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The car will run richer in cold weather, especially at start. You may have an exhaust leak. Put something over the tail pipe and listen for hissing under the car. Any hiss is an exhaust leak, must be fixed.
The gauge thing may be an old, loose alternator belt, giving low voltage when things are cold and stiff. A new belt may help. Do a voltage check while watching the gauges..
How many gears does your car have? One of my cars has to do a little over 3000rpm to maintain 70-75 in 5th gear. My other car has to do about 3000rpm to maintain 65-70 in 5th gear.
It all depends on the number of gears your car has and the gearing ratio. The second car I have is geared more optimally for city driving and gets better fuel economy going slower than fast highway speeds.
Having driven several rental cars too I would say anywhere between 2500 to 3000 is reasonable for the average car. If you are driving a vehicle like say a porsche, bmw or audi they may have more gears and may be at a lower rpm at 70mph than your car.
Sounds like your throttle body may be dirty. Take off the tube to your throttle body. Right there you should be able to see your butterfly. Open the butterfly, is it all brown/black? Needs to be cleaned. Your butterfly is more then likely sticking. Get some carb cleaner and a used toothbrush. Open butterfly and spray all around in there. Let is soak up for a few minutes and then start cleaning it away. When you see it all silverish, it's clean. Give it a try.
Hi, Did you notice the motor actually reving higher when the tachometer was reading a higher rpm.. If it was it could be your transmission slipping.. Set your cruise control and listen to your motor while the tachometer starts moving erratically.. Good Luck