How to Improve Your Gas Mileage

Vintage gas pump meter

Image via Flickr by Steve Snodgrass

Even if you are not in the market for a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle there are plenty of ways to improve your gas mileage on the car you already own. From driving more conservatively to taking the golf clubs out of the trunk when you’re not headed to the course, you’ll save gas and money with these five tips.

  1. Lay off the Pedal

We all have a tendency to get a bit heavy on the throttle. If you find yourself accelerating quickly and then having to brake again a short time later, consider easing down the gas pedal and then coasting into the next stop. Sudden accelerations burn more fuel. Speeding up and slowing down repeatedly can burn up to 40 percent more gas in stop-and-go traffic than proceeding sensibly.

  1. Keep Your Car in Shape

The top two items that affect gas mileage are regular maintenance and keeping your tires properly inflated. On the vehicle maintenance side, your car probably has a bunch of filters and sensors that help the vehicle run smoothly. When these are not operating properly, your car will have a hard time figuring out how to run most efficiently, thus you’ll waste more fuel. Keeping your tires properly inflated is probably the easiest thing you can do to save fuel. For each psi your tires are under-inflated, you’re taking a 0.2 percent hit on fuel economy. Get a good tire gauge and check the pressure every time you fill the tank.

  1. Lighten the Load

Having more weight in the car puts more strain on the engine, making it work harder to cover the same distance. By removing unused items, you’ll lighten the load on your engine. This has the added benefit of increased stability. Without so much stuff sliding around in the car, you’ll have to slow down less going around corners. In turn, you’ll have to accelerate less when getting back up to speed, saving even more fuel.

  1. Combine Trips

Before setting out in your car on every errand, stop for a second and think about how you might be able to combine some of your short trips. Since your fuel economy is worst when the engine is cold, a series of short trips where the engine never really warms up to optimal operating temperature can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multiple stop trip of the same mileage.

  1. Reduce Drag

Do you have a roof box or racks on the top of your vehicle? If so, that added wind resistance is significantly decreasing your gas mileage. When you are not using the box or racks, take them off. You get less wind noise inside the cabin and much better mileage.

There is nothing fun about going to the pump, and everyone wants to save a few bucks on gas. These simple solutions will save you trips to the gas station and put some money back in your wallet. The added advantage to these fuel-saving tips is that you’ll also be putting less stress on your vehicle. With less stress comes fewer repairs, saving you even more money!