Do you ever stand by the gas pump thinking about how you’re just pouring money into your car? If so, check out these 13 ways to increase your fuel economy right away.
Change Your Driving Habits To Improve Fuel Economy Fast
When you pay attention to these driving habits, you can start saving money right away.
1. Turn Off The Engine
When you’re stopping the car for more than thirty seconds, turn off the engine. (Some locations require you to turn off your engine when you’re parked and waiting, because this reduces fumes.)
2. Keep Your Speed Down
According to Consumer Reports, speeding up from 55 mph to 75 mph is like the change you make when you move from a compact car to a large SUV. The higher your speed, the lower your fuel economy.
3. Turn Off The AC
In warm temperatures, running the air conditioner will use extra gasoline. Driving with the windows open also reduces fuel efficiency. So think about how cold you really need your car to be!
What’s In Your Car?
Checking the contents of your car, and what’s on your car, can also help you improve your fuel economy.
4. Unload Weight
The heavier your car is, the more gas it uses. Think about what you really need in your car, and remove any heavy items you don’t need.>
5. Install a Gas Cap
Check to make sure your car has a gas cap, and that it’s working properly. Leaving the cap off can cause gasoline fumes to evaporate.
6. Remove Racks
Anything that adds aerodynamic drag to your car reduces the fuel efficiency, including roof racks and car top carriers. If you can make it, pack everything inside the car.
Let Your Mechanic Help You With Fuel Economy
7. Use The Correct Motor Oil
When you get your oil changed, choose the lowest weight that is recommended for your car. A higher weight of motor oil means the oil is thicker or more viscous, which means you need more gas to run the engine. You can find out the weight of the oil by looking at the number before the W: a 5W motor oil is lighter and less viscous than a 15W motor oil.
8. Make Sure Tires Are Properly Inflated
When your tires are underinflated, your car uses more gas. This is why it’s a good idea to check your air pressure every month and fill your tires if necessary. It’s also a safety issue, because underinflated tires affect braking and wear out faster.
9. Get a Tuneup
When your car gets a tuneup, your mechanic cleans spark plugs, replaces filters, checks valves, and replaces worn-out parts. Without frequent tuneups, it’s more likely that parts will wear out and filters will get dirty, which decreases fuel economy.
10. Get an Alignment
Poor alignment causes your tires to wear out quickly and makes your engine work harder, so getting an alignment improves fuel economy. If your tires exhibit uneven wear, the steering wheel vibrates while driving, or the car pulls to one side, you might need an alignment.
According to the Consumer Federation of America, the way you speed up and slow down may give you the biggest savings of all.
11. Smooth Acceleration and Deceleration
Stopping and starting suddenly wastes fuel. If you speed up and slow down smoothly, you can save up to 54 cents per gallon. Think of it this way–if you had a full can of soda sitting on the passenger seat, how would you drive to keep it from spilling?
12. Don’t Ride The Brake
One huge cost savings you can make comes from how you use the brakes. Riding with your foot on the brake uses more gas, and it also wears out the brakes. If you change habits and stop driving with your foot on the brake, you could save 99 cents per gallon.
13. Stay Calm
Even when things get stressful, try to keep your cool. The testers on the MythBusters TV show made the surprising finding that people who drive while angry can use up to 50% more gas than driving when they’re relaxed. Apparently, your mood can affect your fuel economy more than anything else.
Like everything, driving has myths about what actually helps save gasoline–and what doesn’t.
You Don’t Need Premium Fuel
Gas companies may want to make you think you’re getting better gasoline when you choose premium gas. But filling your car with high octane gasoline probably won’t improve your fuel economy.
Your car is designed to use gasoline that has a certain octane level, a number that should be easy to find in the owner’s manual. Most cars don’t require premium fuel. If premium gasoline is not specifically recommended for your vehicle, you don’t need to use it.
Some car engines are designed to use premium fuel. In this case, using a lower octane fuel might slightly decrease your efficiency.
If you’re wondering whether octane makes a difference, you can test each kind of fuel in your car. Fill an empty tank with one kind of gasoline, write down how much gasoline you put in and what your mileage is, then drive the car until it nears empty and calculate the amount of gas you used. Fill the car again with the other kind of gasoline, and run the test again. If you get the same mileage with each kind of fuel, use the less expensive lower octane fuel.
Gas Saving Devices Don’t Work
Many devices on the market say they’ll improve your fuel efficiency, whether by splitting water molecules to produce hydrogen fuel, adding devices to heat up or magnetize your fuel lines, or change the air-fuel mix. They don’t work, so don’t bother buying them. The Environmental Protection Agency tests them all, and warns consumers against wasting their money. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Start Saving Now
If you can adjust your driving habits, drive smoothly, and keep calm, you’ll start saving money right away. If you need an alignment, a tire inflation, or a tuneup to increase your fuel efficiency, call us. We’ll get you back on the road right away–with better fuel economy.