Whether gas prices are rising or falling, virtually everyone would like to get better gas mileage from his/her vehicle. Good fuel returns can save you loads of money in the long run. It doesn't matter if you drive a compact car or a big SUV because there are many ways to maximize every gallon of gas. In this article, I'll provide 10 simple tips to help improve your gas mileage and keep more money in your wallet.
Lower Your Speed
One simple tip to improve your gas mileage is to lower your speed. Instead of driving at 65 miles per hour, for example, try lowering your speed to 55. Driving at a slower pace will burn less gas, which in turn keeps more money in your wallet. An additional benefit to lowering your speed is that it helps you avoid speeding tickets, which keeps points off of your license, your car insurance rates from increasing, and money in your pocket.
Ease On & Let Off the Accelerator
Another simple tip to improve your gas mileage is to go easy on the accelerator. When a traffic light turns green, accelerate lightly instead of "flooring" it. Also, when you're coming up on a red light, let your foot off of the accelerator and allow your vehicle to decelerate before braking to a stop.
Use Cruise Control (When Possible)
A simply savvy tip to improving your gas mileage is to use the cruise control feature on your vehicle. This is more feasible at certain speeds (usually 25 mph and above), so unfortunately it won't help you in city driving. However, it will improve your highway gas mileage by helping your vehicle to maintain a set speed and burn less gas in the process. An additional benefit of the cruise control feature is that it reduces driver fatigue on long car trips.
Avoid Excessive Idling
Another simple tip to improve your gas mileage doesn't even involve the vehicle being in motion. When your vehicle is in park, it is a good idea to turn the engine off. Excessive idling burns gas unnecessarily and also returns zero miles per gallon. In some areas, excessive idling is prohibited by law and you can be fined.
Excess idling in colder temperatures can also lower your fuel economy. It is recommended that you start your vehicle and let it idle for about 30 seconds before putting it in gear and driving it gently. The engine warms up faster when the vehicle is driven than if the vehicle is parked and idling, which saves you gas and money.
Maintain Your Engine
Under your hood lies another simple tip to improving your gas mileage. Keeping a well-maintained engine will save you money at the pump because a clean engine doesn't work as hard. You can keep your engine tuned up by changing the motor oil regularly (usually every 5000 miles for most vehicles), and replacing key components on a regular basis, such as spark plugs, air filters and oxygen sensors.
Use the Recommended Motor Oil
Another tip (again found under the hood) to improve your gas mileage is using the motor oil recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer. For instance, you shouldn't use 5W20 motor oil if the recommendation for your vehicle is 5W30. Using a different weight motor oil will not only lower your gas mileage (as it is harder to push through your engine), but can also potentially ruin your engine in the long run.
Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
Maintaining proper tire pressure is another simple and useful tip to improving your gas mileage. You should check the tire pressure on your vehicle weekly to make sure your tires are inflated to manufacturer specifications. If you are unsure about the PSI (pounds per square inch) for each tire, inflation information can usually be found on the driver's side door jamb. Underinflated or overinflated tires can cause your engine to burn more fuel to maintain a certain speed and shorten their life span as well.
Check Your Gas Cap
One other simple tip to improve your gas mileage is checking your gas cap. You want to make sure that the cap on your vehicle is not loose, damaged or missing altogether. A faulty gas cap can cause gas to vaporize into the air, which in turn can diminish your fuel economy. It can also cause the "Check Engine" light to appear on your dashboard, so a faulty cap should be replaced as soon as possible.
Remove Excess Weight
One more simple tip to improve your gas mileage is removing excess weight. If you have any unnecessary items in the trunk or on a roof rack, it is recommended to remove them before you drive. Excess weight can put added stress on your engine, and cause you to burn more gas to get your vehicle up to speed. If unchecked, the excess weight can shorten the life span of your vehicle and cost you loads of money in the long run.
Plan Your Trip Accordingly
One final simple tip that can improve your gas mileage starts before you get behind the wheel. If you will be running errands, make sure to plan your trip accordingly. By combining your errands into one trip, you can avoid having to stop repeatedly and burn less gas.