When it comes to the cost of operating a vehicle, fuel is a significant expense. In fact, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientist, many Americans will spend almost as much on fuel for their car over the lifetime of the vehicle as they did to purchase it. One way drivers can decrease the strain on their wallets is to increase the fuel efficiency to get the best possible gas mileage.
Getting better gas mileage is essential for several reasons:
- It saves money. Adopting the right driving and vehicle maintenance habits will help you save a few dollars every time you ride your car. These dollars will add up into considerable amounts at the end of the year. Plus, with the ever-increasing gas prices, we want to get as many miles as we can from our gas tanks.
- It keeps your vehicle in its best shape. Many of the habits you need to learn to save on gas mileage are good habits that take care of your car as a whole.
- It reduces CO2 emissions. While we wait for electric cars and hybrid cars to be more available, we can still help the environment with our regular cars. By burning less gasoline and diesel, we can help reduce the effects of our vehicles on the environment.
- It increases energy sustainability. As we all know, oil is a non-renewable energy. Using it wisely is key to our well-being and that of the planet.
There are plenty of ways to save miles per gallon in your current ride. Here are our 6 top tips on how to get better gas mileage.
6.) Know Your Fuel Lingo
Change Your Fuel Filter
If there is one filter that directly impacts your gas consumption and mileage, it is the fuel filter.
The fuel filter makes sure the gas that travels through the car doesn’t have any impurity that could get mixed up into the fuel system. If that happens, the gas isn’t doing its job correctly. That means that you will be pumping more gas at the station. It also means that the engine might start stalling and refusing to restart.
Check your fuel filter to keep your vehicle’s performance and gas mileage at their optimal levels.
Choose the Right Fuel
The first thing to do when you’re wondering how to get better gas mileage is to choose the recommended motor oil for your vehicle.
Every engine works best with its own motor oil. A heavier weight oil than the one recommended can result in more friction and requires more fuel.
By using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil, you can improve gas mileage by 1% to 2%. To take it a step further, look for motor oil that has an “Energy Conserving” label on the API performance symbol, as it contains friction-reducing additives.
Look into your fuel door to find the grade of fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
Use Fuel Additives
Fuel additives that contain polybutene amine (PBA) can help you restore your engine’s performance. It can clean out deposits and help lower your carbon footprint.
Be careful with fuel additives, though. Using too much can cause damage and ruin some car features like sensors. Ask for a fuel additive that is right for your vehicle.
5.) Keep Your Vehicle in Shape
Do Regular Checks
To keep your car running and requiring low gas usage, regularly check your vehicle for the following:
- Air filter: This part needs to be changed or replaced to allow it to draw more air. The air filter can get clogged up with dust and debris, which makes it harder for the filter to bring air to mix with the fuel. This operation increases fuel consumption, especially in cars that are ten years old or older. You can replace your car’s air filter by purchasing a replacement here, or you can have your mechanic perform the task the next time you have your oil changed.
- Engine oil: You should have this oil changed at regular intervals.
- Fuel injectors: These need to be cleaned with an ultrasonic bath occasionally. This one is expensive, but it is worth it. Your fuel injectors get soaked in a solution and then are exposed to ultra-high frequency sound vibrations that shake any deposits clogging them up.
- Gas cap seal: Check the rubber seal on your gas cap. They tend to break down with time, which leaves the oxygen enough room to leak into the gas tank. As more air enters the engine, the engine burns more gas. One easy way to remedy this is by replacing your gas cap. You can find one to fit your model here. Most are affordable, costing under $20.
- Spark plugs: Your car’s spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture with your engine’s combustion chamber. New spark plugs will help your engine run more efficiently. You can find spark plugs online to do the work yourself, or you can hire the job out.
Fix Any Problems Quickly
If you’re asking how to get better gas mileage, fix any issues with your car quickly. Don’t wait for your engine to break down to look for what’s wrong with it. In doing so, you’re burning more fuel and jeopardizing your car.
Run emission tests on your car to figure out if it is out of tune. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor, for example, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.
To have more choices at your disposal when the times comes to change something in your car, head here for the best sites for auto parts stores.
Keep Your Tires Inflated
Under-inflated tires are a huge culprit in maintaining max MPGs. When tires aren’t at the proper PSIs (Pounds per Square Inch), they have more rolling resistance. More rolling resistance requires more gas burning to get them in motion. Having your tires underinflated by 10 PSI per tire can cost you more than five MPG or worse.
Inflated tires are also crucial for your safety and proper tire wear. For example, if your tire pressures are 5 PSI below the recommended amount only, fuel consumption goes up by 2%
We recommend keeping a tire pressure gage in your glove compartment and checking the air every so often. Wait until after the tires have had a chance to cool down to check them (hot tires can affect your PSI reading). You can do a tire check before heading off to work, for example. You can see how much proper inflation you need either by either looking in the car’s owner manual or a label inside of the door jamb. Here are some more tire maintenance tips to be safe on the road.
To ensure your tires are correctly inflated, check them with the Slime 20017 Digital Tire Gauge with Lighted Tip. It contains an LCD that is easy-to-read and has a lighted tip so you can use it even at night or when light is low.
4.) Watch Your Driving Habits
Become Less Aggressive
When we say aggressive, we aren’t saying you are the type of driver that runs cars off the road. Aggressive drivers like to hit the gas at the red lights, zoom past others in the passing lanes, and generally slow down and speed up erratically. These behaviors push your car harder.
Chilling out and becoming a smoother, calmer, driver who doesn’t speed up as fast as they can, only to slow down thirty feet later, can save you a lot on gas down the line.
Plan Your Trips
Combine your trips to drive less and avoid rush hours.
If you run multiple errands per day or week, try to find an optimized route to take to visit as many places as possible in a single trip. This way, you will be starting your engine with a warm start instead of a cold one and drive shorter distances.
Bonus info: Driving shorter distances helps you optimize your gas mileage, but it will also help you get better car insurance deals. One of the first things you need to fill out on a car insurance quote is the estimated annual mileage. The lower it is, the lower your chances are of getting into a car accident, and thus the higher your chances are at getting a better insurance deal.
Use Cruise Control on the Highway
Frequently accelerating and decelerating is not the best way to keep gas in your tank. Maintaining a constant speed will usually help you increase MPGs. If you have the patience and live in a state where average highway speeds are 55, try using your speed control to go the posted speed and calculate how much gas you save. You might be surprised.
3.) Drive Smart on Colder Days
Winter is one of the most fuel-consuming seasons. Here is what to do to keep your fuel economy resolutions in check in during the colder days.
Choose the Right Winter Tires
Winter tires are well-known for losing MPGs, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Different types of tires, including all-terrain tires, tires for snow and tires for rain, have tread patterns that create more resistance on snowy and wet roads. The wrong kind of tire tends to burn more fuel, but it doesn’t need to be that way though.
Look for low-resistance winter tires with less drag to help you with fuel economy.
Fill Up Your Car Early in the Morning
You can use the cold to your advantage. Diesel and gasoline are denser when it’s cold, and thus take up less space in your tank. If you fill up your tank in the middle of the day or the afternoon, the fuel expands. Your liter is then slightly less than an exact liter. When fuel density changes, the energy in each unit of fuel changes subsequently.
Many people like to warm up their car for at least 10 minutes during winter. It is not necessary, though. The car fluids will be moving in their systems in one minute or less and don’t need more time than that.
Some drivers also run their engines for a longer time to raise the temperature inside. There some ways around doing that if your top priority is fuel economy. You can pack some scarves or mittens or invest in an interior car warmer. The latter can heat your vehicle’s interior and defrost your windows without the need to run the engine.
2.) Be Careful of Cargo Weight and Wind Resistance
Decrease Cargo Weight
It makes sense that the lighter your car is, the easier it is to move. This means it takes less gas to get your vehicle from point A to point B, making it is more fuel efficient.
One of the best ways to save on gas mileage is dropping the extra weight inside of your car. If you are the type of person who carries a lot of excess stuff in both the trunk and back seat that you never use (sporting equipment, old luggage, car parts, boxes full of things you keep forgetting to drop off at the thrift store) – lose it.
Every hundred pounds of things you add to your car will reduce your MPGs, and it’s surprising how fast random junk can add up to 100 lbs. If you tend to keep a jack and jack stands in your trunk, think about picking up aluminum versions because you probably won’t be doing any heavy duty work outside your garage anyway. These light ones will shave a few pounds off your cargo load.
One way to reduce your load is to organize your garage so that you can remove items, such as sports chairs or equipment, and store them close by. Then, you have them on hand to load once again when you need them.
Remove Anything That Causes Wind Resistance
Hauling cargo on your roof increases wind resistance (aka aerodynamic drag), which in turn burns more fuel.
FuelEconomy.Gov gives some approximative numbers on the matter. A large roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by 2% to 8% in city driving and 6% to 17% on the highway. On the other hand, rear-mount cargo boxes or trays have lesser rates of fuel economy decrease: only 1% or 2% in city driving and 1% to 5% on the highway.
1.) Exchange Your Car for One With a Better MPG Rating
One tried and true, no-fail way to positively reduce the amount of fuel your car uses is to buy a model that is more fuel efficient than your current vehicle.
If you are currently driving a large truck or SUV, you can’t force it to become as fuel efficient as a small car. After all, there are only so many things you can do to decrease your car’s fuel consumption. Whether or not you want to give up your cargo and passenger space, though, is something you will have to determine.
Of course, there is also a car payment to consider if your current vehicle is paid off. However, if you decide your best course of action is replacing what you have with a more fuel-efficient model, you can check out what Amazon Vehicles has to offer.
Look at the car’s optimal MPG to determine if your gas savings will be significant enough to make such a change. If not, try the tips listed above to get the most fuel efficiency out of what you are currently driving.
A lot of these maintenance habits and tasks could seem time-consuming and frustrating at first, especially if it is your first time. However, always keep the end goal in mind. There are many ways you can make it work. The first thing is the owner’s manual. It has all the information you need to choose the right components for your car and know if it is in good shape. You can always also call your car manufacturer with any specific question.
For more advice on how to take care of your car, click next to discover what gear you should have for road trips. Stay safe on the road!