Getting Better Gas Mileage
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated May 28, 2010)
It is common to hear people complain about the rising cost of gas, saying there is nothing that anyone can do to fix this problem. While it may be true that we don't have a direct effect on the cost of gas at the pump, we can lower the overall cost by getting better gas mileage. There are many different things that anyone can do to help increase their odds of getting better gas mileage, no matter what type of vehicle they drive.
- Engine. Basic engine maintenance can help improve your gas mileage. Regularly checking and replacing things such as your air filter, spark plugs, and oil can help increase your vehicle's fuel-efficiency which decreases the cost of gas. Keep your car or truck properly tuned and efficient to avoid your car becoming a rundown, gas guzzling heap.
- Tires. Regularly check the tire pressure on your vehicle and make sure that it is within the proper limits set by the manufacturer. Believe it or not, improperly inflated tires can affect your fuel efficiency by about 7%.
- Gasoline. Unless you have a high-performance vehicle, you probably don't need to use the higher octane types of fuel. Be sure that you have checked the owner's manual and use the type of fuel that is recommended by the manufacturer.
- Preplan. Prior to heading out in your vehicle, take time to preplan what route you will take. Try to stay along the routes that limit going up hills and limit the number of stops you make since both increase your fuel consumption. Also try to run all of your errands in one trip. This limits the number of times you get in your car throughout the day which helps conserve fuel and increases the gas mileage your vehicle gets.
- Speed. When traveling on the highway, operate within or below the speed limit. While it might seem to take longer to get where you want to go, the constant changing of your speed wastes more gas than you save in time, so just set your cruise control and enjoy the ride.
- Clean. A properly washed and waxed vehicle is going to, on average, get about 10% better fuel efficiency than one that is not as clean. Keeping your car properly washed, waxed, and cleaned is going to be pleasing to both the eye and to your wallet.
- Size. The larger your vehicle, the more gasoline it will use to get from point A to point B. Larger engines are, typically, not as fuel-efficient as smaller ones. A Chevy Suburban is not going to be able to go as far on a tank of gas as a Mini Cooper.