Possible Causes for Poor Gas Mileage in Cold Weather

Night time close up of car dashboard

Winter is here and although it has been relatively mild for most of the bi-state area throughout January, the cold weather and snowy forecasts aren’t ending any time soon.

The cold temperatures, snow and ice, and treatments used on the road can all pose serious threats to your vehicle if you are not prepared. Luckily, you can easily stay ahead of the winter slump by bringing your vehicle into one of your local Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers today. Our team of expert and certified service technicians will help make sure your vehicle is ready for anything winter can throw at you. If you have noticed your vehicle taking a serious dip in its fuel efficiency, here are a few potential issues that could be affecting its performance.

Tire Pressure

Your tires are extremely important in winter, especially if you live in an area prone to cold weather. Most people are aware of the fact that not all tires are the same, and snowy and colder weather calls for the right tires to handle the conditions. One thing that many of us overlook is just how important it is to check our tire pressure once the temperatures have dropped. Oxygen, just like any other gas, will compress and shrink as it gets colder. This will cause your tires to begin to run flat, which can in turn greatly reduce your overall gas mileage. With winter in full swing, you need to make sure you have the right tires to keep you safe and secure on the road, and that those tires are inflated to the proper PSI to keep your grip solid and your gas mileage strong.

Heating Up Your Vehicle

There is no way around it, the temperatures can drop drastically during the winter, especially for people’s morning commutes to work, school, or otherwise. Your car will, in turn, spend an immense amount of energy trying to heat up both the engine and the interior of your vehicle. On average, most vehicles will lose about 15% of their fuel economy in the winter due to the extra energy required to heat up both the moving parts of the engine and the interior of vehicle. The best way to combat this initial loss of fuel efficiency is by parking your vehicle in your garage. This will keep your vehicle warmer and let you skip the warmup idling that many people do before getting in their vehicle, which will tank your gas mileage.


The cold is merciless on your vehicle, and few parts of your vehicle feel those effects more than your battery. All batteries will lose a certain amount of their ability to hold a charge, but if your battery is getting older, it will feel the effects of cold far more so than newer batteries. Your battery struggles will not only affect your gas mileage, but it could cause your vehicle to stop working altogether. If you have noticed your vehicle struggling to startup in the cold, you need to get ahead of the issue before you find yourself stranded.

If you want to keep your vehicle running smoothly no matter the weather, count on the team of experienced and professional tire and service technicians at Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers. With 42 store locations all over town, you can count on the Dobbs Team to get you in, up, fixed and out on the road — the same day!