It’s amazing how seldom I have gone to a gas station in the last year.

That’s what buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle does—saves me money and means less fossil fuels are being consumed.

Tracking gas mileage on a Nissan Rogue Sport SL AWD. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

A year ago this month I bought a Nissan Rogue Sport SL all-wheel drive. This came 20-plus years after buying a Jeep Wrangler.

In the last 12 months I have spent $1,582.45 on fuel for the Nissan. This compares to the prior 12-month period where I spent $2,547.93 to fill the Jeep’s tank.

I realize miles traveled need charting as well—about 10,000 miles each of those years.

Yes, I know there is always a fluctuation in what it costs per gallon of gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports the average price for a gallon of gasoline in California in 2022 was $5.406, while last year it was $4.879. So, this would partly account for the difference in the above dollar figures. (While I have filled up in Nevada and Oregon in the past two years, 99.9 percent of my stops are in California.)

That 2002 Jeep came with a stated 15 miles per gallon in the city, 18 miles on the highway. That’s from the sticker that for some reason I still have, but expect to toss when I’m done writing this.

In reality, the Jeep got about 17 miles per gallon on a regular basis, with all freeway hitting 20 on occasion.

That same paper says the Wrangler had a 19 gallon gas tank. I beg to differ. It was more like 15 gallons.

(Side note: that sticker says I paid $895 extra for air conditioning. I wonder if any vehicle even has the option to not have a/c today.)

The Nissan is supposed to get 24 mpg in town, 30 on the highway, or a combined 27 mpg. The best I’ve logged was last month between Chico and El Dorado Hills, where I clocked 39.5 mpg. That was all highway driving.

I am more regularly tallying 25 mpg, which is pretty much all in town driving.

It has a 14.5 gallon fuel tank.

The telling figure would be to know how many gallons of gas I actually consumed each of those years. I don’t have those numbers, unfortunately.

Besides saving money, I love being able to drive farther between fill ups. I like knowing I’m doing a little better by not consuming as much gas but still driving as much. I suppose I could work on driving fewer miles to be more environmentally friendly. Something to think about.

I realize I could have bought a better vehicle when it comes to gas mileage. I could have gone hybrid or electric. Maybe one day. But for now I’m thrilled with the improvement on gas mileage and decrease in the outflow of money.

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