The term Miles Per Gallon only seems to be used when shopping for a car. You see it plastered on the window along with the fine details of the car. Typically, I would walk around the lot and check out the difference in MPG from vehicle to vehicle. I’d find the car that matched what I was looking for, and I’d work out the details for purchase. But, would I ever think of MPG again?

Well, I was tinkering around with my van the other day and found a setting that gave me the real MPG. I was driving my van for over two years and never noticed. During that time, it calculated every mile and it was sitting at 19.3 MPG. I asked myself, is this any good? I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to get when I bought the vehicle.

What is a good MPG?

I went inside and went right to Google to research. All vehicles are not created equal. Cars.com did an interesting article for 2016 vehicles and broke down the best and worst for each style.

Some of the types included were:

  • Two-Seater Cars
  • Compact Cars
  • Small Pickups
  • Minivans
  • SUV’s

This helped me understand that on average a Minivan was 20 combined and the absolute best was 23 MPG and worst was 19 MPG.

I did a quick search for my make and model and found that I should be getting 17 city / 25 highway.

Was there anyway I could increase my MPG?

What is the MPG formula?

So we might all not have a little tool built in to the vehicle to calculate your miles per gallon. The easiest way to do this on your own is to fill up your tank and reset your trip odometer. I found a website that has a tool to help you calculate your car’s miles per gallon yield.

  • Fill up your car’s gas tank all the way.
  • If your car has a trip odometer, reset it, orrecord the master odometer mileage.
  • Drive your car as you normally would, and let your gas tank deplete to at least a half of a tank of gas.
    (The lower you let your tank go, the better average rating you will get, but don’t run out of gas!)
  • Get to the gas station and fill your tank again.
  • Record the amount of gas it took to refill the tank.
  • Record the elapsed trip miles ornew odometer mileage.

Improve your MPG

My goal was to get as close to 25 miles per gallon as possible. After finding an article about ways to improve your MPG, I reset my cars MPG tool and tried implementing these tips.

  • Don’t speed to red lights.
    • It takes more energy to get you going from a complete stop so when you see a red light in the distance, slowly make your way hoping it turns green.
  • Check your tire pressure.
    • Not sure of what your tire pressure should be? A lot of the time the inside of your driver door has a cheat sheet.
  • Change Air Filter, Oil Filter, and get new spark plugs.
    • These aren’t huge improvements but they add up.

There are plenty of other ways to increase your MPG, so be sure to check out the link.

Does MPG even Matter?

I am a penny pincher and want to save in any way possible. If I didn’t have to pack a family in my vehicle, I would buy the most efficient car as possible. I need a van, so I want to maximize the efficiency as best as possible. If I can save $400 a year in gas, I am all for it. That difference might be a new phone, a nicer hotel for vacation, or better birthday presents for my kids.

So do you remember your MPG? Let me know where you sit with your MPG in the comments.