When I bought my 2009 Toyota Tacoma last year I knew from the start that I wanted to have an accurate recording of the mileage my truck would get. That way I would know for sure the best driving practices for the vehicle, best stations to fill up at, and effect that alterations to the truck would have. This desire for better information seems logical to me…it is not the case for everyone. I have received quite a bit of grief on account of my mileage records, so I would like to hear what you think. Let me know if you think the data I have been gathering is a valuable resource or I am just getting carried away with an unreasonable desire for more information.
Each time I fill the tank on my Tacoma, I take the receipt and write down the current mileage on the odometer. The receipt goes into the center counsel and every few months I collect these receipts and update my record. Here is an excerpt of my mileage record for the month of July:
Pretty simple so far, right? It takes me about 5 minutes to update two months worth of data into this system, and in my opinion, yields some very interesting, if not useful, information. For example, I know that since I picked up the truck may of last year there has been no significant increase or decrease in gas mileage as the engine breaks in. I know my average miles per gallon (18.23), how much I have spent on fuel for the Tacoma ($2,832.17), which gas station provides the most efficient fuel on average (Sunoco, 18.09, (Gulf is the technical leader with 18.56 but with only two visits I feel I have insufficient data to confidentially declare them superior)), I even know how much it cost me for each mile I drive (16 cents). As a side note, knowing for certain how much you spend on fuel and how much each mile cost you to drive is a great way to increase your consciousness and reduce unnecessary driving.
Recently I broke it down even further so I knew how far I drive and how much I spend each month (on average 1097.25 miles and $171.55 per month). I know for certain that the most efficient driving method is at highway speeds over long distances, traveling closely behind a large camper on your way to New Hampshire (21.37 mpg). I also know the most inefficient method is in the dead of February winter using 4-wheel drive to get through the city snow (16.33 mpg). I have a few alterations planed for the truck as well, the one I expect to effect this mileage record the most is the addition of a soft top tonneau cover. When that gets installed I will receive nearly immediate feedback as to its effect on gas mileage. To me this information seems highly valuable, to both understand the best driving styles, as well as to familiarize yourself more closely with your vehicle.
If you do find, like myself, that you would like to have this information about your vehicle, but would not like to go through the process of setting up your own spreadsheet, just let me know and I would be happy to share mine with you.