The price of gasoline seems to be on a constant rise. As we talk with our customers, one of the most asked questions is "How do I save on the cost of gas?" and "How do I get better gas mileage?" These tips are designed to give you an overview of key gas saving strategies. There may be more specific recommendations for your vehicle. Schedule an appointment so we can give you specific recommendations.
1. Go the speed limit. Use cruise control.
While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an extra 24¢ per gallon for gas. (Observing the speed limit is also safer).
2. Drive Sensibly.
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration/braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may end up saving more than gas money.
3. Avoid idling and rush-hour traffic when possible.
Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines.
4. Keep your engine properly maintained.
Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune (or one that has failed an emissions test) can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. Fixing a serious maintenance problem (like a faulty engine oxygen sensor, for example) can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.
5. Take the junk out of the trunk.
Added weight in your vehicle affects fuel economy, so take the unnecessary items out of your trunk. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could lower your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's own weight, and it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
6. If you commute to work.
If possible, stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours and drive your most fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider "telecommuting" (working from home) if your employer allows it. Take advantage of car pools and ride-sharing programs. You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car if you take turns driving with other commuters.
7. Combine trips.
Combining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Trip-planning ensures your traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and efficient, and it can actually reduce the overall distance you travel.
8. Use the recommended grade of motor oil.
You can improve your gas mileage by up to 2% by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 oil in an engine designed to use 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by as much as 1.5%. Also, ask about oil with "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
9. Keep your tires properly inflated.
You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure.* Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all 4 tires. Properly inflated tires are also safer, and they last longer. * The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver's side door jamb or the glove box as well as in your vehicle's Owner's Manual. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire's sidewall.
10. Avoid roof-top carriers.
A roof rack or carrier provides extra cargo space and may allow you to meet your needs with a smaller vehicle. But, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5%. Reduce aerodynamic drag and improve your fuel economy by placing items inside the trunk whenever possible, but don't carry unnecessary items, especially heavy ones.