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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles



Gas Prices: Tips to Save this Winter

Did you know that cooler temperatures can affect your car's gas consumption? No one wants to spend more than necessary at the pump, and the good news is that you don't have to. These simple tips will help you save on gas this winter.

A driver using a gas pump to add fuel to their vehicle.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Fuel Efficiency?

Cool temperatures and winter driving conditions cause your car to use more gas. Cold weather can lead to decreased tire pressure, increased heater use, longer idling times, and more engine and transmission friction... all factors that make your car use more gas.

A conventional car gets 12 percent fewer miles per gallon (MPG) when the temperature hovers at a chilly 20 degrees than at a more temperate 77 degrees. Even gas-sipping hybrids aren't immune to cool weather blues; a typical hybrid's fuel efficiency drops by 31 percent when the temperature drops

Driving Tips to Minimize Fuel Consumption

Reduce gas usage by parking your car indoors, whether in a parking garage or even a carport. Minimize your use of seat heaters and defrosters as much as you can. You'll use less power, and less gas.

While you may be tempted to let your car idle and warm up for 10 minutes before driving away, idling cars use up to a quart of gas per hour. A good practice is to let it run for about 30 seconds then drive away. Not only will your engine warm up faster, the car furnace will turn on sooner, saving you gas.

Finally, safe, sensible driving practices such as observing the speed limit, reducing rapid braking or acceleration, and keeping bulky items off the roof can help to reduce fuel consumption.

Car Maintenance Tips to Save Gas

Regular maintenance doesn't just keep your car running smoothly — it can help reduce fuel consumption, as well. Remember to:

  • Check tire pressure regularly
  • Use an oil recommended for winter driving
  • Keep your engine and emissions systems properly tuned
  • Ensure your air filter is clean
  • Tighten your fuel cap


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