cornflakes

Spark fuel mileage not as good as I thought

30 posts in this topic

So it's a compact car, small engine, light curb weight (in comparison), and I thought it should do much better gas mileage wise to my former sedan

I used to drive. However, I found that the fact the car has such low hp, you have to step on the gas that much more to be able to get a fast acceleration. So

by putting the pedal down, i guess you expend more gas that way and so in the end it kind of balances out to a sedan's mileage.

Of course, I could choose to just accelerate the slowest in all the cars on the street, but I'm not trying to get from 0-60 in 6 seconds, I just want to at least keep

up with the pack lol. Also, going uphill is a be-yotch. It can barely make it up unless im slamming down 5000 rpms.

I'm getting about 400-500 km per full tank (35 L). I'm not sure if that's about in the ball park of where it should be. I guess it's OK since my sedan was 50 L tank

and on full tank I was getting 400-425 L.

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Gas mileage can surprise you. My '01 Malibu gets 30 mpg on the highway at 65. It has a 3.1 V6. I was looking at a '10 PT Cruiser, which has a 2.4 four, and they only average 24 mpg highway. The HHR with the same size engine averages 30 mpg on the highway. The Spark is "supposed" to average 39 mpg on the highway, the Sonic 35 mpg highway. I never really tried to keep track of city mileage, it is always at least half, or less, than highway mileage. Cruise control helps with highway mileage, as it is more efficient. But throw some mountains in there, and it will kill your mileage no matter what. My guess is the Sparks estimated mileage was done under the absolute best conditions for good mileage. Real world conditions will not even be close. An interesting thing about car mileage, even with all the modern technology, is that it has not really ever improved. Today's cars get about the same mileage as a Model T. And as someone who has worked on Model Ts, they are probably just as reliable if not more so than modern cars, when driven the way they were designed to be driven. Performance has gotten better.

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I have driven back and forth between Tucson Az and Phoenix Az a half dozen times or more. Total trip mileage is 252 miles and i am averaging 41.6 mpg at 75mph. I can't gripe about that!!

Rocketone likes this

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Climbing uphill burns a lot of fuel, so does driving in heavy stop-go traffic. These small engines don't have low end torque, they need to be reved up. I seem to average 35mpgs around the city, and over 40mpgs highway. Speed is another factor. I found driving above 75mph burns almost as much fuel as driving in the city.

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I have driven back and forth between Tucson Az and Phoenix Az a half dozen times or more. Total trip mileage is 252 miles and i am averaging 41.6 mpg at 75mph. I can't gripe about that!!

I have also driven between Phoenix and Tucson quite a bit. I used to be a speed demon, but have slowed down. I find that my current car gets it's best mileage at about 65, so that's where I drive. I just stay in the right lane, and let everybody pass. I prefer to make that trip on the Pioneer Parkway, between Florence and Oracle Junction. IMO, 75 is just a bit too much for the Sparks tiny motor, but I do know someone who put over 200,000 trouble free miles on an '88 Suzuki Samurai, with a 1.3L engine.

Edited by Big-Bob
greggb likes this

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I have also driven between Phoenix and Tucson quite a bit. I used to be a speed demon, but have slowed down. I find that my current car gets it's best mileage at about 65, so that's where I drive. I just stay in the right lane, and let everybody pass. I prefer to make that trip on the Pioneer Parkway, between Florence and Oracle Junction. IMO, 75 is just a bit too much for the Sparks tiny motor, but I do know someone who put over 200,000 trouble free miles on an '88 Suzuki Samurai, with a 1.3L engine.

Yes, I have been the "back way" to Phoenix as well. The I-10 can be frustrating, especially the last 4 lane section before coming into Phoenix where everyone is still driving 85mph bumper to bumper. WHY that has not been widened out to 6 lanes all the way between Tucson and Phoenix is beyond me. If there is a dust storm going on near Picahco Peak, I woon't even go on I-10. But like I said, I tend to drive right around 75mph and I always get 40+ mpg. As far as driving at 65mph, yes, I imagine that would yield the best mpg. Maybe even 44 to 45 mpg. And than of course there is the driving around in Tucson, horrible roads, horrible drivers. But you already knew that ...LOL

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Running a top tier fuel every 4th or 5th tank really helps keep the injectors clean and the carbon off the intake valves. I've neglected doing that the past few weeks and the mpg's have dropped the past few tanks. The gas from Shell seems to clean things inside pretty well and the mpg's go back up after running a tank full. Between that and not keeping it under 70 dropped my last reading down to 41.4.

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70mph seems to be the tipping point where the mileage plummets, must be so thing about airflow changes when the air hits this speed, as well as the extra rpms.

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A small engine like this is very sensitive to ambient temp, humidity and speed. I find a huge difference between cruising at 60mph and 75mph. In my V8 car the difference is hardly noticeable. The car has very little torque so wind resistance or hills become a greater factor than a bigger engine with more torque.

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I use Chevron gas most of the time, 87 octane. In AZ, stay away from Arco, AM/PM, Valero, and a few other off brands. Circle K is probably not much better. All this stuff works in older cars, but newer cars seem to be a lot more sensitive to gas quality. The biggest gas issue we face here is ethanol. Not only does it lower power and mileage, but can damage the fuel systems in even newer cars that are not designed for Flex Fuel.

Small engines are very sensitive to everything. I have found on small motorcycles being run at full throttle that the slightest grade or headwind makes a huge difference. And my full sized motorcycle, while not affected in that way, is drastically affected by speed mileage wise. At 60 mph, it gets 50 mpg. At 75 mph, it gets 35 mpg. That is a huge difference. I would expect pretty much the same thing from the Spark, or any other small car. Even my Malibu goes way down at 75. I've never measured it at that speed, but it is quite a difference. The gauge dropped like a rock. So I do my best not to exceed 65, where it is a lot better. I am constantly being passed by lifted crew cab trucks doing 80 mph or more, and have to wonder just how they can afford to put gas in those things.

Smikster likes this

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I use Chevron gas most of the time, 87 octane. In AZ, stay away from Arco, AM/PM, Valero, and a few other off brands. Circle K is probably not much better. All this stuff works in older cars, but newer cars seem to be a lot more sensitive to gas quality. The biggest gas issue we face here is ethanol. Not only does it lower power and mileage, but can damage the fuel systems in even newer cars that are not designed for Flex Fuel.

Small engines are very sensitive to everything. I have found on small motorcycles being run at full throttle that the slightest grade or headwind makes a huge difference. And my full sized motorcycle, while not affected in that way, is drastically affected by speed mileage wise. At 60 mph, it gets 50 mpg. At 75 mph, it gets 35 mpg. That is a huge difference. I would expect pretty much the same thing from the Spark, or any other small car. Even my Malibu goes way down at 75. I've never measured it at that speed, but it is quite a difference. The gauge dropped like a rock. So I do my best not to exceed 65, where it is a lot better. I am constantly being passed by lifted crew cab trucks doing 80 mph or more, and have to wonder just how they can afford to put gas in those things.

You wonder how the owners of the monster trucks can afford to put gas in them? Answer.....half of them can't. That's why 60 to 70% of the inventory on most used car lots are monster trucks!! You see these guys in their souped up Rams or whatever costing upwards of 60 grand, yet they live in some crappy trailer worth 3 or 4 grand !!! I'm not trying to judge, it is a free country, but I just don't understand some folks priorities????

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You wonder how the owners of the monster trucks can afford to put gas in them? Answer.....half of them can't. That's why 60 to 70% of the inventory on most used car lots are monster trucks!! You see these guys in their souped up Rams or whatever costing upwards of 60 grand, yet they live in some crappy trailer worth 3 or 4 grand !!! I'm not trying to judge, it is a free country, but I just don't understand some folks priorities????

Well, you know the old saying: you can sleep in your car, but you can't cruise in your house! :)

Smikster likes this

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everytime I get behind a big truck my mpg jumps

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everytime I get behind a big truck my mpg jumps

haha, good idea...i'll drive behind a big truck to protect me from wind resisitance....but the drawback is u might get a lot of rocks cracking the windshield. :(

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45mph cruise




todays cruise (at 45)

Edited by Smikster
greggb and Gossamer like this

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Whoa! I think that's the new high score! :)

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sorry can you explain that reading? How do you set it up so that it can tell you how many miles you traveled per gallon?

Does that tell you how many miles you traveled total since you reset it to 0 today? Or is that an accumulation of several days of driving?

I'm still trying to figure out how I can set the reading to 0 when i fill up the tank with gas so that I can see exactly how many km/miles

i've travelled from fill up to fill up.

Edited by cornflakes

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sorry can you explain that reading? How do you set it up so that it can tell you how many miles you traveled per gallon?

Does that tell you how many miles you traveled total since you reset it to 0 today? Or is that an accumulation of several days of driving?

I'm still trying to figure out how I can set the reading to 0 when i fill up the tank with gas so that I can see exactly how many km/miles

i've travelled from fill up to fill up.

you just select it and hold the reset button, I reset everything every fill up. If you still need help i'd be happy to post a vid thuesday

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That might only be available on the m350 models or only in some countries so yours may not have it.

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Canadians, please translate these Ls and KMs to something more understandable to your southern neighbors.

Maybe I need to make a video "How to drive your spark up a hill".

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If at all possible, try and find fuel with NO ethanol. On the first tank you will see a mpg gain of between 3 and 4 mpg on that first tank !!! I have and am on my second tank of it now. Average went from around 41mpg to over 44mpg,,,same type of driving, etc. :-) Ethanol in gas was a STUPID idea in the first place,,,,it accomplishes nothing !!!

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And another thing....ethanol is NOT good for the oxygen sensors, it causes them to malfunction much more frequently than they should. This in turn can shorten the life of a catalytic converter also. Ethanol in automotive fuel is simply a bad, bad idea. One gets less mpg and in the long run must just buy more gas than they otherwise would have to. Ethanol in gas is one of the dumbest ideas ever conceived. It really angers me actually!!! There just are not ANY positive results in adding ethanol to gasoline. NONE.

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Brazil loves e85, the ethanol will help reduce some emissions, but it works best in really high concentrations. One thing about the e85, you can run a really high compression or really high boost, this brings the efficiency back up, but you can't do this in a multi fuel car.

The e10 definitely has a lower energy per volume than full gasoline, I forget the actual percentage, but it is more than insignificant.

greggb likes this

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Brazil loves e85, the ethanol will help reduce some emissions, but it works best in really high concentrations. One thing about the e85, you can run a really high compression or really high boost, this brings the efficiency back up, but you can't do this in a multi fuel car.

The e10 definitely has a lower energy per volume than full gasoline, I forget the actual percentage, but it is more than insignificant.

In the future (near future I believe), we will look back and realize how STUPID it was to put ethanol in gas. It is as I said prior,,,senseless. Almost makes me want to move to Alaska where NO gas has ethanol added. Problem is I hate cold weather and winters. I can only imagine how gas mileage drops in places that have cold winters and one is forced to use gas that has 10% ethanol added. I started using non ethanol in my Spark(now on third tank), and my mileage has gone up from 41mpg to nearly 45mpg....same type of driving, etc. I can even feel the better performance. And now I'm not screwing up the oxygen sensors and other fuel related components.

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The biggest farce with E10 gas?

It takes MORE THAN A GALLON of fossil fuel to product a gallon of Ethanol ...

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