Gas mileage

gasoline
kia
sportage
fuel-economy

#1

On your March 5th show I heard something about Audi’s being able to run on empty for sometime. You also made a reference to the Seinfeld show. I could not figure out if you were serious or not. But here is my question. We just purchased a 2007 Kia Sportage, 31,000 miles, 6 cylinder 2.7 liter engine, 4 wheel drive which can be turned on and off. It also has the ESC button. The research we did said it would get approximately 21 miles to the gallon give or take a couple of miles depending on if it is city or highway. It is a 15 gallon tank. We were told that sometimes cars are built to run on empty or close to empty for awhile before the light comes on. I have yet to drive the car for an extended period of time. My wife does most of the driving and she says that she thinks it is getting only about 15 miles to the gallon. Plus she says that the gas gauge seems to go down rather quickly after filling up…especially when it was driven on the highway, but that is fine according to the mechanic. I know that tires and air filters can make a difference…they are new dealer tires but not top of the line. Everything was inspected before it was purchased. The car was purchased at auction by the dealer from a new car dealer in a city which I tracked down. I called them and was assured that there was nothing wrong with the car when it left its lot. Any thoughts on the gas mileage issue? Really like the car though. My wife loves the four wheel drive for the hills she has to take in order to get to work.


#2

I am sorry it was Saab the show talked about not Audi.


#3

“she says that the gas gauge seems to go down rather quickly after filling up”

The gas gauge is not a laboratory-grade measuring device. Think of it as approximating the amount of gas in the tank, rather than showing a precise measurement of how much is in the tank.

“she thinks it is getting only about 15 miles to the gallon”

Has she actually calculated the gas mileage, over a series of at least 3 fill-ups?
If not, it is best to ignore her “estimate”–especially if her estimate is based on how fast the gas gauge drops while she is driving.

“We were told that sometimes cars are built to run on empty or close to empty for awhile before the light comes on”

My experience is contrary to this statement. My experience, over the course of many cars, is that the “low fuel” light will start glowing when there is ~1.5 gallons–or less–left in the tank. Or, in other words, the light goes on when the tank is pretty low, but should have enough gas left to get you to a gas station, unless you are in a really remote area. In general, it is not really a good idea to tempt fate by seeing how far you can go before actually running out of gas. That makes good fodder for TV comedy, but can be inconvenient or downright dangerous in the real world.

Your Owner’s Manual should state how much gas is left in the tank when the low fuel light goes on.
Have you looked at the Owner’s Manual?

“The car was purchased at auction by the dealer from a new car dealer in a city which I tracked down. I called them and was assured that there was nothing wrong with the car when it left its lot.”

Do you really believe everything that you are told by a car salesman?
Do you really think that they did a full diagnostic check of a vehicle that was going to an auction (meaning that they did not consider it desirable enough to be sold on their lot)?

My thoughts are that you and/or your wife need to accurately record how much gas it takes to fill the tank each time that you fuel it, and calculate what the gas mileage actually is, based on how many miles were driven. Average your figures over the course of at least 3 fill-ups, and you should have an accurate idea of the actual gas mileage.

Incidentally, make sure that you stop pumping gas when the pump at the station clicks “off” for the first time. If you do the click-click-click routine to force additional gas into the tank, you will be back here shortly for advice on why your car doesn’t start or why it is stalling.

Edited to add:
If it turns out that your gas mileage really is low, that might be attributable to lax maintenance on the part of the previous owner. If he/she was planning on getting rid of the car, it is very unlikely that they did the 30k service, and I can just about guarantee that neither of the dealerships did it either.

Unless you have documentation to prove that the 30k service was done, you have to assume that it has not been done. This service should be detailed in your Owner’s Manual. At the very least, it will include an oil change and an air filter change, and it may also include items such as the fuel filter and the coolant. Even if it is not listed, you should definitely change the trans fluid every 3 yrs/30k miles (whichever comes first).


#4

Thank you for your quick response. We will take your advice. I did call our dealer and yes a complete check was done. As for the fuel filter and injectors, that I do not know. Air filter is new and I know the oil has been changed. Thanks again…really like the show. I learn a lot.


#5

One of the things not considered by many vehicle owners is that stop and go traffic really kills fuel economy. Every second the vehicle idles (like at a traffic light or a stop sign), it is consuming fuel with no distance being added. Put another way, we could idle a car in a driveway and consume the entire tank of fuel. Resulting MPG = Zero!

Plus, every time you accelerate, more fuel is consumed than when the vehicle to rolling steady That energy is thrown away when you step on the brakes. So freeway driving with its steady speed and no stops, results in much better fuel economy than stop and go driving.


#6

In city driving, you also have a lot of input as to how much gas mileage you get, sure you have to stop for red lights but you don’t have to accelerate towards each and every red light.
Riding a bicycle or an extremely slow accelerating car teaches you to value your car’s momentum and puts you in the habit of looking far ahead of your car to see if a light just turned red a mile or so ahead so that you can adjust your driving to hit that light on the green.
Get real good at learning the lights on your daily commute and your car’s gas mileage can actually go “upside down” like a hybrid car’s gas mileage, that is, your city gas mileage can equal or better your highway gas mileage.


#7

“puts you in the habit of looking far ahead of your car to see if a light just turned red a mile or so ahead so that you can adjust your driving to hit that light on the green.”

That’s just ridiculous. The one light in front of you is a mile away, and you can see it, and you can adjust your speed so you can go through it when it’s green?

“sure you have to stop for red lights but you don’t have to accelerate towards each and every red light.” Actually, you do. Stopping is technically acceleration (change in speed or direction).


#8

check != 30 k service. You want a printed work order showing the 30K service, as listed in the manual was done, or assumed it was not - and do it.


#9

Exactly what point are you trying to make? That it’s impossible to modify your driving habits to get better gas mileage?


#10

That you can’t spot a red light “a mile or so ahead” and time your arrival (by accelerating, which includes using the brake) so the light is green when you arrive at it. It was pretty clear.


#11

No really, what was your point? besides nitpicking about the technical definition of acceleration?
By the way, since acceleration is a vector, it is a change in velocity, not speed. You’re not the only person who took physics in school.
However, since this is a car and driving forum, I choose to use acceleration in the way most drivers understand it.
So what was your point again? I’m beginning to suspect that you really are my wife, the way you seem to need to find something wrong with everything I post.


#12

“No really, what was your point? besides nitpicking about the technical definition of acceleration?”

Apparently I’m out to prove that you can spell “tedium” with only three letters. I say AGAIN: “That you can’t spot a red light ‘a mile or so ahead’ and time your arrival (by accelerating, which includes using the brake) so the light is green when you arrive at it. It was pretty clear.

“By the way, since acceleration is a vector, it is a change in velocity, not speed. You’re not the only person who took physics in school.”

The difference is I remember it. Acceleration is most certainly a vector, and velocity is AS I SAID, speed and direction. There’s your vector.

“since acceleration is a vector, it is a change in velocity”

So if something is a vector, it is a change in velocity. Okayyyyy, if you say so.

“However, since this is a car and driving forum, I choose to use acceleration in the way most drivers understand it. So what was your point again? I’m beginning to suspect that you really are my wife, the way you seem to need to find something wrong with everything I post.”

So are you the pot or the kettle?


#13

Um…slowing down is deceleration, not acceleration.

I think the point is that learing to anticipate when you’ll need to slow down and speed up in order to do both in a less aggressive manner improves gas mileage. And it truely does. Coasting to the light, letting the gas pedal up earlier, and increasing to cruise speed gradually rather than gunning it (like I do…admittedly…I’ve entered my “second childhood”) can improve gas miileage significantly.


#14

Um…slowing down is a change in speed or direction, therefore slowing down is acceleration. Turning the steering wheel is also acceleration. Deceleration is also acceleration.

The rest you got right.


#15

No, that’s incorrect. Slowing down is not accelerating. Turning the steering wheel is not acceleration. Deceleration is not acceleration. Up is not down. Black is not white.

If you won’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Merriam Webster.


#16

Acceleration is ANY change in speed or direction. Slowing down is acceleration. Turning the steering wheel is acceleration. Deceleration is acceleration. Driving in a circle at a constant speed is acceleration.

1: the act or process of accelerating : the state of being accelerated
2: the rate of change of velocity with respect to time; broadly : change of velocity


#17

Acceleration is ANY change in speed or direction. Slowing down is acceleration. Turning the steering wheel is acceleration. Deceleration is acceleration. Driving in a circle at a constant speed is acceleration.


#18

Find out what your gas mileage actually is. If you are indeed getting bad mileage, make sure your tires are properly inflated, use cruise control whenever possible, turn off the 4wheel drive unless you need it.
Drive to minimize changes in speed and using the brakes, accelerate slowly. Do all these and you should be able to exceed the epa ratings.
My wife follows none of this advice and she gets 15 mpg. When I drive her car I get 20-22.
By the way, the EPA rating for this car is 17 city and 21 highway.


#19

Lotion, you have GOT to be pulling my chain…


#20

B.L.E., I love what you’ve done with the place…