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10 Ways To Up Your Gas Mileage

Did you know that your driving habits can make a huge impact on the amount of money you spend at the gas station? When you’re on the road, fuel economy should always be a top priority. And while there’s no way to get around how far your car will go on a gallon of gas (unless you’re driving an EV) – there are some ways to improve your fuel economy! Here are 10 different ways you can increase your fuel mileage:

#1: Turn off your engine when you’re not using it. This simple piece of advice can save you miles per gallon, especially if your car routinely sits idling.

#2: Slow down to increase fuel efficiency. As hard as it may be for the lead foot drivers in all of us, going faster doesn’t necessarily mean getting there more efficiently. Studies have shown the most efficient speeds you can travel in a vehicle are between 55 to 65 miles per hour. If a vehicle drives faster, the fuel efficiency decreases dramatically.

55 mph speed sign on the highway.

Driving at speeds between 55 and 65 are the most optimal for fuel economy. Driving at 85mph uses 40% more fuel than at 70mph.

#3: Keep tires inflated to the proper pressure with regular checks (every two weeks or so). Underinflated tires increase rolling resistance which leads to more fuel consumption – up to three times as much. You could also find yourself replacing your tires sooner if they’re underinflated because of faster wear on the treads. Our Detailed Routine Car Maintenance Schedule blog post has some great info on simple maintenance to keep your vehicle in top running shape.

 

Man checking air pressure on the side of the road.

Checking your tires for proper inflation at least twice a month can save you cash at the pump.

#4: Keep an eye out for traffic congestion ahead of time and take alternate routes to avoid heavy traffic where possible which can significantly impact fuel economy due to increased idling times. Some apps, like Waze, can help you plan these minimal-congestion trips in advance.

#5: Schedule long trips for the time of day when fuel efficiency is at its best. For example, driving during off-peak hours (with less congestion) or in cooler weather can lead to better fuel economy due to less use of air conditioning and other features that might be running more often throughout a warmer summer afternoon.

#6: Speaking of the A/C, reduce air conditioning usage in hotter weather by rolling down the windows or using electric fans. This will allow for better circulation of air inside the car and will reduce the load air conditioning compressors put on your engine – thus reducing the amount of fuel used.

#7: If you’re driving primarily in the city (or short trips), avoid using overdrive gears which are designed primarily for highway driving. Overdrive is not ideal for stop-and-go traffic and the constant up and downshifting will greatly reduce your fuel economy. Usually setting your vehicle to “sport” mode will accomplish this, but consult your owners’ manual for more info.

#8: Avoid hard braking. Slamming on your brakes and hitting the gas wastes fuel by increasing the amount of time your engine is working to get back up to speed after a stop. Hard braking also (shockingly) reduces brake life, so allowing for proper braking distance and accelerating conservatively can save you cash in two respects.

#9: Use cruise control whenever possible. Using cruise on the highway helps ensure that your engine and its systems can run at a more steady (and efficient) pace than manually controlling the gas pedal. Newer vehicles usually feature adaptive driving systems that help maintain distance from other cars by automatically applying brakes when necessarily.

 

hand pushes Cruise control buttons on modern car and speed limitation

Studies have shown using cruise control regularly can boost fuel economy by 20% versus manual driving.

#10: Turn off all nonessential accessories before starting up your vehicle so that they don’t come on automatically as soon as you turn on the ignition (i.e., headlights, radios, air conditioning). Electrical equipment that requires a high amount of power can put a tremendous load on your engine at startup, which requires a lot more fuel than normal.

By adjusting some simple driving behaviors, like driving slower and braking less abruptly, using your air conditioner less (or only when it’s really necessary), better planning routes to take into account traffic in different directions (and not just how far away everything is) and changing up times of day for which trips are taken-you could save big bucks. Our blog post has given you many tips to get started with these adjustments but we want to hear from our readers too! Do any of these methods seem easier than others? What other ways do you think people should change their driving behavior if they want more cash in their pocket?