Cold weather is a major threat to your vehicle’s fuel efficiency; when the temperature in the lower mainland is below freezing, you just won’t get as many kilometres out of your truck or car as you would on a regular day.
The reduction in gas mileage can be as high as 12% when the temperature is -5 degrees as opposed to a temperature of 25 degrees and this figure rises to 22% if you are taking short journeys under five minutes in duration.
You might think that Hybrid cars offer a more economical alternative, but you’d be wrong! They come out even worse in the cold losing a staggering 31-34% of their gas mileage during cold spells of weather.
Why does this happen?
There are a multitude of reasons really; let’s examine some of them:
- Tire pressure is reduced during cold weather which means there is less grip and increased resistance
- Your engine will also struggle to work as efficiently, quickly; it will take much longer to reach its optimum fuel efficient temperature. Again, this is why shorter trips use even more fuel in the colder weather
- You use your warming systems way more and for longer in the winter; fans and AC, heated seats and defrosters all take power to use and this affects your fuel efficiency
- Winter grades of gasoline have less energy per litre than their summer counterparts; your quest for fuel efficiency is immediately on the back foot on the forecourt!
- You’ll experience more drag on your vehicle during the winter months, particularly when you’re going at speed; this is because cold air is denser.
Severely cold weather can have a major effect on your fuel economy. Icy roads cause skidding through a lack of grip and this means that you need to expend more energy moving the same distance. Drivers are invariably more cautious in icy conditions; they drive more slowly and fuel economy is much lower at lower speeds.
What can you do about it?
Well the bad news is you can never fully mitigate Mother Nature, but there are some practical steps that you can take:
- Park in a warmer spot, indoors if possible so your car is that little bit warmer
- Combine trips so you do fewer short trips
- Only use heaters, defrosters or heated seats if they are absolutely necessary
- Remove things that affect your vehicle’s aerodynamics like a roof rack
Find more tips for Surrey driving: Auto Blog
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