FOTW #1071, March 4, 2019: Improvements in Fuel Economy for Low-MPG Vehicles Yield the Greatest Savings

March 4, 2019

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The relationship between gallons used over a given distance and miles per gallon (mpg) is not linear. For example, replacing 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, replacing a 30-mpg car with a new car that gets 35 mpg will save 5 gallons of fuel for every 1,000 miles driven. 

Fuel use versus fuel economy. From 10 mpg to 15 mpg there is a difference of 33 gal. of fuel used per thousand miles. From 30 mpg to 35 mpg there is a difference of 5 gal. of fuel used per thousand miles.

Note: Each category on the horizontal axis shows a five-mile per gallon improvement in fuel economy.

Source:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 37, ORNL/TM-2018/198, January 2019, Figure 4.3.
[Original source: U.S. Department of Energy fuel economy data.]

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