The days of rolling our windows down for quick drives around the corner are over. The winter has taken over the land, and with it our fuel efficiency. That’s right, there’s a variety of ways colder temperatures negatively affect our gas tank, which ultimately affects our bank account.

Why is this, though? Well, the negative effects aren’t just due to petroleum itself, they’re also due to the design of our cars. Here are a few ways colder temperatures affect our gas tanks.

  1. Fuel efficiency is ten percent lower at 20 degrees Fahrenheit than it is at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. When temperatures drop below freezing, fuel economy for a short commute of four miles can drop by as much as 20 percent.
  1. Diesel fuel is notorious for gelling at higher temperatures. In fact, at 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit, it will start to gel and clog the fuel tank filters. Because of this, many companies make a special kind of diesel that gels at lower temperatures.
  1. Peak operating temperature is crucial for our engines. In the spring and summer our engines are already quite warm, but in the colder months, we must allow them to warm up to compensate for the weather. If we don’t, we would just be driving our cars at suboptimum temperatures, which leads to much poorer fuel economy.
  1. In the winter we use heat, defrosters, wipers, heated seats, and our sound systems for listening to music or monitoring weather on the radio. This puts a ton of added strain on the battery, which makes it more difficult for the alternator to keep it charged. This, as you guessed, leads to a drop in fuel efficiency.
  1. Cold air is thicker than warm air, therefore it’s more difficult for our cars to cut through it. This drag in aerodynamics means our engines have to work harder to get up to speed.

All of this makes you look forward to summer, right?

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About The Author Thomas Kuegler

I am a full-time journalist, travel blogger, and digital nomad currently traveling the United States. I'm a regular contributor at The Huffington Post, and my work has also been featured on sites like The Inquisitr and The Odyssey Online. Some of my hobbies include cooking, reading, and having uncontrollable fits of excitement whenever I see dogs. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Messiah College, and in the future I want to backpack Europe by myself, meeting amazing and wonderful people around every corner.