U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Vehicle Technologies Office
Fact #793: August 19, 2013
Improvements in Fuel Economy for Low-MPG Vehicles Yield the Greatest Fuel Savings
The relationship between gallons used over a given distance and miles per gallon (mpg) is not linear. Thus, an increase in fuel economy by 5 mpg does not translate to a constant fuel savings amount. Trading a low-mpg car or truck for one with just slightly better mpg will save more fuel than trading a high-mpg car or truck for one that is even higher. For example, trading a truck that gets 10 mpg for a new one that gets 15 mpg will save 33 gallons of fuel for every 1,000 miles driven. In contrast, trading a 30 mpg car for a new car that gets 35 mpg will save 5 gallons of fuel for every 1,000 miles driven.
Fuel Use versus Fuel Economy
Each category on the horizontal axis shows a five-mile per gallon improvement in fuel economy.
U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, Fuel Economy Guide
Fuel Use Versus Fuel Economy
(miles per gallon)
|Difference in Gallons
Used from One MPG
Category to the Next
|Source: U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, Fuel Economy Guide.
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