Ten things you can do right now to improve your gas mileage
The price of gas these days is definitely a problem for a lot of people. As we transition to new and different technologies we still are left with decades of dependency on gasoline. Here are 10 easy things you can do right now to improve your gas mileage no matter what you drive:
10. Empty your trunk and clean out your backseat
Chances are you're carrying around items in your car that you don't need. It's amazing how quickly it adds up and all the sudden you're hauling around the equivalent of 2 extra people all the time. You're going to pay for that at the pump.
9. Don't waste money on premium fuel
If your car doesn't require premium fuel, you'll have zero benefit by paying the extra money for it. The only time you would need to put premium in your car is if your engine made a pinging sound like marbles in a jar. This is pre-ignition and means you need the higher octane fuel.
8. Drive your car
A lot of people will jump in their car and drive for less than 10 minutes to get to work or run errands. If you never have your engine running for more than 10 minutes at a time you're paying the price in fuel mileage. Modern cars needs to be hot to be working at maximum efficiency. Overtime carbon buildup can hamper gas mileage even more if the engine never gets hot enough to run the way it's suppose to.
7. Use defrost with caution
Every time you run your defroster you're using your air conditioning, if your car is so equipped. The air conditioning compressor dehumidifies the air and defrosts the car faster. This is great if needed but if it's not rainy out don't have the heater dial set to defrost or its the same as running the air conditioning in the summertime.
6. Keep it tuned up
This is easier than you think. The parts involved for a basic tune up are usually under $50. You can usually find specials or shops that will do tune ups with coupons sometimes down to $70. Just changing your spark plugs and spark plug wires can have an amazing effect on gas mileage. If you can't remember the last time they were changed, invest the small amount of money. If you drive your car a decent amount you'll pay yourself back in only a handful of fill ups.
5. Avoid the drive thru
If you're going to be sitting in the drive-thru for more than 2 minutes, park and go inside. Modern engines are more efficient so turning them off for the time it takes to buy food will make a noticeable overall difference in your gas mileage. Even the most efficient engine is wasting fuel at idle.
4. Skip the warm up
Now I'm definitely not saying you should jump in and go from a dead cold, but you don't need to let your car run for a long time. The best thing is to start driving it, albeit don't race the engine hard. The car will warm up faster if it is driven which will mean it's getting the best mileage as soon as possible.
3. Don't buy cheap gas
Even though the cost is less up front, lower price gas may have quality issues. Now the law requires gas be held to certain standards but from my experience lower priced gas seems to burn faster requiring more fill ups. On the average, you're not really saving much and these places are usually popular requiring you to sometimes wait in line, idling for long periods of time. Go with a good quality gas and over the long term your mileage will be better and steadier.
2. Check your tire pressure
The tires will have a max psi rating stamped on the sidewall. This is the rating for the tire, not the car attached to it. If you open your driver side front door there will be a sticker on the door jamb. It will have a rating in psi for both the front and rear of your car. That's where you should set the pressure. A lot of people will tell you that it's better to go all the way up the max rating on the tire. The more inflated the tire is, the less of it touches the road which means less drag. This does mean better mileage however the compromise is the handling of your car. Less tire contact with the road can be dangerous, especially in wet weather.
1. Coast. Coast. Coast
Make a game of it. You don't have to own a fancy hybrid or have an onboard computer to achieve better mileage. When you come up to a light and you can see it's red make a game out of trying to not touch the brake pedal. It can be tricky but you'll save every time you play.