Fuel Efficiency Tips: How to Get the Most Miles Per Gallon
Fuel Efficiency Tips
You’ve probably noticed gas prices creeping up recently and wondered if there’s any way to squeeze a few more miles out of each tank. The good news is there are several easy techniques you can use to boost your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and save money at the pump. Why pay more for gas than you need to? Even making small changes to your driving habits can significantly improve your miles per gallon and keep more cash in your wallet. In this article, we’ll explore some simple fuel efficiency tips to help you get the most out of each fill-up. With gas prices fluctuating so often, being efficient has never made more cents. Buckle up – you’re about to learn how to go further on less fuel.
What Is Fuel Efficiency?
Fuel efficiency refers to how far your vehicle can travel on a gallon of fuel. The more miles per gallon (MPG) you can get, the less money you’ll spend on gas. Here are some tips to improve your MPG and save money at the pump:
•Observe the speed limit. Driving slower improves your MPG, especially at lower speeds. For every 5 mph over 60 mph, you use about 10% more fuel.
•Avoid aggressive driving. Rapid accelerations, heavy braking, and speeding all lower your MPG. Maintain a steady speed when possible and avoid excessive idling.
•Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Proper inflation is also important for safety and handling.
•Remove excess weight. For every 100 pounds of extra weight, your MPG can drop by up to 2 percent. So remove unnecessary items from your vehicle.
•Avoid excessive engine warm-up. Idling for more than 30 seconds wastes fuel and is unnecessary for most vehicles. Start driving right after starting your car.
•Observe your MPG display. Many vehicles have an MPG meter or MPG display that provides real-time feedback. Try to drive in a way that keeps your MPG as high as possible. Over time, you’ll learn efficient driving habits.
• Consider using cruise control. Cruise control can help maintain a steady speed, which improves your MPG, especially on the highway. But don’t use it in hilly terrain or heavy traffic.
•Keep your engine properly tuned up. A tuned-up engine uses less fuel and runs more efficiently. Replace air filters and follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.
Following these tips can help significantly improve your MPG over the lifetime of your vehicle and put more money in your wallet. Efficient driving is also better for the environment, so it’s a win-win.
Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency
Want to squeeze every mile out of each gallon of gas? Here are some of the top tips for improving your fuel efficiency:
Drive at a consistent speed
Try to maintain a steady speed on the highway and avoid aggressive driving. Speeding up and slowing down reduces efficiency. For the best mileage, stay around 55 mph on the highway.
Avoid excessive idling
Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Shut off your vehicle if you’re stopped for more than a few seconds, like at traffic lights. Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more gas than stopping and restarting your car.
Observe the speed limit
Driving slower improves your gas mileage. For every 5 mph over 60 mph, you’re paying an extra 10 cents per gallon for gas.
Remove excess weight
Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. Clean out your trunk and avoid keeping unnecessary gear in your car.
Avoid aggressive driving
Aggressive driving like rapid accelerations and heavy braking can lower gas mileage by up to 33% at lower speeds and 5% at higher speeds. Be light on the pedals and anticipate traffic to avoid unnecessary braking.
Combine errands into one trip
Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Plan to consolidate errands into one outing.
Keep your engine properly tuned up
A tuned-up engine uses less fuel, runs more efficiently, and produces fewer emissions. Be sure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.
Check tire pressure regularly
Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
Avoid excessive engine idling to warm up the vehicle
Despite popular belief, idling for long periods, like more than 30 seconds, does not warm up the vehicle more quickly and only wastes fuel. The best way to warm up your vehicle is to drive it.
Proper Tire Inflation for Better Fuel Economy
Proper tire inflation is one of the easiest ways to improve your fuel efficiency and save money at the pump. When your tires aren’t inflated to the recommended pressure, it’s like driving with the parking brake on. The engine has to work harder to push the vehicle, guzzling more gas along the way.
Check your tire pressure at least once a month and inflate to the PSI listed in the owner’s manual or on the tire information label located in the driver’s side door jamb or fuel door. Typically, this will be around 30 to 35 PSI for most passenger vehicles. You can pick up an inexpensive tire pressure gauge at any auto parts store to check the pressure yourself. Some gas stations also offer complimentary air pumps with built-in gages.
Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. So if your tires are supposed to be at 32 PSI and they’re at 28 PSI, your gas mileage could decrease by 4.8%—costing you nearly 15 cents more per gallon! Properly inflated tires also last longer, handle better, and are safer.
When temperatures drop in the winter, so does tire pressure. For every 10-degree Fahrenheit decrease in air temperature, tire pressure can drop 1 PSI. So check pressures frequently during cold weather and inflate as needed. The proper PSI for your tires is listed for the maximum load at the maximum speed, so inflate to the higher end of the recommendation in the manual for the best fuel economy.
Maintaining recommended tire pressure is one of the easiest things you can do to maximize your MPG. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference at the gas pump over the lifetime of your vehicle. Keeping your tires filled to the proper pressure is better for your safety, your wallet, and the environment. What more motivation could you need? Check those tire pressures today and reap the rewards of improved fuel efficiency and lower fuel costs down the road.
Regular Maintenance to Boost MPG
To maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, regular maintenance is key. Keeping your car or truck running properly with frequent tune-ups and oil changes will boost your miles per gallon.
Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the easiest ways to improve your MPG. For every PSI drop in pressure of all four tires, your fuel economy can drop 0.3 percent. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and inflate to the recommended levels listed in your owner’s manual or on the tire placard located on the driver’s side door jamb or fuel door.
A clean air filter allows your engine to breathe properly. Replace your air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles to ensure maximum airflow. A clogged filter reduces airflow and requires your engine to work harder, decreasing gas mileage by up to 10 percent.
Replace your spark plugs every 30,000 miles. Faulty or worn-out spark plugs can’t ignite the air/fuel mixture in your engine efficiently. This means more unburned fuel goes out as emissions, costing you money at the pump. New spark plugs can improve your fuel economy by up to 4 percent.
Fresh motor oil reduces friction in your engine and keeps all parts properly lubricated. Get an oil change every 3,000 to 7,500 miles depending on your vehicle and driving conditions. New oil will boost your MPG by 1 to 2 percent compared to oil that’s degraded and needs changing.
Dirty or clogged fuel injectors deliver the wrong amount of fuel to your engine, decreasing performance and MPG. Have your fuel injectors professionally cleaned once a year or every 20,000 miles. Properly functioning injectors can increase your fuel economy by up to 5 percent.
Keeping your vehicle well-maintained with frequent tune-ups, oil changes, tire rotations, and another service will maximize your MPG and keep your car or truck running smoothly for the long haul. The small investment in time and money for regular maintenance pays off hugely in improved reliability, safety, and fuel savings.
How to Drive More Efficiently
To get the most out of every gallon of fuel, it pays to drive efficiently. Here are some tips to improve your gas mileage and save money.
Observe the speed limit
Speeding reduces your fuel efficiency by up to 33% at lower speeds and 5% for every 5 miles per hour over 60 mph. Obey the posted speed limits and you’ll instantly increase your miles per gallon. Going the speed limit also makes roads safer for all.
Avoid aggressive driving
Quick accelerations, heavy braking, and rapid speed changes all lower your gas mileage. Drive steadily and avoid aggressive maneuvers. Coast to stoplights instead of slamming on the brakes. Accelerate gradually when the light changes instead of flooring it.
Remove excess weight
For every 100 pounds of extra weight, fuel economy can drop by up to 2 percent. Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle like sports equipment or tools you’re not using. The less mass your engine has to move, the less fuel it requires.
Combine errands into one trip
Multiple short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multi-purpose trip. Plan and consolidate errands into one outing. Your engine will stay warmer, reducing fuel usage and saving you money.
Observe your vehicle’s dashboard
Pay attention to the instant fuel economy display on your vehicle’s dashboard. It shows your current gas mileage and can help you develop fuel-efficient driving habits. Aim for the highest mpg reading and try to keep it there. Over time, you’ll get better at optimizing your driving for maximum fuel efficiency.
Following these simple tips can significantly increase your miles per gallon and put more money in your pocket. Safe, efficient driving benefits both your wallet and the environment. Every gallon counts, so do your part and drive smart!
Using Cruise Control to Save Gas
Using your cruise control can help improve your gas mileage, especially on long highway drives. Here are some tips for maximizing your fuel efficiency with cruise control:
Set It and Forget It
Once you’ve reached your desired highway speed, turn on your cruise control. This helps ensure you maintain a steady speed and don’t speed up and slow down unnecessarily, which wastes gas. Set your cruise control around 5 mph below the speed limit for the best efficiency.
Coast When Possible
If you see traffic slowing ahead, disengage your cruise control and coast up to it. Coasting helps save gas since your engine doesn’t have to work to maintain your speed. Once traffic starts moving again, re-engage your cruise control. The same applies going down hills – disengage your cruise control and coast, only re-engaging once you start going uphill again or reach the speed you want to maintain.
Adjust For Conditions
Be sure to adjust your speed for road conditions. Go slower in high winds or poor weather to improve your mileage. Heavy winds require more effort for your engine to maintain speed, cutting into your efficiency. Rain, snow, and fog also call for slower speeds, both for safety and fuel economy.
The more you drive, the more gas you use, so combine errands into one trip when possible. Since cruise control works best on highways and interstates, run all your errands that require highway driving together in one outing. This allows you to maximize the time you can use cruise control, which helps save gas.
By following these simple tips, you can gain up to 15% better gas mileage just by using your cruise control effectively on highway trips. Every little bit helps when it comes to improving your fuel efficiency and saving money at the pump. Keep your speed steady, coast when you can, adjust for conditions, and combine trips to get the most out of cruise control.
Removing Excess Weight and Drag
One of the easiest ways to improve your gas mileage is to remove excess weight from your vehicle. For every 100 pounds of extra weight, your gas mileage can drop by up to 2 percent.
Clear out the trunk
Do you need everything in your trunk? Clear out unnecessary tools, gear, and other items. Keep a small toolkit, a blanket, jumper cables, and a first aid kit for emergencies, but remove everything else. Those golf clubs and beach chairs just reduce your MPG.
Remove roof racks and boxes
If you’re not using roof racks, remove them. Bike, ski, and cargo racks create extra wind resistance and drag, even when empty. Consider a trunk-mounted rack that you can take on and off as needed. Roof storage boxes are convenient but kill your fuel efficiency due to their boxy shape. Remove it when you’re done and store it in your garage.
Check your tire pressure
Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and inflate to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended levels. Proper tire pressure also improves handling and safety.
Plan and consolidate trips
Driving fewer miles is one of the best ways to boost your MPG. Plan your errands and activities so you can consolidate multiple trips into one. Also try carpooling, public transit, biking, or walking when possible. Every gallon of gas you don’t burn helps your wallet and the environment.
Removing excess weight, decreasing drag, maintaining proper tire pressure, and reducing miles driven are some of the simplest yet most effective ways to maximize your gas mileage. Making these a habit will have you going farther on a tank of fuel in no time. Your vehicle and budget will thank you!
Choosing the Right Motor Oil
When it comes to fuel efficiency, the motor oil you choose can have a big impact. Not all oils are created equal, so you’ll want to consider a few factors to find the right one for your vehicle.
The viscosity rating indicates an oil’s thickness. Thinner oils flow more easily in cold weather, while thicker oils work better in hot temperatures. For the best fuel economy, choose an oil with a viscosity rating of 5W-20, 5W-30, or 10W-30. These provide good protection across a range of temperatures. Avoid heavier oils like 10W-40 or 20W-50, as they can reduce your gas mileage.
Synthetic vs. Conventional
Synthetic motor oils are made from artificial materials, while conventional oils are made from petroleum. Synthetic oils generally provide better fuel economy and performance. They flow more easily in cold weather and break down less over time. However, they tend to cost a bit more. For the best mileage, choose a full synthetic oil. Blended synthetic oils, which mix synthetic and conventional, can also provide good fuel efficiency at a lower cost.
Look for oils certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to meet certain standards for performance and emissions. The API Starburst certification and “Energy Conserving” label indicate an oil has passed tests for fuel efficiency and sludge prevention. The latest API standard is SN Plus, but SN and SM are also good options. Avoid oils only certified SP or older.
Choosing the right motor oil for your vehicle is one of the easiest ways to improve your gas mileage. Be sure to follow your owner’s manual for specific recommendations, but in general, a full synthetic oil with a lower viscosity rating, like 5W-20, and an up-to-date API certification will maximize your fuel efficiency and keep your engine running strong. Small changes can make a big difference at the pump, so why not start with what’s under the hood?
Fuel Efficiency FAQs: Answering Your Top Questions
You likely have a lot of questions when it comes to improving your fuel efficiency and saving money at the pump. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about fuel efficiency.
How much can I improve my fuel efficiency by following these tips?
By following the fuel efficiency tips in this article, you can typically improve your gas mileage by 10 to 20 percent. The more tips you incorporate, the more you can save. Simple things like maintaining proper tire pressure, avoiding aggressive driving, and removing excess weight from your vehicle can provide significant gains.
Do fuel line magnets, vortex generators, and fuel line heaters improve gas mileage?
No, these devices do not improve fuel efficiency and are considered scams. The only way to truly improve your gas mileage is through proper vehicle maintenance, driving behavior, and limiting excess weight.
Should I use premium gas instead of regular to get better fuel economy?
For most vehicles, premium gas will not provide a fuel economy benefit. Only use premium gas if your vehicle’s owner’s manual specifically requires it or recommends it for optimal performance. The higher octane rating of premium gas is meant to prevent knocking in high-performance engines—it does not contain more energy.
Does a tune-up improve gas mileage?
Yes, a tune-up can help optimize your engine’s performance and improve your fuel efficiency. During a tune-up, your mechanic will replace your vehicle’s air filter, fuel filter, and spark plugs—all of which can degrade over time and reduce gas mileage. A tune-up can improve your gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. It’s a good idea to get a tune-up every 30,000 miles to keep your engine running efficiently.
Does under-inflating or over-inflating my tires reduce fuel economy?
Yes, improper tire pressure can lower your gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Over-inflated tires can also reduce gas mileage by causing uneven tread wear and reducing the contact area between the tires and the road. Maintain the recommended tire pressure listed in your owner’s manual for optimal fuel efficiency.
So there you have it, some easy ways to make the most of every drop of gas. Small changes to your driving habits and maintenance routines can add up to big savings at the pump over time. Why not give some of these tips a try for a month and see how much of a difference they make to your fuel efficiency and budget? Even implementing a few of these suggestions can help ensure you’re getting the most miles out of every gallon. The planet and your wallet will thank you. Now get out there, enjoy the drive, and happy efficient motoring!