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11 Easy Tips To Improve Your New Subaru Or Any Car’s Fuel Mileage

Are the 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, 2021 Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs fuel efficient? Here are eleven ways to improve their already good fuel mileage.

What is Subaru's most fuel-efficient 2022 model year vehicle? Subaru's most fuel-efficient engine is the 2.0-liter Boxer engine in the 2022 Impreza compact sedan. It gets an EPA estimated 28/36 city/highway and 32 combined mpg. The least fuel-efficient vehicle is its largest model, the 2022 Ascent. Ascent Limited, Touring, and Onyx Edition get 20/26 city/highway and 22 combined mpg.

11 ways to improve your Subaru fuel mileage on and off-road

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
Weight is not your friend

You can improve your fuel efficiency in the 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Outback, or 2021 Subaru Crosstrek by taking just what you need for your camping, hiking, or biking trip to the mountains. Reducing the weight of your vehicle by as little as 100 lbs could result in a fuel economy improvement of between one to two percent. So, if you're planning on going on a road trip or Overlanding excursion, take only the necessary gear and save money on your journey.

Remove your rooftop carrier

If you regularly carry gear on your Subaru roof racks while off-roading, remember to remove it when you get back home.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Leaving a rooftop carrier or rooftop tent on top of your all-wheel-drive vehicle creates unnecessary aerodynamic drag (or wind resistance) when you're not using it. Depending on where you're driving and the speed you're traveling, going with bulky items on the rooftop carrier can increase fuel consumption by up to 25 percent (increasing the faster you drive).

Roof vs. trailer hitch bike rack

Consumer Reports did a study of roof vs. trailer hitch bike racks, and here's the data. CR measured how different bike racks, when empty and when loaded with two adult-sized bicycles, affected the fuel economy of a small SUV going 65 mph.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

The SUV was less affected by either rack type, but the hitch was still the clear winner. With a roof rack and two mountain bikes, there was a 19 percent reduction in fuel mileage and 5 percent less when empty.

With a hitch rack carrying the same two bikes, the SUV had a 12 percent reduction in fuel mileage and 2 percent less when empty. A hitch rack is also easier to remove than a top rack which CR says will help encourage you to take it off when you don't need it and save fuel.

Drive sensibly

Aggressive acceleration and braking can increase your fuel consumption by up to 30 percent. It's better to drive at a contact speed in the fast lane than slow and jerky in the slow lane. If you don't have to slow down for merging or turning cars constantly, you will improve your mileage.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Use the Subaru adaptive cruise control

When you're driving on the highway, use the vehicle's cruise control as this will help maintain a constant speed without sudden fuel-sucking fluctuations in speed. Use your Subaru adaptive cruise control. To keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, choose the distance you want to preserve, and EyeSight will automatically adjust your speed to maintain your selected distance.

Speed matters

It's common sense that the faster you drive, the more fuel you will use. When you move to the fast lane, keep it at the posted speed limit or keep up with traffic speed. There's nothing more irritating than someone driving slow in the fast lane. If you want to go slower, choose the middle or the far right lanes.

Talking tires

Those big all-terrain tires hurt fuel mileage. If you don't do any serious off-roading, a good set of winter/mud and snow-rated tires will be sufficient. You can read our review of tires here.

Make sure your vehicle's tires are inflated to the proper manufacturer's recommendation. The importance of properly inflated tires goes beyond reducing rolling resistance and improving fuel efficiency: it's also about vehicle safety. With over-inflated tires, you risk reduced grip and increased wear. Similarly, with underinflated tires, you'll increase the rolling resistance, which means your vehicle will be working harder to travel at the same speed, and you'll use more fuel.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
Get Your Subaru to the service department before your road trip

Make sure you keep your Subaru vehicle regularly serviced. During each service, your dealership will run your car through several checks, picking up on things like faulty sensors that can lead to increased fuel use. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor could improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency by around 40 percent.

Using the wrong engine oil in your vehicle can affect fuel consumption by up to two percent. Get your oil changed and change your engine air filter. Both will contribute to getting the best performance from your Subaru Boxer engine.

Combine your trips

How often have you run to the grocery store or Home Depot, got back home, and then realized you need to go back because you forgot something? All of those little trips will see you use more fuel than a longer drive at a consistent speed. So, make a list of all the things you need to get and check them off as you go.

Hot weather tips

Running the air-conditioning can place a strain on the engine, which will increase fuel consumption. When traveling up a mountain pass, turn your A/C off, and when you reach the top and head down, turn it back on. Running the air-conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 25 percent.

Cold weather tips

Starting your car when it's cold and leaving it running with the heater on means you'll burn a lot more fuel. Your vehicle's engine will warm up quicker when driven, improving the heater's performance and reducing fuel consumption.

The 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV, 2022 Outback midsize SUV, Crosstrek small SUV, and Ascent 3-Row SUVs are fuel-efficient, but these eleven tips will help improve your overall fuel mileage.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


jg (not verified)    September 11, 2021 - 10:01PM

Another capability of the cruise control is that the computer will use the transmission much more effectively to modulate speed than you can with your foot (where it is constantly reacting to your inputs to give you the best “driving experience” rather than the best mileage).

Nex (not verified)    September 12, 2021 - 1:26AM

Yes letting you car warm up will effect you gas mileage, but not having a engine at operating temp will cause damage to internal parts. So I guess just pick your poison. With my subaru I found using the active cruise control will start to increase your overall gas mileage.

Gulo (not verified)    September 12, 2021 - 5:57AM

I average 40MPG+ with a 2016 2.0L/CVT Crosstrek, by setting the cruise @65MPH or less. At 55MPH, it can average 45MPG+. The car is only rated around 32MPG hwy.

David Pitts (not verified)    September 13, 2021 - 11:34AM

We have a 2002 Subaru Outback VDC Sedan and a 2010 Subaru Forester. I have found that the most efficient speeds for these vehicles is at 45 mph with non ethanol fuel.