Increase Fuel Economy With These Simple Tips
August 12, 2014 / Sara Davis / Keep My Car Running Smoothly
With gas prices constantly on the rise, increasingly more drivers want to get the most out of each dollar they spend on fuel.
Did you know that by keeping up with your car dealer's recommended maintenance schedule and slightly tweaking your daily driving habits, you can boost your car’s fuel-efficiency as much as 15%?
Not only will you help save our earth's precious finite resources, but you’ll also save money at the pump.
Drive at the Speed Limit – or Slightly Under
Increasing your highway driving speed to 75 mph can raise your car’s fuel consumption by 20%, according to fueleconomy.gov. You can vastly improve gas mileage by driving on the interstate at a steady 55 mph – by up to 15%. A simple way to keep you at the optimum speed is to remember that each 5 mph you drive over 55 mph, you’ll be adding an additional $0.25 to each gallon of fuel burned. Yikes.
In addition to improving your gas mileage, you’ll also be giving yourself more time to enjoy your favorite tunes or audio book.
When driving on a long, flat highway, it’s often a good idea to use your vehicle’s cruise control feature, if equipped. You’ll be able to maintain a consistent speed and avoid slight speed fluctuations, which can often waste fuel. Always know how to disable your cruise control (lightly tapping the brake in most vehicles will disable it) and keep your feet near the pedals at all times.
Keep Your Car in Tiptop Shape
There are a number of ways to help improve your fuel efficiency by simply keeping your car in good mechanical condition. Many drivers think that a simple oil change a few times a year will get them by, and that may be the case on some vehicles (although not recommended). You may be saving on maintenance costs, but while losing money in fuel savings at the same time.
The easiest and most important tip is to always make sure your tires are properly inflated. Not only are under- or over-inflated tires hazardous to drive on, they will reduce your vehicle's fuel efficiency. It’s like rolling a bean bag uphill. Always inspect and inflate your tires to your vehicle's tires specifications, which are typically found on the side of the tire or on the door jamb of the vehicle. Inspecting your tires for wear and proper inflation each time you fill up with fuel is a great habit to have.
If your car is older, keep the air conditioner off as much as possible, assuming you don't live in Arizona. Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by 10% or more, especially in stop and go driving. Instead, use the flow-thru ventilation feature, or open the window and enjoy the fresh air when driving at a low speed.
Waste Not, Want Not
One simple tip is to avoid idling your car whenever possible. Idling can use between a quarter and a half gallon of gas per hour(!), especially if your air conditioner is on. Turn off your engine when waiting in a parking lot or in the drive thru and remember that most late model, fuel injected vehicles do not need to be warmed up before driving.
While trading in your current vehicle for a newer one with better fuel mileage typically doesn't pay off financially due to the outright cost of a new car purchase, if you car is older and you're in the market for a new or newer vehicle anyway, you should consider all of the options available to save the most on fuel.
Hybrid, electric, E85 (ethanol), FlexFuel and hydrogen and clean diesel vehicles are starting to become the norm.
What do you do to save fuel? Let us know in the comments.