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17 MPG isn't too far adrift of advertised. The Sporty isn't known for good fuel figures; fairly heavy car with a small engine.
It won't improve much as the car gets older. I checked our Cerato very carefully during the run-in period and it was something like 32 MPG initially, lifting to 34 MPG after a few thousand miles. (US Gallons, highway conditions). Only believe actual figures at the pump when you're looking at MPG.
You might get a slight improvement with high octane fuel, maybe 1 MPG, but it's not worth the extra cost. Just steer clear of alcohol blends and other winter blends.
There was quite a deal of forum discussion about high octane effect on fuel consumption (higher than mandated octane, that is). I tested it over a distance of 9,000 km, using either 91, 95 or 98 RON fuel. There was no significant difference, but the "best" economy was achieved with 98. The car is tuned for 91, which is our standard unleaded grade.
"Almost all vehicles are designed to perform best with pure gasoline, because that is the fuel the federal government uses to rate mpg in new vehicles , Lamberty said. The mileage gap is likely to shrink if the government switches to testing mpg with E10, which could prompt automakers to start optimizing engines for ethanol blends, he said."
Understandably, those connected with the agricultural industry are rather enthusiastic about products that they have to sell. There's politics afoot here; just as the elderly matrons from farming communities are fierce advocates of dairy and woolen products, the corn farmers just love the idea of a new market for their corn. The production and refining of bio-fuels mostly depends on subsidies, and there's pressure from some quarters to make 15% blend mandatory.
There's no doubt that ethanol will work in engines. The V8 racers in Australia are sponsored by ethanol producers and run 85% ethanol.
I agree that the MPG ratings are a little off. I'm currently getting above average now, but its not easy. I accelerate and cruise slower than I used to, and try to keep under 55 if possible. Speeds above 55 will create a lot of wind resistance and start to degrade your fuel economy. I started toggling my A/C button a lot to keep the compressor from working too hard which will improve fuel economy. I'm going above and beyond to see what the very best MPG I can possibly get is. I currently drive 17 miles each way to work and it takes me 45-60 minutes each way. About 2/3 of this commute is city, with a few stretches of 45-55 mph. I also noticed that the dash computer for calculating the MPG is always higher than the real value. Here is my fuelly profile... RyanOC's Sportage (Kia Sportage) | Fuelly
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