The price of gasoline fluctuates frequently depending on a wide variety of factors. One way to protect your wallet from these fluctuations is to take steps to make your car as fuel efficient as possible. Keeping your car in good working order, as well as modifying your own driving behavior, can help your vehicle to use fuel more efficiently and stretch out the time in between fill-ups.
Proper tire inflation
“Low tires affect fuel economy because the engine has to work harder to push the vehicle down the road,” said Auto Guy Jim Champion. “Any time the engine has to work harder, it is using additional fuel.”
Replace the air filter
“Replacing a dirty air filter can definitely increase performance for your engine, as all of the air going into the engine has to pass through the filter on its way inside,” said Champion. He warns that changing the air filter probably won’t result in a huge increase to your miles per gallon, but it will indeed make a difference overall.
Lighten the vehicle
Champion advises that any extra weight makes the vehicle’s engine work harder, using more fuel in the process. He added, “Removing weight from your vehicle can make a difference over time in your mileage, as the engine definitely has to work harder with every extra pound that’s on board.”
“Anytime the engine is running and you aren’t moving, you are wasting gas,” said Champion. “If possible, avoid waiting in long drive through lanes by simply parking and going inside the business. If you are stuck in a drive through line for an extended period of time, shut the engine off while you are waiting. Stop and go rush hour traffic leads to horrible gas mileage. If it’s at all possible, avoiding rush hour will help you avoid bad mileage.”
“Gas mileage is optimal when the engine is warmed up. Combining trips ensures that your engine will be running most of the time at the best operating temperature possible, increasing gas mileage,” said Champion.
Keep the vehicle in the best shape possible
Keep the maintenance on your car up to date, and if the check engine light comes on, don’t ignore it. “Computer systems on most vehicles are very sophisticated, and a check engine light usually indicates an issue that could be negatively affecting your mileage. Get that check engine light checked out and the problem corrected to ensure that your vehicle is achieving the best mileage possible,” advised Champion.
Do the speed limit
“Studies have shown that gas mileage drops as a vehicle speeds exceed 60 miles per hour or so. Keeping your interstate speed around 65 in a 75 mph zones can save you money on a road trip. Just make sure you stay in the right lane to avoid the faster traffic,” said Champion.
Be less aggressive
“This is the tip that many drivers do not want to hear,” admits Champion. “Most people don’t have any idea how much of a difference driving less aggressively can make with gas mileage, but it is by far the quickest and easiest way to make an immediate impact.”
His tip for being a less aggressive driver: “Picture a raw egg being between the bottom of your foot and the gas pedal as you drive. Pushing too hard on the egg would obviously make a mess when it cracked open, but keeping a light touch on the pedal to avoid ‘crushing the egg’ is the best way to train yourself to keep a light touch and increase gas mileage.”
“Accelerating hard from a stop and not coasting when there is a red light or stop sign ahead can easily decrease gas mileage by over 20%. Driving less aggressively is the best way to increase your mileage and decrease your stress level, all at the same time.”