Driving a car in Winter can not only be challenging, but it can be costly. According to fueleconomy.gov, the average vehicle’s mileage is 12% lower in cold weather conditions. For hybrids, it can even drop up to 34%!
Gas mileage drops for a number of reasons:
- Vehicle fluids are cold, therefore increasing transmission friction
- Vehicles encounter more aerodynamic resistance due to cold air being denser
- Tire pressure decreases which increases rolling resistance
- Snowy roads make it difficult for tires to grip the road which uses more energy
- Cold weather rituals, such as defrosting windshields and letting one’s car “warm up” uses more power
Although spending more on gas in Winter is unavoidable, there are some things you can do to cut down on costs:
- Park your car somewhere warm, like a garage, to increase the engine’s initial temperature. If your vehicle is outside, park it as close to a building as possible to absorb it’s warmth
- Do not “warm up” your car in the morning - this is unnecessary. Experts recommend driving just 30 seconds after starting your vehicle.
- Check your tire pressure and increase it as needed on a regular basis
- Remove any accessories on the outside of your vehicle that cause wind resistance
- Clean out your car. Extra weight in/on your vehicle uses more energy
- If you drive an electronic vehicle, warming up the cabin while the car is charging will save energy
Following these helpful tips will make driving in winter more cost effective and more pleasant overall.
Georgia Gintowt, Author