, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes)

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Fuel efficiency refers to how a car can travel on a certain amount of fuel. It is usually measured in miles per gallon (MPG) in the US or liters per 100 kilometers in other countries. The more fuel efficient a car, the less fuel it needs to cover the same distance. This saves money on fuel costs and reduces a vehicle’s environmental impact.

Many factors affect a car’s fuel efficiency, which comes with a question like : what causes a car to consume too much fuel? ranging from technical aspects like the engine and transmission, to driving habits and road conditions. When everything is optimized, a car uses fuel moderately while providing efficient and reliable transportation. However, when certain factors are out of normality, they can quickly lead to excessive fuel consumption.

What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel?

There are four primary causes that could make your car consume much gas faster than it should:

Problem 1: Engine Issues

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

As the powerhouse of your car, the engine strongly impacts fuel efficiency. Engine problems that affect combustion efficiency or create friction will burn more fuel to drive the same distance.

Common engine issues that reduce fuel economy include:

  • Worn piston rings: Allow pressure leaks and incomplete fuel burns
  • Clogged air filters: Reduce air supply for combustion
  • Faulty oxygen sensors: Provide inaccurate readings to the computer
  • Oil sludge buildup: Increases friction and pressure
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Replacing damaged components restores proper engine function and fuel efficiency. Keep up regular maintenance and checks to prevent declined MPG.

Problem 2: Transmission Problems

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

Like the engine, your transmission also heavily influences fuel consumption:

  • Transmission leaks: Lead to low fluid levels that create drag and friction
  • Worn clutch plates: Create slipping action that burns extra fuel to power the car
  • Faulty solenoids and sensors: Can change shifting behavior and RPMs to use more fuel

Catching transmission problems through scheduled maintenance keeps everything running smoothly without wasting gas.

Problem 3: Vehicle Aerodynamics

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

Aerodynamics focuses on how smoothly air flows around your car. The boxier and more angular a vehicle, the more wind resistance it faces, making the engine work harder, using extra fuel.

Factors that reduce aerodynamic drag include:

  • Wind deflectors and tailgate spoilers
  • Lower ride height closer to the ground
  • Removed roof racks without cargo
  • Replacing missing hubcaps

Improving a vehicle’s aerodynamic profile enhances miles per gallon performance.

Problem 4: Aggressive Driving

How you drive significantly impacts your car’s fuel economy:

  • Speeding requires more engine effort, exponentially increasing gas usage
  • Frequent acceleration burns fuel through momentum loss
  • Hard braking wastes captured kinetic energy

Gentle acceleration, coasting more, and slow braking dramatically boosts MPG over aggressive habits. Using cruise control on highways also helps regulate fuel flow.

Diagnosing the Root of Excess Fuel Consumption

With many factors impacting fuel efficiency, how can you pinpoint what’s causing your car’s increased fuel consumption? Here is a game plan to isolate the issue:

Step 1: Calculate Your Vehicle’s Expected MPG

Determine your car’s rated fuel economy from the manufacturer specs or EPA listings. For example – Honda Civic LX rated for 34 mpg combined city/highway driving.

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This gives you a reasonable expectation of what fuel efficiency to expect from your vehicle when operating properly.

Step 2: Log Your Odometer Readings Over Several Tank Fill Ups

Track precisely how many miles you drive between refueling your car completely. This shows your real-world fuel consumption.

For example:

  • Fill-up 1 = 317 miles before refueling 12 gallons
  • Fill up 2 = 298 miles on 11 gallons

Divide miles by gallons to get your MPG for each tank full.

Step 3: Compare Expected vs Actual MPG

In our example:

  • Expected MPG: 34
  • Actual MPG: 317/12 = 26 MPG
  • Actual MPG: 298/11 = 27 MPG

Comparing the numbers shows the car is consistently getting 8 MPG or 25% worse efficiency than EPA estimates, indicating a mechanical issue.

Step 4: Diagnose the Issue

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

With your car’s underperformance established, now it’s time to pinpoint the system at fault:

  • First, rule out driving habits by conscious gas saving efforts over another tank’s driving cycle – was there minimal/no improvement?
  • Next, inspect air filter, spark plugs, tire pressures – simple fixes giving faster ROI
  • Finally, conduct checks of oxygen sensor data, engine compression readings, transmission fluid changes to uncover issues

Through a process of elimination, identify the root cause to remedy only components needing repair to reclaim lost fuel economy, without overspending.

Overcoming the Top Causes Behind a Fuel Excessive Consumption Car

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

We’ve covered the primary trouble areas causing cars to drink up more gas. Implementing a few key best practices helps overcome these fuel efficiency killers:

1. Monitor MPG Performance

Occasionally calculate your mileage after fill ups – does it match expectations? Falling 10% lower hints emerging problems warranting a deeper look.

2. Adopt Smooth Economic Driving Habits

Curb speeding and aggressive habits. Defensive techniques like coasting to stops, gradual acceleration saves tremendous fuel over a year.

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3. Maintain Preventative Upkeep Schedules

Replace air filters, spark plugs, fluids based on age or mileage intervals. Watch for leaks, odd noises, keeping minor issues small.

4. Investigate Warning Lights

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

Don’t ignore dash indicator and check engine lights. Diagnose codes promptly to prevent simple problems devolving into MPG robbing complex ones.

Driving patterns ultimately control real world consumption. But when mechanical issues arise, taking targeted corrective action avoids wasted gas and risks of cascading failures down the road.

Striking an Optimal Balance for Fuel Economy Longevity

, What Causes A Car To Consume Too Much Fuel? (4 Known Causes), KevweAuto

Fuel efficiency is the balancing act between engine performance, drivability, and economy. Purchasing smaller cars with tiny turbocharged engines yields high MPG ratings. However, such setups strain components leading to high maintenance costs over time.

Alternatively, larger V8 engines have lower mileage but exhibit durable operation past 200k miles. The sweet spot for balance is turbo 4-cylinder motors in medium sized vehicles. They deliver respectable fuel ratings around 30 MPG in highway driving, with simpler construction promising to reliably hit 150-200k miles.

Given engine or transmission overhauls cost thousands, modest MPG tradeoffs grant years of additional utility. Knowing your car’s realistic operating conditions over its usable service life helps make informed decisions balancing purchase price, fuel costs, and maintenance budgets.


With volatile gas prices, every drop wasted drains your wallet. Learning what makes cars consume excess fuel, equips you to combat declining economy. Securing your miles per gallon performance helps household budgets and the environment alike.

Use the guidance outlined here to catch fuel efficiency compromised by mechanical issues or driving habits. Achieve the ideal equilibrium of maximum mileage at modest maintenance expense, and also makes you worry less about excessive fuel consumption.

Oghenerume Ezekiel

Oghenerume Ezekiel is an enthusiastic automobile blogger with a deep passion for all things cars. With over 5 years of experience test driving, reviewing, automobile repair, automobile maintenance, and writing about the latest models, Ezekiel provides readers with detailed yet easy-to-understand evaluations. His specialty is breaking down complex mechanical details into layman terms that both car novices and experts can appreciate.

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