Getting The Best Mileage From Your Volkswagen

May 16th, 2023 by

Good fuel mileage is in VW’s DNA. Back in the 60s, when U.S. automakers were stuffing V8s into smaller cars and ever bigger V8s in larger cars, it seemed like Volkswagen, with their Beatle, was the only car maker that cared and talked about fuel mileage. The funny thing is, the simple, spartan VW Beetle’s mid-20s fuel mileage was fairly mediocre by today’s standards.  The models currently seen at Volkswagen of Duluth are far more efficient than those of the past but the fact remains that quite a bit of how efficient your vehicle is depends on you, how you drive, and how you maintain your car.

Drive Smoothly and Look Ahead

Aggressive acceleration and last-minute braking can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. If you find yourself far ahead of surrounding vehicles after a stoplight, chances are you are accelerating too quickly. Pull steadily away from stop lights and other stops. Even if you noticed the light was green after you’ve looked away, avoid the urge to pull away quickly as compensation. The driver behind you likely just wants to see movement, not speed.

Looking ahead can often let you back off the gas pedal earlier. If it looks like you will have to stop ahead, you can probably start decelerating now. If a light turns green before you get there and you don’t have to stop at all, it’s a win-win.


Avoid Hauling Cargo On Your Roof

Much of the attention to aerodynamics in the design of your VW can be for naught if there is a big blunt cargo container or a pair of bicycles on top. They can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% at Interstate speeds. We understand if you need the space above, then use it, but consider it a last resort. Rear-mounted cargo and gear carriers are less impactful, reducing fuel economy by only 1% or 2% in city driving and 1% to 5% on the highway. And by all means, if you are no longer using an external cargo container, remove it.

Remove Excess Weight

It’s good to be prepared. So keep some emergency items in your cargo area such as jumper cables, a few useful tools, and work gloves. s a good idea. But don’t let your cargo area be your junk drawer or auxiliary home storage. It varies considerably by vehicle size, but an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by about 1%.

Avoid Long Idle Times

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA - December 30, 2010: A busy lunchtime, as time cars and trucks line up at a McDonalds restaurant drive through window.

No matter how efficient your car is, idling gets you 0 mpg. The EPA recommends driving off gently about 30 seconds after starting and this even applies to a Duluth winter. Your engine will actually warm up faster with light use. An obvious exception to this rule is when you need to defrost the windshield for proper visibility.

When waiting in a drive-through line, don’t hesitate to turn off your car. Restarting your car takes up about 10 seconds of fuel, so if you are idling any time longer than that, you are wasting fuel. There are caveats to this. If you are 20th in line, you probably shouldn’t restart your car 20 times. You will still save fuel but you are putting excess wear on your starter. Obviously, if your battery is low you should hesitate to shut down your vehicle. As a general rule, about 5 miles of driving will recharge the battery.

Cruise Control

You vary your speed during steady cruising more than you think. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and which will usually save fuel.  Steep hilly terrain is a notable exception.

Heated Seats in Cold Weather

Again, we all know how cold it gets here. If your car has heated seats use them. The same applies to a heated steering wheel. These features will warm you more quickly and efficiently than warming the entire cabin. 

Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated

All tires lose air over time, and an underinflated tire reduces your car’s efficiency. Always maintain your tires at the levels recommended on the sticker in your driver’s door jam. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire as a guide. 

Recommended Motor Oil Weight

Using too thick oil will reduce your engine’s efficiency, while too thin oil will provide insufficient protection. Look to your owner’s manual for recommended oil weight and keep in mind the likely temperatures that will occur during that oil’s life in the engine. 

With any questions, reach out to our experienced and certified Volkswagen professionals at our Volkswagen of Duluth service department. Are you ready to take your next adventure in a new or new-to-you Volkswagen?  Stop by our Duluth, Minnesota location today, view our current inventory, take a test drive, speak with our Volkswagen of Duluth Finance Specialists, to kick-start your Volkswagen experience today.