You don’t need to be John Maynard Keynes or Adam Smith to understand the economy. I mean, I don’t, but the list of things I don’t understand is substantially longer than the list of things I do. And that’s okay, because I know about the important stuff. Like how to grill a mean burger, or a tender steak, or chicken thighs. Basically everything about grilling, and fuel economy. And when it comes to fuel economy, I’m like Will Hunting (the genius part, not the janitor part). If you’ve ever wondered about what fuel economy is, or how it’s calculated, then we’ve got the blog for you.
According to Wikipedia, the world’s most accurate encyclopedia, the fuel economy of a vehicle is “the relationship between the distance traveled and the amount of fuel consumed by the vehicle”. Sounds simple right? Wrong! There are so many factors involved that if you were to take a list of the things I don’t understand and put it beside a list of things I do understand, and then put those beside a list of factors in a vehicle’s fuel economy, two of those lists would tower over the third (although, as I’m writing this, I realize I can add self deprecation/awareness to the list of things I do know). It’s not that understanding fuel economy isn’t simple, but the amount of factors can make it tough to maintain the fuel economy that comes on the brochure.
Basically, those gaudy fuel economy numbers the manufacturer provides about their vehicles constitute a vehicle’s peak performance, which can decrease by the way you drive, including (but not limited to):
- Heavy braking or acceleration
- Vehicle (or towing) weight
- Excessive short trips
- Frequent cold weather
Unfortunately the cold weather is just something us fine Albertans have to deal with (on what feels like a way too frequent basis), and sometimes, a quick trip to the grocery store is unavoidable (sick kids need popsicles, and pregnant wives need peanut butter to dip their pickles into). But when it comes to heavy vehicle weight, or large towing loads, driving a Ford already puts you at an advantage. Few manufacturers’ vehicles —in any class— can keep up with the towing capacity offered by Ford vehicles. As far as heavy braking and acceleration is concerned, you can probably adjust your driving style accordingly. But this type of driving negatively affects fuel economy because the vehicle has to switch gears at a faster rate; luckily, this is where Ford’s 10-speed transmission really shines—or you could just relax and drive in a more smooth, measured way. Which brings us to speeding. Yes, it can be fun (on the race track), but not only are you risking tickets and demerits, leading to painful insurance premiums, you’ll also be burning through gas substantially faster. The faster the tachometer goes up, the faster your fuel economy goes down.
Not only does your driving style affect your fuel economy, but your vehicle’s condition plays a huge role in the distance you can get per litre of fuel. This would be another great time for us to remind you about getting your regularly scheduled maintenance—the low cost (assuming it isn’t still covered by warranty) can be negated by what you save on fuel in the long run. Remember, this is chess, not checkers (and definitely not Connect 4). Some of the ways your vehicle’s condition could affect your fuel economy, in no particular order, are:
- Poor maintenance
- Spark plug issues
- Fuel injector problems
- Oil type
- Tire and alignment problems
So we hate to beat on dead horses (who are we kidding, we just imagine them in Stampeders jerseys) but maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! We’d have to write a hundred blogs a day before we could exhaust the importance of this simple (and pain-free thanks to Team Ford’s Quick Lane service department) aspect of vehicle ownership. When your vehicle isn’t running in top condition, it won’t get its top fuel economy. This means things like spark plugs; misfires equal a lack of combustion which equal a lack of fuel economy. Same thing with fuel injectors—which is why Team Ford offers fuel system servicing. When those injectors are injecting the proper amount of fuel, carefully calculated by the engineers in Dearborn, your fuel economy will improve. Using the proper motor oil, which in addition to reducing the friction in your engine, can improve your mileage by up to 12%. It’s the lifeblood of your vehicle, and you wouldn’t expect to run at 100% if you were missing blood, would you? But seriously though—I made an appointment to give blood before a marathon and I really want to know. The tire thing, well, we don’t want to beat any more dead horses lest PETA come after us.
Will Hunting turned down a job at the NSA but he was still smart (or is it smaaht?Or is it wicked smaaht?) enough to listen to me when it comes to fuel economy. On the surface, it seems simple. How far can you go on a tank of gas. But much like Will Hunting, there is a lot going on underneath the surface and if you aren’t careful you’ll miss it. Now, on a completely unrelated note, I’ve got a Matt Damon film to enjoy. But I’ll leave you with this: Do you like apples? Yeah. Well, if you don’t drive cautiously and take care of your vehicle, you’ll be spending hours in a line at the Costco gas station just so you can save a few bucks on your bloated fuel bill. Now how do you like them apples?