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Driving on E: AAA warns miles-to-empty gauge might not be accurate

Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 10:49:19-04

CLEVELAND — AAA is warning drivers that vehicles fuel-economy display, which tells you the number of miles you can go before running out of gas, might not be accurate.

That’s because the miles-to-empty gauge varies between vehicles, but it’s also based upon driving habits such as speed, acceleration, and driving distance. AAA says because gas is at or above $3 a gallon in most places, people are trying to stretch their tanks before re-filling, but it’s leaving many people stranded on the sides of roads.

According to a study, 74% of drivers use their “miles-to-empty” display when they are low on gas to decide when to fill up.

AAA’s research found that on average, the fuel economy displays of the vehicles showed a relatively low error of 2.3%, as compared to the fuel economy measured by the dynamometer.

However, individual vehicle error varied greatly, ranging from −6.4% to 2.8%. AAA stated that the negative number indicates that one test vehicle overestimated fuel economy by 6.4% or 2.2 mpg, while another underestimated it by 2.8% or 0.9 mpg.

AAA recommends filling your tank before the gas light comes on, around a quarter of a tank. If you wait until it’s empty you risk running out of gas or damaging your vehicle.

As gas prices reach a seven-year high, here are some other tips to maximize your fuel economy:

  • Plan ahead and run multiple errands in one trip, and when possible, avoid times of day when traffic is heavier
  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model whenever possible
  • Avoid hard acceleration to maximize fuel economy and always inflate your tires to the recommended pressure found inside the driver’s side door or owner’s manual
  • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. Minimize use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use
  • Consider minimizing use of air conditioning
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car

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