With rising gas prices these days many Americans are trading in their bigger, gas guzzling vehicles for much smaller, fuel efficient ones. However, before you consider doing just that, here are a list of tricks that you can do on your own to maximize your own car’s gas mileage.
- Make sure your tires are inflated.
Check out your tires once a month and while they are cold. Also, try using a tire gauge as this will measure the amount of pressure your tire currently has. If your not sure how much pressure your tire needs your car might contain a label that lists the recommended amount of pressure on the driver’s door. If not, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Properly inflated tires will help tremondously because if they are under-inflated the car will need much more horsepower thus increasing the amount of gas needed to operate.
2. Don’t bring anything you don’t need with you.
Take out anything that you won’t be using. This won’t save you a lot, but if you travel with heavy loads in your trunk it only adds more unnessesary weight to your car. Remember, every cent counts!
3. Aerodynamic drag.
Aerodynamic drag burns even more gas. Be sure to remove all snow and ice from your car…and I’m not just talking about a little of it but all of it. Snow and ice only adds more weight on your car. Also, remove any racks that you might have that you are not currently using as it creates even more aerodynamic drag. Finally, and believe it or not, do not fly flags outside of your car. This actually creates even more aerodynamic drag so keep your outside windows clear of those things.
4. Try not to “Fill-er up” at the gas station.
Only fill your gas tank up to three quarters full if possible. Remember, less weight=less gas used.
5. Best time to get your gas is when it’s cooler.
Go to your local gas station either later at night or early in the morning when the air’s temperature is not at its highest. Fuel becomes more dense the colder it gets so you will get more bang for your buck.
6. Go easy on the brake and accelerator.
Faster acceleration will only lead to you car eating up even more gas. Therefore, the slower you go the amount of gas your car will consume will decrease. Braking also goes hand in hand with accelerating, the more you brake the more you will have to accelerate. Use your accelerator once and drive at a consistant speed and press smoothly on the brake pedal. However, if you are going down a hill let the car accelerate on its own and let it push itself up the next hill at a lower speed.
7. Plan your route accordingly
Learn the traffic patterns in your area. Certain spots are more likely to have traffic jams causing you to idle, accelerate, and brake even more. This plays a HUGE part in your gas consumption. In addition, try to drive from point A to point B with the shortest amount of miles possible and look out for those traffic jams of course. In fact, it’s better to drive a longer distance than to get stuck in one.
8. Why not walk or use a bike?
If it’s not too cold out and your destination isn’t too far away it’s actually better to walk or bike there. You will be burning calories and saving on gas and money at the same time! Just make sure your route is pedestrian friendly, otherwise you’re better off using your car for safety reasons.
9. If needed, get a tune up.
Consider getting a tune up only if you really need one. It won’t be helpful at all if you shell out money for one if your car is in no need of one. A needed tune up will increase gas savings, but it will also increase performance and reliabity.
10. Use your A/C in certain circumstances.
You know that saying that using the A/C at any time will use up more gas? Well its mostly a myth. If your driving on a highway and your windows are down, as many people love this option, it causes aerodynamic drag. It’s better to just use your windows when traveling at lower speeds instead and use the A/C when traveling over 50mph.
11. Minimize idling.
Turn your car completely off when parking for more than a few minutes. Your car will just be burning gas with the engine turned on and costing you money. Don’t do this a lot in a short period of time however since it will damage your car.
12. Shop for the cheapest gas in your area.
Gas prices vary greatly depending on the station and locality. Of course its not worth it driving around forever for a difference of a few cents since it will just be a waste of time and gas. I find that smaller, independent gas stations usually have the best prices than the larger known stations such as Shell and Lukoil. Also, when comparing the gas from these two types of stations there is really no difference on the performance of a car. Two sites I recommend are GasBuddy.com and Automotive.com, they are very helpful sites in your search for the cheapest gas prices in your area.
13. Use a fuel injector cleaner.
Only use fuel injectors cleaners if your injector is dirty enough otherwise it’s not even worth it. A good target is around every 10 to 15 thousand miles driven for a cleaner.
14. Turn the overdrive on while highway driving.
If your vehicle contains an overdrive switch then by all means turn it on when you are on a highway. This is like an extra gear for your car and will maximize your mpg. Remember, this will only be beneficial on a highway, not city driving as the overdrive will only kick in when you are driving over 45 mph.