Malibu Mileage

I just recently bought a new 2010 4 cylinder Malibu. It’s rated for 33 MPG highway and I travel about 800-1000 miles a week. I change my oil at about 5000 miles and keep the air in my tires at the recommended pressure. I also use synthetic oil when I change the oil. This vehicle has an information window that allows me to see various things about my car, one of which is the average Miles Per Gallon. Now, all of a sudden, I want to beat the odds and see if I can get better mileage than the Government tells me I’ll get. Being frugal and using speed control almost exclusively on the highway, and keeping it under 65 MPH, i got 34 MPG on two fill ups. When I saw that it could be beaten, I tried to be even more concious and on a trip to Vermont, I tried to stay under 55 MPH and I was able to get 38.8 MPG (verified by the computer on the dash and my calculations of miles driven divided by the number of gallons used). The dash board computer actually went to as high as 41.9 MPG average for the first 150 miles of my last tankful but when I hit the city again, I lost some of the highway advantage.

My question, without getting into Hyper driving and coasting and being a menace to everyone else on the highways of New England, is there a chance that I can break 40 MPG or better if I’m diligent?

Sure, try 50 mph. Folks seem to think the EPA milage ratings are ‘facts’. They are actually ‘estimates’, based on a certain driving routine. Most folks will get something else, some more, some less.

I don’t recommend that you attempt drive at less than 55 MPH the highway unless the prevailing speed is also less than 55 MPH. Anywho, the EPA estimates got alot more accurate in 2008. The current estimates are easy to meet and/or exceed these days. The old EPA estimates were comically optimistic.

You can get better MPG’s by using non-oxy gasoline. It has more energy content per gallon. This may give you a 2 MPG boost but you’ll have to weigh this against the higher cost per gallon.

Accelerate gently, anticipate slowing or stopping so you maximize coasting time. Shut off engine if you’re going to have to idle for more than a minute. Go with a little higher air pressure in the tires.

I guess it depends on what you mean by estimate. The government runs tests on dynamometers to factor out as many variables as possible, like weather and road conditions. Every car gets nearly identical conditions for an identical test protocol on the dynamometer. When you see a rating, it is a real test in a real lab under nearly real conditions. But the ratings are not meant to say what you will get in your own driving, but to offer a valid comparison between cars. So, it certainly is possible to get better or worse mileage, dpdending on how you drive the car. But is a test; not an estimate.

Thanks to all who contributed. I will check to see if I can get another 1-2 lbs. of pressure in my tires if it’s allowed and I will consider shutting off the engine when I expect to be idle but not in general traffic, I wouldn’t feel right. As far as switching to another fuel, we don’t have a large number of E85 stations here in New England yet. If I break the 40 MPG barrier, I’ll let everyone know how I did it.

I mean the EPA mpgs are estimates of what purchasers will get with the car. Some folks seem to think they are guarantees, and that missing the EPA number means something is wrong with the car. Not so, as you know.

Goldwing’s talking about using E0 (no ethanol), not E85. More ethanol = lower mpgs.

I know how you can get over 60 mpg with your Malibu–get a job working at the school I attended. I had to walk 5 miles to school uphill and at the end of the school day walk 5 miles uphill to get back home in all kinds of weather. I always made certain to let my son know about this when he complained about having to walk somewhere. Now if you would live on the opposite side of the school I attended, you would have a 5 mile downhill trip to work and a 5 mile downhill trip back home. You would obtain outstanding mileage on your daily commute.

Have you replaced your paper air filter with a K&N air filter. This could help your MPG a little bit, plus it’s the last air filter you’ll ever have to buy for this car. I’ve had a K&N in one car for 13 years now, 8 years in another car.

Exactly, E85 would drop your MPG’s a lot. NO Ethanol = not oxygenated = non-oxy.

The 2 listings for flex fuel Silverados lists 15/21 and 13/18 for the 2 V8s listed(both are listed as 5.3L for some reason though, and both are 4x4). With e85 they drop to 11/16 and 10/13 respectively, so e85 better be something like $1.50 for it to be a better deal over gas at $2.75

I’ll check with my local mechanic on the K & N Air Filter. Thanks.

I agree.

Drive on the smallest wheels that GM specifies.

Clean up the aerodynamics. Duct tape the hood and the front bumper of the car, though I don’t know how well the engine will cope with no ram air cooling. Tape the hood shut. Smooth out all the holes at the bottom of the car with duct tape. Tape pieces of cardboard around the wheel wells. Duct tape the back edge of the roof to the back edge of the trunk. Use silver so it creates a reflective surface when truckers try to burn out your retina with the high beams when stuck behind you doing 50 mph.

Seriously though, I wonder why most manufactures don’t add underside body panels to smooth out the bottom of the car? I said most because Ferrari does pay attention to that area.

You don’t need a mechanic for this. K&N filters can be purchaed almost anywhere that carries auto parts or accessories, or the internet. The more you learn to do on this car yourself, the better off you’ll be. You’ll save money and be able to take care of the car better. Be aware K&N filters need to be cleaned occassionally.

Underpans = $$$. You’re not going to find them on mainstream cars, the bean counters have final say.