Whenever you’re doing a pseudo-scientific study, baselines are important. You know, for science.
Actually, in the case of getting better gas mileage, it really makes sense. Will you know if you’re getting more MPGs if you don’t know how many MPGs you get now?
(Not to mention, tracking your mileage can give you early clues when something might be amiss with your lovely auto carriage.)
Here’s what I do: Set your trip odometer right after you fill up. Every time. I drive until my light comes on, which usually leaves me with between 10.8 to 11.2 gallons to fill it back up until the *click* of the auto shutoff.
Now’s where you look at your trip and enter the miles in your calculator. Virtually every cell phone’s got one, so no excuses. Divide by the number of gallons you put in, and viola!
Another good idea is to check your vehicle’s MPG rating at fueleconomy.gov to see how you stack up. Somehow, even with a slightly leaded foot, I manage better than my car’s 26 mpg estimate.
You should also note that if you still have your window sticker from your 1990 Chrysler New Yorker, disregard the MPG figure. The EPA has changed the way it calculates MPG and most numbers are now lower than the old system. The Web site has recalculated numbers for all the pre 2008 vehicles.(Including mine.)
Now you and I should have a pretty good handle on where we stand. Let’s hope the numbers go up next time at the pump.