Gas Pedal Gauge - 2008 Ford Focus Long-Term Road Test

2008 Ford Focus Long Term Road Test

2008 Ford Focus Coupe: Gas Pedal Gauge

June 30, 2008

With gas prices the way they are, you would think we'd appreciate anything that would seemingly help one achieve more fuel efficiency. And we would, if it made sense.

Our Focus has an instantaneous fuel economy indicator, as some other cars, such as various BMW's, do. In short, these things are an intake manifold vacuum gauge, essentially just showing whether you're on the gas or off. They "work" like this:

-- Accelerate normally and the needle (or in this case bar graph) swings towards the low end. Shame on you, you're guzzling gas!

-- Let up and cruise, and the needle/graph moves around toward the middle.

-- Lift off the gas and wow! You're getting excellent cell phone reception! I mean great mileage. Well, for a few seconds, anyway.

The trouble with these "indicators" is that because it's an instantaneous status, the needle or bar graph is constantly moving to and fro. A useless gimmick that is distracting at best. C'mon guys, we all know that going gently on the gas -- avoiding jack-rabbit starts from lights and stop signs, cruising at a relatively steady speed on the interstate -- will optimize mileage. Fortunately, this function is part of a trip computer's menu that also includes an average fuel economy indicator, the kind you can typically reset whenever you want.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 9,744 miles.

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