If you’re spending a mint at the pump with each fill-up (and who isn’t?) there’s good news. By making just a few simple changes, you can seriously increase your car’s fuel economy. Here are ten easy tips for getting better gas mileage.
Stay in tune
Don’t skip your car’s regular maintenance. Sick cars work harder to do the same job. Bad spark plugs and timing are just a few of the things that kill your engine’s performance. Keeping your car tuned up is the best way to increase fuel economy.
Pump it up
Properly inflated tires are a simple way to ensure you’re getting the best mpg. If you’ve ever ridden a bike with a flat tire, you know how much more effort it takes to ride than on a properly inflated tire. Make sure you don’t over-inflate your tires. That can lead to uneven wear and costly repairs.
Oil that makes the grade
Use the proper grade of motor oil for your car. Friction is not your engine’s friend. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil, and keep it clean.
When your car’s at a dead stop, it needs a lower gear and more power to get going, but that power means more fuel consumption. When you’re up to speed, stay in the highest gear possible. If you have a fancy car with “sport” mode, save that setting for special occasions.
Keep it smooth
Avoid aggressive driving. Don’t slam your foot down on the accelerator and then back on the brake. Save it for the Playstation.
Take a load off
Don’t tote around your entire life. If you have a weight set in your trunk, take it out, do a few reps, and put it in your home. Carrying around all that extra weight makes your engine work harder and eats up your mpg.
You won’t like this, but generally, fuel economy starts to plummet above 60 mph. According to fueleconomy.gov, each 5 miles an hour you drive over 60 mph is like paying an extra $0.24 per gallon.
Get with the plan
Planning your trips to combine destinations saves you time and money. And, since time is money, you’re saving twice as much…money. Sort of. Get your GPS or map out and plan a route that saves mileage.
Go for a cruise
If your car has cruise control, use it. Maintaining a constant speed saves gas.
If you’ve got an old beater that’s killing you at the pump or a car that’s bigger than you need, it might be time to consider getting a new set of wheels. Assuming you drive about 15,000 miles a year and gas costs an average of $2.75 a gallon, a car that gets 20 mpg is costing you almost $700 more a year than one that gets 30 mpg.