As new technology emerges, vehicle manufacturers continue to work toward improving the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. With each passing year, cars, trucks, and SUVs are engineered to have less harmful effects on the environment all while improving MPGs. With many hybrids, and combustible engine vehicles that are able to travel on several miles to the gallon, it seems like you don’t have much to worry about in terms of fuel economy. That’s not entirely true, however.
While it is true that we will likely never see fuel costs fall below 99 cents a gallon, there are minor things that can affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency that may cost you. For example, when you take your new vehicle home, it may get several miles to the gallon, but as time passes and miles are put on your vehicle, your driving habits and overlooked maintenance services may cause your vehicle to consume more fuel than before.
When you’re looking for ways on how to improve gas mileage from your car, just follow our tips. You might save yourself a little bit of money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time!
How To Get Better Gas Mileage
- Fuel Up in the AM. If you leave for work or school just a few minutes earlier–or skip your morning latte at the local coffee shop and stop for fuel instead, you might just save yourself a few bucks at the pump. The reason is this: gas stations store their fuel tanks deep underground. In the morning, temperatures are somewhat cold, making the fuel denser. As temperatures rise, the molecules in the fuel expand. This means the volume of one gallon of gas may not actually equate to a full gallon when warm. While you may be paying the same price in the afternoon as you would in the morning, while fueling up during cooler temperatures, you’re getting more for your money.
- Use the Correct Fuel for Your Car. Just because the pump offers Premium fuel, doesn’t necessarily mean your car needs it. When automotive manufacturers designed your car, they tested it to establish what kind of fuel is best for optimal performance. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine the best kind of fuel for your vehicle. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to using fuel: it’s not the grade, it’s the quality of the fuel that counts. You’re not doing your vehicle’s engine any favors by using poor quality fuel.
- Avoid Warming Up Your Car. When starting your car, there is no need to let it idle for a few minutes prior to driving away. Your car needs less than 30 seconds to get fluids traveling through the engine to lubricate components. By running your engine, your vehicle can consume up to one gallon of fuel every hour all while releasing harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Ready to go? Start your car, put on your seatbelt, adjust the temperature to your liking, and get moving! That’s all the time you need to get your car going in the morning.
- Replace Dirty Air Filters. Your engine needs to draw in air in order to complete part of the combustion process. When air is scarce due to an air filter clogged by dirt, dust, and other particulates, it forces your engine to work harder and demand more fuel. By replacing a clogged air filter, you may be able to increase fuel efficiency by up to 15%.
- Lose the Baggage. While your car may have trunk space for days and clever storage areas, when you fill those spaces with heavy luggage, a bowling ball from the league you haven’t been a part of for three years, and even a car full of passengers, the increased weight places strain on the engine, making it work harder and thus consuming more fuel. Keep only items in your car temporarily and avoid using your backseat as a storage area or landfill.
- Keep Tires Properly Inflated. One of the simplest ways to increase your fuel economy is by ensuring your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure set by your vehicle’s manufacturer. By traveling on tires with low pressure, rolling resistance on the ground is greatly increased. Every five pounds per square inch (PSI) of reduced tire pressure equates to a 2% loss of gas mileage. Not only does driving on tires with low pressure reduce your gas mileage, it also puts your safety at risk. Check and adjust pressures often.
- Create a Good Seal. Your vehicle’s gas cap contains a thick rubber ring on the outside that helps create an airtight seal to prevent air from entering your fuel tank. Like most rubber products on your car, over time the rubber degrades and begins to fail. Most modern vehicles have the ability to detect when the seal on the gas cap has failed and will trigger the check engine or emissions light to come on.
When purchasing a new vehicle, do your homework by researching the vehicle’s fuel efficiency rating. As you may know, smaller cars are likely to get better gas mileage than a hefty SUV, especially models that come with manual transmissions.
Here are some other quick tips to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency:
- Use cruise control for highway driving.
- Keep windows and sunroofs closed when traveling at high speeds. Windows and sunroofs that are open increase drag and reduce gas mileage by up to 10%.
- Avoid starting and stopping your engine multiple times.
- Slow down! The faster you drive, the more gas your vehicle consumes. If you drive the speed limit you not only save up to 21% of fuel, you may also encounter less stoplights. The less stops and starts you experience, the better when it comes to increasing fuel economy.