Fuel economy by the numbers

Save money on high gas prices with fuel economy tips from GM fuel economy experts

Simple changes to driving habits can have a big impact on fuel economy, saving you money by burning less fuel, and decreasing the negative environmental impact from driving.

It's the start of summer driving season, and along with it will come the annual hike in gasoline prices. GM has helpfully provided some tips to increase fuel efficiency that will not only save money, but decrease the negative environmental effect of driving a gasoline powered car. The best part is that you don't have to geek out on hypermiling techniques, nor do crazy things to your car to improve its aerodynamics.

Two of GM's fuel economy experts, Ann Wenzlick and Beth Nunning drove identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs, but used different driving techniques to demonstrate the improvements you could see with a few simple behavioral changes. The Cruze has an EPA estimated at 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The two drove along identical routes, that included both city and highway driving, a stop for coffee, all in an attempt to mimic a typical morning commute.

Ann Wenzlick drove using efficient driving habits, and achieved 37 miles/gallon efficiency. Beth Nunning, on the other hand, drove with a lead foot and did other inefficient things, achieving a paltry 21 miles/gallon efficiency. The difference between 37mpg and 21mpg, on the same car, is enormous, a full 40 percent difference in results. Where Wenzlick would get 575 miles of driving per tank of fuel, Nunning would get only 325 miles.

The fuel efficiency differences spread out over a year of driving would mean that Wenzlick would spend $1,621 per year on gasoline, while Nunning would spend $2,857 per year. By driving inefficiently Nunning's habits are costing her $1,236 per year in excess fuel purchases. GM's figures don't show this, but it also means her personal environmental impact is that much worse than Wenzlicks.

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