Does More Horsepower Mean Fewer MPG?

Does More Horsepower Mean Fewer MPG?

October 4, 2019

You may have heard at some point that there is a relationship between horsepower and miles per gallon that you need to consider when making modifications to your vehicle’s engine. The theory here is that more horsepower results in the engine needing to work less to get up to a certain speed, which results in more fuel-efficient operation. According to the people who believe this is true, you could, for example, make modifications to your engine to give you an extra 30 MPG and allow you to travel at the same speed with fewer RPMs.

But is this actually true? Can you really increase horsepower as a means of also increasing your fuel efficiency in your vehicle? Can it truly be that simple?

The short answer is no, but let’s take a closer look at the relationship between horsepower and miles per gallon in Santa Rosa, CA so you can understand why this is a myth.

The effect of horsepower on MPG

If this myth were actually true, there’d be nothing to stop people from making ridiculous modifications to their vehicles to maximize horsepower in an effort to get better mileage. In addition, a lot of the vehicles that already do get excellent mileage, such as the Prius, the Geo Metro or the Insight would all likely have much higher horsepower than they actually do. Consider, then, how many people have crazy, souped-up vehicles with high-powered engines that get almost nothing when it comes to miles per gallon—surely there has to be more to this issue, right?

Plus, simple math would tell you that dramatically increasing horsepower to not dramatically increase performance would actually result in a waste of energy. Say you have a vehicle that only needs 10 horsepower to overcome rolling and wind resistance to stay at highway speeds (65 or 70 mph). You’re wasting a lot less energy if you have a car capable of putting out 60 horsepower and only using 10 than if you had a car capable of putting out 200 horsepower and only using 10.

Ultimately, you can’t trace fuel economy simply to the level of horsepower your engine is capable of providing. There are plenty of other issues that can affect fuel economy, but horsepower is not one of them.

If you do want to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, there are some simple changes you can make to your driving and maintenance habits. Ease off the accelerator a bit, cut down on some of the weight you’re carrying inside your vehicle, keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure, reduce drag as much as possible, avoid idling, replace your air filters on a regular basis and take routes on which you know you won’t have to stop as frequently. All of these strategies can help you cut down on fuel consumption.

For more information about the effects of increasing horsepower in Santa Rosa, CA, or for any additional assistance with your performance vehicle, contact the team at Fine Line Imports today.

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