Doing things to increase the gas mileage of your car pays off immediately. And the basic concept is simple: you will spend less money on gas if you increase your car’s efficiency in using it. Here’s a few techniques that you can apply right away.
Inflate your tires to the proper pressure – Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 7%. This is a substantial decrease and chances are that your tires aren’t inflated to their proper pressure because they are constantly losing air. About 1PSI per month, as matter of fact.
Keep your engine maintained – in the old days they were called tuneups but regardless of the phrase used today, the concept still applies: a well running engine will be more efficient that one with old sparkplugs, old ignition wires, dirty air and fuel filters and dirty oil. Your local mechanic or car dealership will be able to look at the condition of these items and give you advice.
Is your “check engine light” on – According to our friends at Bob Fisher Chevrolet, it may be because you need a new oxygen sensor and this will absolutely kill a car’s efficiency – up to 20% less gas mileage in most cases.
Lighten your load – Believe it or not, lightening the load in a car will improve your gas mileage because less kinetic energy is used when accelerating. Here’s a stat for you: an extra 100 pounds increases fuel consumption by 1–2%. If your trunk is loaded with heavy stuff that you never use, take some of it out. Do you have a third row of seats that no one uses, then put it in the garage.
Use synthetic oil – When you are getting your oil changed, put in a good synthetic oil. Synthetic oils are a little more “slippery” than conventional oils and this can actually increase your gas mileage by up to 15%.
Slow down – The faster you move, the harder your engine has to work to push through the wind. Here’s a great fact: if you reduce your vehicles speed by 15 MPH, you can reduce your efficiency by up to 33%. Bottom line: if you consistently drive slower, you can save a real lot of money.
Accelerate with moderate throttle – Engines are most efficient with moderately high air flow (throttle) and at engine speed around 4000 to 5000 RPM. When you accelerate, do so smoothly with moderate throttle and engine speed in the 4K-5K range and you will conserve fuel.
Use cruise control – In most situations, using your cruise control reduces fuel consumption by 5-6% by maintaining a constant speed. This, of course, won’t help you if the bulk of your driving is stop-and-go but when on the highway, use your cruise control as often as you can.
Plan your trips – We know that a lot of you are going to snicker over this one but if you make a list of your needs so that it requires just one trip instead of several, you will save big. Keep lists of needs that will require a trip and try to accomplish multiple objectives with each. It’s a simple but powerful idea.