A lot of people take fuel efficiency into consideration when purchasing a new vehicle, and with gas prices being what they are, it’s definitely a good call. But what happens when your real-world fuel consumption doesn’t match the EnerGuide sticker value?

Fuel-efficient technologies have come a long way in recent years, and today’s vehicles are generally made to be as efficient as possible—take a look at Ford’s EcoBoost engine as an example, which can reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent. Even so, there are numerous factors that come into play when you look at real-world fuel consumption, and sometimes the sticker numbers don’t the match real-world numbers.

How fuel efficiency is calculated

All automobile manufacturers go through a two-cycle testing process conducted by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency, which is how the EnerGuide fuel ratings are calculated. It’s a baseline test that levels the playing field in controlled laboratory conditions.

Why fuel consumption sticker numbers don’t always match real-world numbers

The two-cycle testing process takes place in a simulated environment, which makes the tests consistent and repeatable. However, these conditions do not take into account real-world conditions that can affect fuel efficiency, such as outside temperatures, sharp acceleration, cargo weight, vehicle maintenance, and other factors.

In reality, there are many pieces in the fuel efficiency puzzle; it varies based on many different factors and they’re not just environmental. By knowing the factors that affect fuel consumption, you can start to understand what you can actually expect when you drive.

How you can play a role in improving fuel efficiency 

No matter what you drive, there are certain things you can do to improve your vehicle’s fuel consumption. From routine maintenance to adjusting some of your driving behaviours, small actions can have an impact on your overall efficiency.

Here are 5 ways to help your vehicle save on gas:

 

1. Maintain consistent speeds

Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine, decreasing your overall fuel consumption. Steady and even acceleration uses less fuel. (SOURCE)

2. Check your tires whenever you fill up

Well-inflated tires can reduce your fuel usage by three to four per cent. Keep a pressure gauge and your gas card in the same place (armrest, side pocket, etc.) so you don’t forget to check regularly. (SOURCE)

3. Don’t over-stack the rack

The higher luggage and other items are piled on to your roof, the more you’ll affect your vehicle’s aerodynamics and reduce its fuel consumption – sometimes by up to 20 per cent. Pack wide, not high. (SOURCE)

4.  Roll up your windows at 80 km/h

Yes, A/C usage can increase fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent, but driving with the windows down at high speeds increases aerodynamic drag, lowers fuel efficiency and does nothing good for your hair. Rule of thumb: roll’em up when you hit the highway. (SOURCE)

5. Pre-map your route

Bypassing congested roads and construction routes will lead to less fuel wasted due to idling. If you have to change course on the fly in a Ford, technology like SYNC® gives you voice-activated access to your navigation system so you can keep moving. (SOURCE)

Certain technologies also exist to help you optimize your driving habits for maximum fuel efficiency. Ford’s Efficiency Coach, available as part of the Smart Gauge® with EcoGuide instrument panel is a good example. It provides real-time dashboard feedback to help you optimize your fuel efficiency as you drive your Ford electrified vehicle.

What do you do to improve your fuel consumption? Let us know in the comments below.