Getting Started in Max MPG - Chevy Cobalt Forum / Cobalt Reviews / Cobalt SS / Cobalt Parts
All about MPG All about maximizing your Miles Per Gallon (MPG)

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Getting Started in Max MPG

OK, so if you are intent on reading this you have decided to drive your Cobalt in a manner that will get you the best mpg possible. The following guide is meant to help you get started down that road.

Unlike the other guides I have posted this one is not a combination of things I have gathered from the internet. I am writing this one myself, so feedback and constructive criticism is appreciated.

Before we go any further I would like to say that if you just bought your Cobalt I would recommend that you do not attempt to drive it for max mpg until you have had a while to get used to the car under normal conditions. Take a couple of thousand miles to get used to her, and how she handles.

Tools

Now that you have gotten used to your Cobalt and how it behaves there are a few things that you are going to need to keep in your car. You will need a pen, little notebook, and calculator.

You also need to get to know the functions and displays on your DIC (Driver Information Center). You will use most of these functions on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at the ones that you will be using to max your mpg. You can scroll thru the various displays by pressing the INFO button on your steering wheel.

Tire pressure- There are two screens for this, and they tell you the current air pressure in each tire using psi the same way a regular tire pressure gauge does. I recommend looking at these numbers daily. Generally GM recommends 30-35 psi depending on the tires on the car. The info sticker on the frame of the car inside the driver’s door will tell you what they recommend for your car. This number is meant to give the best combination of mpg and handling. I personally ignore this number as I am not interested in a good combination. I am interested only in a tire pressure that will give the best mpg without causing extra wear on the tires. Your tires also have a number on the called max pressure. This number is the max you should ever have in your tires during normal use. I go a little less than what is listed, running my tires at 38-40 psi. Whichever numbers you choose to use make sure to check your tire pressure all the time and adjust as needed.

Average MPG display- This screen will vary a little by what year you have some say ECON and some say AVG MPG. Some have a little more info that others like 30 mpg vs. 30.1 mpg. Your average mpg can be reset using the arrow button. Just push down and hold it until it goes back to 0. This display is a little more accurate than the instant display below, but is still effected by a number of factors. The harder you drive your car the worse the accuracy of this display will be. A lot of owners that drive their cars hard feel that they still get good mpg. Conservatively driving your Cobalt this display will be within 1-2 mpg of the pump.

Instant MPG display- This screen tells you the mpg you are getting at that moment. It is usually two or three mpgs off, and if you slow down or speed up it takes a little bit to catch up. It is still a good tool in keeping your mpg constant, just keep in mind that it's a little off. You can help its accuracy by using slow changes to the gas pedal position.

Trip A and B- You will use one of these all the time to check your actual mpg at the gas pump. Pick one and stick with it. Either always use trip A or always use trip B. This will avoid confusion. This function can be reset using the arrow button on the steering wheel. Just press it and hold it down until the number goes back to 0.


Getting Started


1. Reset your average mpg display. I know you are thinking what? Why would I do this when tank to tank mpg is what matters? Remember that you are learning this process. You need feedback on a trip to trip basis while learning the basics. Just getting tank to tank data is not enough.

2. Drive normally. Doing this a couple of times, while resetting your average mpg display each time will establish a baseline mpg for your car and will give you a starting point to monitor your progress. Write down the average mpg after each trip.

3. Use this forum. Read the information in the “All about mpg” section and begin slowly applying the techniques that you find into your daily driving. Continue to record your trip to trip results and resetting your average mpg display after each trip. Also continue to write down the results of each trip and make notations of each trip like what techniques you used and what the driving conditions were.

4. Give this a couple of months. During this time you can work out what techniques are working for you and your geography, and which techniques are not. The constant resetting of your trip to trip results and the constant writing down of the results will help you to develop your own techniques.

5. Switch to the gold standard. After you have developed what you feel are good results for your, your Cobalt, your location, and your trip distances, stop resetting your average mpg display after every trip. Start resetting it after every tank. Continue to write down your results and further hone your skills.


Post up. The standard on this site is to post up pics of your fuel range display right after you fuel up, accompanied with your average mpg for that tank. The reason for this is that the fuel range display cannot be reset, therefore establishing credibility for your results. Posting this info can help others develop their skills, especially if they live in the same area as you, and it gives more chances for us all to celebrate each other’s achievements. You can also start your own mpg thread containing your progress and techniques. You will find that others will benefit from this also. You can even link your mpg thread from your vehicle showoff thread. Why a showoff thread? Cause the Cobalt is hot whether used for HP and performance, or for mpg.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 10:49 AM
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You love your mpg's don't you will
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Yes sir. See, here's the thing. I love the looks of the SC/TC cars, but I still believe economy to be the best aspect of the Cobalt. Check this out.

Chevrolet : Camaro : eBay Motors (item 320481097010 end time Feb-18-10 15:26:20 PST)

That Camaro is LS1 powered. It's an auto with 60,000 miles, but it's buy it now for $9,900. If you were to buy this and put a couple thousand into it you would spend less than a new TC, and end up with a mad ass street machine.

My point is not to offend. I hope noone takes it that way. I love the look of the SS, but still believe that the ultimate Cobalt is the XFE, with it's class leading mpg and wonderful price tag.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 05:26 PM
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Camaro FTW.. Its my favorite American car, but I've found something I can do on the cheap- get Cobalt-like highway MPG, and have 350hp at the flywheel all for under $8k... And yeah, an LS1 is the ultimate American street machine (unless you count the way more expensive 6L GTOs), crazy HP and MPG stock with low cost mods you can have a monster. But a little Cobalt sleeper aint too shabby either, lol whats with my ranting?

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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I full well agree, and I was not dissing performance Cobalts at all. I am just saying I think the XFE is the perfect blend.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will mpg View Post
Post up. The standard on this site is to post up pics of your fuel range display right after you fuel up, accompanied with your average mpg for that tank. The reason for this is that the fuel range display cannot be reset, therefore establishing credibility for your results. Posting this info can help others develop their skills, especially if they live in the same area as you, and it gives more chances for us all to celebrate each otherís achievements. You can also start your own mpg thread containing your progress and techniques. You will find that others will benefit from this also. You can even link your mpg thread from your vehicle showoff thread. Why a showoff thread? Cause the Cobalt is hot whether used for HP and performance, or for mpg.
Fuel range is based off your average mpg so it can't establish any credibility. The only way to get accurate mpg is to write down your odo when you fill up....next time you get gas write down the odo again and the amount of fuel. Then do the math...total miles divided by fuel.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItzBlueBish View Post
Fuel range is based off your average mpg
Exactly. That is my point. People post the fuel range when they post their mpg numbers to lend credibility to their claims. See, there is a lot of people that will claim to get extraordinary mpg numbers when they do not.

I can say that my last tank was 43.5 mpg. What does that mean? I may be believed and I may not. If I accompany that claim with a pic from where I fueled up saying that my fuel range was 545 miles then it lends credibility to the claim.

It's the closest you can come to a dyno slip. There is a thread in the mpg section called "the gold standard" that is where we decided to use fuel range as supporting documentation for mpg claims.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Will mpg View Post
Exactly. That is my point. People post the fuel range when they post their mpg numbers to lend credibility to their claims. See, there is a lot of people that will claim to get extraordinary mpg numbers when they do not.

I can say that my last tank was 43.5 mpg. What does that mean? I may be believed and I may not. If I accompany that claim with a pic from where I fueled up saying that my fuel range was 545 miles then it lends credibility to the claim.
It's the closest you can come to a dyno slip. There is a thread in the mpg section called "the gold standard" that is where we decided to use fuel range as supporting documentation for mpg claims.
I could see your point if range wasn't based off of average mpg...but it is. So if someone manipulates average than fuel range will reflect that also. Everything on the net is based on the honor system and there's no way to get around that.

I believe your 43.5mpg just based on my own experiences with my auto LT. Going 65 I can get very high 30's pretty easily so it makes sense a 5 speed xfe will do better.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 07:36 AM
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i wouldn't run tire psi so close to max as it can gain up to 3psi while driving. putting your self at risk for blow out
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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Max is cold pressure.


Last edited by Will mpg; 02-21-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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