wikiHow to Keep Track of Fuel Use

Four Methods:At the Gas StationWhen You Get HomeCreating The SpreadsheetAn Example Spreadsheet

With all the talk on fuel efficiency, it would be nice to know how to keep proper track of it. Also, 'keeping score' helps you focus more on the target of saving fuel. How will you know if your non-hybrid Honda car really is getting 51MPG if you don't keep proper track? You certainly can't really brag about it to an SUV owner if you don't have the HARD NUMBERS to back it up.

Method 1
At the Gas Station

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    Fill up your car with gas.
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    Collect your receipt.
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    Before you leave the station, make sure the numbers match the pump and write your odometer mileage down on the receipt
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    Keep the receipt safe.

Method 2
When You Get Home

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    Turn on your computer.
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    Type the date, price, gallons purchased (and fractions) and odometer mileage into a spreadsheet.

Method 3
Creating The Spreadsheet

If you can't use a spreadsheet, LEARN. There are various articles on how to use a spreadsheet, so just type 'Spreadsheet' into the search box.

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    The first four columns of your spreadsheet are from your receipts, and are just straight input fields. A:Date, B:Odometer, C:Fuel, D:Price. Enter in every decimal place of precision you get.
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    'Miles' is just the current odometer reading minus the previous odometer (i.e. “=$B3-$B2”).
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    'MPG' is the result of 'Miles' divided by 'Fuel' (i.e. “=$E3/$C3”).
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    You can break the 'Average' MPG down into three categories. A 3x sample, a 6x sample, and an overall sample. (“=AVERAGE($F3:$F5)”, “=AVERAGE($F3:$F8)”, “=AVERAGE($F$3:$F3)”, respectively.) This keeps track of changes over weeks, changes over months, and overall changes in mileage, so you get slightly quicker feedback and overall feedback.
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    'Cost' is taking 'Price' times 'Fuel' (i.e. “=$D2*$C2”), and if you entered everything right, it should be exactly what you paid the gas station attendant.
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    'Cost/Mile' is taking the result of 'Cost', and dividing it by 'Miles' (i.e. “=$J3/$E3” or “=$E3/$C3”).
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    To add tanks, simply copy the bottom line of the spreadsheet and paste it to the next line, and then enter the current figures for the first four fields.

Method 4
An Example Spreadsheet

Create a TEXT file and copy/paste this stuff into it and call it 'MyMPG.csv'. It could end up 'MyMPG.csv.txt' according to your text editor, so you will have to specify 'Import CSV' is your spreadsheet software and then force any file filtering to see '*.txt' files. You can load it with virtually any spreadsheet software and save it into a native format with whatever pretty formatting you want to apply. Simply wipe out the data in the first four columns (Date, Odometer, Fuel, Price) and start typing in your own tanks.

"Date","Odometer","Fuel","Price","Miles","MPG","Avg. x3","Avg. x6","Overall","Cost","Cost/Mile" 04/04/05,163,0.000,$0.00,"=$B2-$B1","-","-","-","-","-","-" 04/13/05,360,4.226,$2.60,"=$B3-$B2","=$E3/$C3","-","-","=(B3-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C3)","=$D3*$C3","=$J3/$E3" 04/18/05,573,4.656,$2.56,"=$B4-$B3","=$E4/$C4","-","-","=(B4-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C4)","=$D4*$C4","=$J4/$E4" 05/01/05,827,5.575,$2.46,"=$B5-$B4","=$E5/$C5","=AVERAGE($F3:$F5)","-","=(B5-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C5)","=$D5*$C5","=$J5/$E5", 05/13/05,1179,7.532,$2.32,"=$B6-$B5","=$E6/$C6","=AVERAGE($F4:$F6)","-","=(B6-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C6)","=$D6*$C6","=$J6/$E6" 05/25/05,1553,8.050,$2.22,"=$B7-$B6","=$E7/$C7","=AVERAGE($F5:$F7)","-","=(B7-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C7)","=$D7*$C7","=$J7/$E7" 06/05/05,1949,8.240,$2.17,"=$B8-$B7","=$E8/$C8","=AVERAGE($F6:$F8)","=AVERAGE($F3:F8)","=(B8-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C8)","=$D8*$C8","=$J8/$E8" 06/17/05,2334,7.946,$2.60,"=$B9-$B8","=$E9/$C9","=AVERAGE($F7:$F9)","=AVERAGE($F4:F9)","=(B9-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C9)","=$D9*$C9","=$J9/$E9" 06/19/05,2792,10.124,$2.40,"=$B10-$B9","=$E10/$C10","=AVERAGE($F8:$F10)","=AVERAGE($F5:F10)","=(B10-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C10)","=$D10*$C10","=$J10/$E10" 06/24/05,3141,7.138,$2.40,"=$B11-$B10","=$E11/$C11","=AVERAGE($F9:$F11)","=AVERAGE($F6:F11)","=(B11-$B$2)/SUM($C$3:$C11)","=$D11*$C11","=$J11/$E11"


  • Many cars have a 'mileage computer' built in. These vary in usefulness, but most are worthless.
  • ONLY a composite of fillings over several tanks will yield accurate results.
  • A trip odometer will drop the fractions if you use it to calculate mileage each tank and reset it, so you will report worse (and inaccurate) mileage than you really got.
  • Different gas pumps will stop pumping gas at different levels of 'full'. This can be half a gallon more or less, giving you wildly fluctuating mileage.
  • The 'mileage' computer in most cars isn't very helpful, and often isn't very accurate, either. If you have only recently changed your driving habits, most won't tell you anything about it.


  • If you need the keys to see the odometer, don't absentmindedly lock them in the car.

External Links

  • Don't top off because you could overfill and simply SPILL fuel and waste it. Perhaps even start a fire.
  • - Keep a track of your vehicle's gas mileage.
  • Keep a track of your vehicle's gas mileage.

Article Info

Categories: Efficient Driving