahead. Such aggressive driving isn’t going to get you home any faster, while driving smoothly can improve your mileage by 20 percent.”
  3. Driving 70, not 80.
    “On the highway, I drove 70, compared to Beth’s 80. Again, a 10-mph difference likely won’t add much time to your daily commute, but it will save you up to four miles per gallon on the highway.”
  4. Use cruise control
    “I tried to maintain a constant speed during our drive, while Beth’s fluctuated with traffic. Try using cruise control when possible, and maintaining a constant speed over time, which is much more efficient than speeding up and slowing down over and over again.”
  5. Roll up the windows
    “One of the most common questions we get is ‘Is it better to drive with the A/C on, or off?’ At slower speeds, turning off the air conditioning can save you a little, but I always roll up the windows on the highway. Beth was driving with her windows down, and the increased air pressure acted like a parachute trying to slow her down – consuming much more energy than air conditioning ever will.”

I’m sure you’ve all heard some of these tips before, but now you have proof that it really does make a difference. Next time you head out in your new or used Chevrolet, remember these five things above.

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

[Source: Media.GM.com]

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