Q. I recently purchased a Chevy Spark and was told that I should get about 300 miles out of a tank of gas. The car only has 3000 miles on it, but it doesn’t seem like I’m getting anywhere near that. What should I do, I bought this car because of the good mileage.
A. The first thing to do is check the actual gas mileage. As good as the mileage indicators are in cars today I still like to check the fuel economy the old-fashioned way. Here is the method I use. Slowly fill the fuel tank and stop once the gas pump clicks off--just let it click once. Record the mileage-as an example 12,525. Then drive normally, when you use about three quarters of a tank refill the tank using the same method-slow fill stop at first click. Record the mileage and gallons used. In this example the mileage is now 12,810 and the car used 10.5 gallons of fuel. So in this test you drove 285 miles and needed 10.5 gallons to refill the tank. So you divide 285 miles by 10.5 gallons and end up with a calculation of 27 miles per gallon. You should do this same test over several fill-ups and then average those numbers together. The Chevy Spark according to the EPA should get 39 MPG on the highway but of course your mileage can vary. In addition the best mileage with any car won’t be realized until it fully breaks in, which in some cases could be 7500 miles or more.