How to Track Vehicle Fuel Efficiency


Tracking fuel efficiency of your car means that you can watch how certain behaviors alter the amount of fuel used. As much as fuel prices fluctuate, the fuel efficiency of your vehicle shouldn’t change all that much outside the seasons. Rather than keeping track of how much you pay per liter and budgeting the fuel, why not figure out just how well the vehicle use those miles and how much you save.

Tools and Materials

  • Calculator
  • Spiral notebook or envelope
  • Computer with Spread sheet software (optional)
  • pencil or pen

Step 1 - Go Get Fuel

If only one person fills the car up with fuel In the spiral notebook write down the date, the odometer reading in miles, how many liters were filled, and whether it was a partial fill up or a full fill up. Using an F or a P works well for the full or partial. This will allow you to track multiple fill ups in different places with different prices.

If more than one person fills the car up with fuel: Use an envelope to place the receipt from the petrol station. On the receipt be sure to write if the fill up was partial or full. Indicating with a F or P works well. Next, write the odometer reading in miles on the lower portion of the receipt.  It is important to stress to all drivers that this be done. If a fill up is missed, it throws all the results off.

Step 2 - Choose the Time to Track

Pick an amount of time to track the efficiency for. It works best to do this month by month, but for others a pay period or a season might work best to remember. Generally, the shorter the time period the better to help keep the list of numbers manageable. The tracking period must always begin and end with a complete fill up.

Step 3 - Adding it Up

If only one person fills up the car with gas: Pull out the log book.

If more than one person fills the car up with gas: Take out all the receipts and put them in order by the date from the oldest to the newest. Write down the mileage and number of gallons filled up for each receipt.

On the list, circle the gallons used on the second time gas was purchased. Add all gallons of gas up from this point until the end of the tracking period. This is the total number of gallons used. Next, take the mileage on the last fill up of the period and subtract it from the first mileage. This will give you the total number of miles traveled. Take the total number of miles traveled and divide it by the number of gallons used. This is the number of miles per gallon of gas used or the vehicles efficiency.

Step 4 - Keep Track

Track the changes in these numbers to see how the vehicles fuel efficiency changes and what you are doing to adjust the numbers. Using spreadsheet software can make this easy, but just being diligent to track also helps.

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