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Consumer Reports: Slow down, haul less, save fuel

Posted August 20, 2013
Updated October 11, 2013

With the increase in gas prices over the years, fueling up is never a favorite stop.

Drivers can't control what it costs, but they can control how far they can go on a gallon. Consumer Reports measured several cars at 55, 65 and 75 mph.

"While it may not be surprising that when you drive faster, you use more fuel, you may be surprised about how much fuel you actually use," said Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports.

A 4-cylinder Honda Accord LX gets an impressive 50 mpg at 55 mph. At 65 mph, the car’s mileage drops to 42 mpg. And at 75 mph, it sinks to 36 miles a gallon!

"We also tested the Toyota RAV4 and three versions of the Ford Fusion, including the hybrid,” Fisher said. “We found similar results with all of them."

Loading up for road trips also drops fuel efficiency.

Again, the Honda Accord gets 42 mpg at 65 mph. But with a bike rack added, fuel efficiency drops to 37 mpg. With a wind deflector, efficiency drops again to 35 mpg. Add two bicycles on the rack, and the Accord gets just 27 miles per gallon.

"If you're not using your bike rack, take it off because it really is going to hurt your fuel efficiency,” Fisher said.

A lighter load and a lighter foot definitely add up to savings at the pump.

Consumer Reports offered more tips to save, including making sure tires are properly inflated, avoiding hard acceleration and hard braking, and turning off the engine if idling for more than 30 seconds.

5 Comments

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  • superman Aug 22, 4:57 p.m.

    My car cost 50k and I dont worry about paying a few bucks for gas. Living good and riding high.

  • hbarnes422 Aug 22, 11:37 a.m.

    If you assume $3.50 per gallon gas and do the math, the cost of the extra fuel vs. the time saved comes out to a time cost of about $5 per hour. How much is your time worth?

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 21, 11:14 a.m.

    10% Ethanol fuel mix reduces fuel mileage between 1.5 to 10 percent depending on the vehicle.

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 21, 10:58 a.m.

    Non ethanol fuel can be found here:

    Pure station at 2727 Guess Rd Durham, NC

    and they don't charge extra for it!

    If ethanol is used in any older vehicle that has a metal gas tank or boat/mower/chainsaw/weedeater engine failure may result.

  • Pseudonym Aug 20, 7:50 p.m.

    Why don't manufacturers redesign their transmissions to run lower RPMs at freeway speeds? You don't need your engine running at 3500 RPMs to keep your car going 75 MPH if 1800 RPMs will do.