Increasing your gas mileage is something that everyone aspires to do, but very few people really know how. With gas prices high, you can really rack up savings when you make strides to improve your overall driving habits and maintenance patterns. With lots of extra cash in your wallet and a car that is performing better overall, you’ll be saving money in more than one way.
In this article, we’ll cover ways to increase your gas mileage based on changing your driving habits, as well as outline some maintenance items to address that could affect your car’s performance and fuel economy.
How to Alter Your Driving Habits to Save Money
Step 1: Limit the pace of acceleration. One driving technique that definitely lowers your gas mileage is quickly accelerating.
Obviously, there are times when it is necessary to accelerate quickly. But if you are peeling out of every parking lot and gunning it every time the light turns to green, then you’ve probably started to notice a dip in your gas mileage. By only accelerating quickly when it is necessary, you’ll save on gas.
Step 2: Drive a little slower. Likewise, the overall rate of speed at which you drive can affect your gas mileage.
This means that if you are driving at 70 mph all the time, you are probably getting fewer miles per gallon than the person who drives 50 mph on average. You don’t have to monitor your speed every time you get behind the wheel, but decreasing your average pace will help you achieve better gas mileage.
One way to maintain a steadier, slower pace is to use cruise control when driving in flat areas. This will keep you from accidentally speeding up when face with a long empty stretch of highway. Just be sure you’re setting your car to a reasonable speed — not far above the speed limit or well below the highway speeds of the cars around you.
Step 4: Track your car’s gas mileage Different cars have different levels of fuel efficiency. These are many factors that might impact your personal vehicle’s mileage — from the parts used to the shape of the car’s impact on aerodynamic drag. Knowing how you vehicle consumes gas is one of the most useful tools you have in committing to fuel efficiency.
There are many ways to track your cars milage. You could use a third party tool like an app or a site like Fuelly. Or you can just use good, old-fashioned math and calculate mileage yourself. You can do this by setting your odometer to zero just after completely filling your tank of gas, and seeing how many miles it takes before your tank is empty (or as close to empty as you feel comfortable getting your tank).
Staying on Top of Car Maintenance
Step 1: Check your tire pressure. If the pressure in your tires is low, then they are not making perfect contact with the road. This creates a rolling resistance which means your engine is effectively wasting energy.
Tires that are inflated to the proper pressure, which can generally be found on the driver’s door panel of your car, are able to propel your car with the full power created by the engine. Underinflated tires, by contrast, don’t permit the full range of that energy to be transferred into forward motion.
Step 2: Get a new air filter. The air filter keeps debris from the outside environment from getting inside the engine.
What this means is that the filter gets clogged up with all sorts of dirt and dust, preventing the engine from receiving the clean air it needs. In turn, the engine compensates for this by using more fuel which means your gas mileage is negatively affected.
Step 3: Stay on top of routine maintenance. Nothing bad can come from staying on top of your car’s routine maintenance, and you could even notice an improvement in gas mileage.
Getting your motor oil changed, your oil filter replaced, and, in general, making sure all your car’s engine and other systems are running well all go a long way to keeping your car running efficiently. Good maintenance translates into an effective use of gas. You can check your owner’s manual or get in touch with your car manufacturers to learn more about a proper maintenance schedule for your vehicle.
Step 4: Remove any external mounts or unnecessary heavy objects Simple physics dictates that the more air resistance there is, the more energy is needed to travel at a certain speed. Similarly, anything that is making your car very heavy is also making it less fuel efficient.
So, if you have roof racks and a giant clamshell mounted on top of your car, chances are this is affecting your gas mileage. Your car is having to expend more fuel to get where it is going than someone else who does not have a giant roof mount.
Obviously, if you need the roof mounts for regular traveling or other reasons, then it is probably not worth it to take it down and put it back up constantly. But if it is possible to remove them, you could end up saving a little on your gas bill.
Clear out your trunk on a regular basis, and remove and heavy objects that you don’t need. (Always keep your spare tire.)
All drivers want to reduce their fuel consumption — it saves you money, is better for the environment, and mean you’ll never find yourself stranded, needing to trek to a gas station on foot. But not nearly as many drivers take concrete steps to get better mileage. By following some, even if not all, of the above suggestions, you’ll see a dip in the amount of fuel you need and your budget will thank you as a result.