Fact #818: April 21, 2014 The Effect of Winter Weather on Fuel Economy

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Winter driving conditions and cold temperatures can have a significant effect on a vehicle’s fuel economy. For a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle, fuel economy at 20°F is about 12% lower than at 77°F for short-trip city driving. For very short trips of just 3 to 4 miles, fuel economy can drop by as much as 22%. For more information on the effects of winter conditions on fuel economy, visit www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/coldweather.shtml.

Fuel Economy at 77°F and 20°F in City Driving for a Conventional Gasoline Vehicle
Graph showing fuel economy at 77 degrees and 20 degrees in city driving for conventional gasoline vehicles. The graph also shows the percentage of fuel economy for short trips (3-4 miles) in the city. See table below for more detailed information.

Supporting Information

Fuel Economy of a Conventional Vehicle at 77°F and 20°F in City Driving
77°F - City 20°F - City 20°F - Short Trips
(3-4 miles)
100% 88% 78%
Source: The U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Fuel Economy Website:

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