REPORT: Don’t trust “Miles to Empty” display on vehicles

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Do you wait to get gas in your car until that little screen behind the steering wheel tells you to? Well, you’re not alone, but according to AAA, new research suggests relying to heavily on technology, might not be wise unless you like running out of gas.

AAA tested the accuracy of In-dash fuel economy display estimates and found their figures can vary significantly over shorter trips or are dependent on the consistency of things that affect gas mileage like speed and acceleration. 

Per the data, On average, the fuel economy display of the vehicles tested 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%, meaning they overestimated travel possibly based on fuel in the tank.

According to the travel organization, 74% of drivers say they rely on those displays when they making the decision to fill up their tank. To avoid running out of gas, AAA recommends drivers watch their gas gauge and fill up when it reaches a quarter of the way to empty.

As the price to fill up has also been on the rise recently, AAA offered these tips to help you be more fuel-efficient:

  • Plan ahead and run multiple errands in one trip, and whenever 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 your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. Smaller cars weighed down by heavy cargo will have a greater reduction in fuel economy than larger models designed to carry more weight.
  • Consider minimizing your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.

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