Good vs. Bad gas mileage

71676_10150110058799167_639419166_7492581_7343334_n13News Weekend Meteorologist Aaron Brackett took a few photos in his car going with the wind, and then against the wind to show the drastic difference the sustained 30mph wind had on gas mileage. Cool stuff!

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Posted under Wind

This post was written by qni_it on October 27, 2010

6 Comments so far

  1. WI Weather Buff October 27, 2010 10:59 PM

    Oh brother… I feel my Inner Geek starting to stir….

    Now, if you’re really a True Geek(tm) and have traveled back and forth across the country many times (keeping careful track of mileage for each segment of each trip), many times over many trips, you will even notice a difference in East-to-West and West-to-East mileage, particularly in the (roughly) 1000 segment between Chicago and the Rocky Mts.

    You get better mileage going West-to-East ON AVERAGE than you do going East-to-West.

    My guesses for explanations: (2) Going West from Chicago to Denver, there is a 1-mile rise in elevation between Chicago & Denver. Returning it is a 1-mile decline in elevation. So the gas mileage reflects this. (2) Prevailing winds are generally West-to-East in the Great Plains, so that is also reflected in the differnt AVERAGE gas mileage in each direction too.

    OMG, I can’t believe I’m actually disclosing in public that I compute and track stuff like that for fun!!!!

    Wild Geeks Unite……

  2. FSU October 28, 2010 11:21 AM

    Count me as “geeky” too, if this is what qualifies one. I long ago noticed that when traveling from Rockford to Cincy and back, my mileage is ALWAYS better by 2-3 mpg going to Cincy than coming back and sometimes even more. 100% of the time. I’ve never had it record differently. I’ve noticed similar differences going into MI and Northern IN and back, but not as pronounced.

    Heading West or NW hasn’t produced such definitive results, but there is a similar pattern in those directions as well.

    I always attributed it to slight changes in elevation combined with our typical prevailing winds, but I’d be interested in seeing a broader and more scientific study and results if anyone ever decides to conduct one.

  3. WI Wx Buff October 28, 2010 2:59 PM

    From Exstrom Laboratories:

    What effect does wind drag have on gas mileage?

    Wind drag only has a measureable effect on gas mileage at speeds above 45 mph. At speeds above 50, your mpg is reduced as a divisor of the cube of the velocity.

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