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Fuel Efficiency of Your Used Car: What to Know

Purchasing a used car that is fuel efficient is about more than just saving money. Your car’s fuel economy can make a positive difference in the world by reducing climate change, oil dependence, and promoting sustainable energy. Whether you want a used car with fuel efficiency for your budget, to save the planet or both, you will need to know how to determine if the vehicle is up for the challenge. Check out these helpful tips for calculating a car’s fuel efficiency and how you can take it one step further by incorporating a few habits that will reduce your carbon footprint.

Sales Manager sends the keys to a new car

Calculate the MPG

The MPG, or Miles Per Gallon, of a car will tell you if it has fuel efficiency or simply burns through cash. Follow these three steps to calculate a car’s MPG.

Step One – Take your car and fill up the gas tank until it is entirely full, record the mileage (A) before driving away from the pump.

Step Two – Drive on the gas as long as possible and when you get gas the second time write down the gallons consumed as well as the mileage (B) again.

Step Three – Use the following formula with the numbers you wrote down to determine the MPG of the vehicle.

MPG = (Mileage B – Mileage A)



Once you have the MPG, you should have a good idea on the cost of running the vehicle and whether or not it will fit your needs. You can also estimate a car’s MPG by using a MPG calculator. While this method is not nearly as accurate as calculating it yourself, it can give you a good estimation if you aren’t able to take the car for a test drive.

Standard versus Automatic

If you are looking for a used car that provides the best value, it may be interesting to know that a car with a standard transmission will have a better fuel economy than one with an automatic. While many drivers still prefer the ease of an automatic, you pay for the convenience in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

fuel efficiency road sign illustration design

Ways to Save

That MPG you calculated isn’t the final word, it can actually be improved by incorporating a few simple strategies. While you shouldn’t expect miracles, these tips can give you a slight increase on the MPG which can add up to big savings over a long period of time.

  • Check the pressure of your tyres. When a tyre is not properly inflated the engine needs to work harder. By checking your tyres monthly with a simple gauge, you can ensure they always have the right amount of air.
  • Don’t speed. When you go faster than necessary, you burn through gas. Reduce your speed and your car’s fuel economy will increase.
  • Don’t use air conditioning. Thankfully, this isn’t a huge issue in Britain as summer never seems to make an appearance. If you are faced with an abnormally warm day, roll down your window instead of running the air conditioning. That air can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by up to 10%, even over a week that will add up.

Purchasing a fuel efficient car makes more and more sense. It is advisable to rely on a trusted name for buying a used car, Hertz Rent2Buy is one such name. Gas prices are on the rise, climate change and air pollution are becoming major problems, and we are using up non-renewable resources at an alarming rate. Taking the time to consider a car’s fuel economy before you purchase will not only save your pocket book, it will save the world as well.