Gas Mileage Tips

Automotive, Home & Family
on October 18, 2011

Your vehicle’s fuel efficiency can make a difference to your wallet as well as your carbon footprint. According to Discovery’s How Stuff Works, the average American car gets about 20 miles per gallon of gasoline. To make your fuel and dollar stretch further, consider these gas mileage tips.

Drive smart. Erratic driving is not fuel-efficient. Hard stops and quick accelerations from stop signs and traffic lights can burn more gas than smooth, controlled stops and starts. Anticipating stops by slowing earlier and coasting can save on gas mileage as well. Also, planning your route is smart driving and can save gas. One trip out to run several errands is better than multiple trips.

Consistent speed. Maintaining a consistent speed can help fuel efficiency. Use your cruise control for highway driving to avoid variable speeds over long stretches. Using the cruise control will help prevent speeding as well, which will keep you and other drivers safer.

Reduce speed. FuelEconomy.gov states “that each 5 miles per hour (mph) you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.28 for gas.” While the speed limit on many highways in the United States is 65 mph, it is common for drivers to drive an additional 5 to 10 miles over the posted speed limit. Before accelerating to 75 mph, remember that will add another 84 cents to your gas bill. In addition, reducing your speed will save you money on speeding tickets.

Engine off! Your car will use more gas idling while you wait for your child to finish with baseball practice than if you turn off the engine and restart. According to Discovery’s How Stuff Works, a car sitting at 0 mph gets the worst gas mileage.

Lighten the load. Don’t let your vehicle become the place to store stuff. Keep excess items out of the trunk and backseat. For every extra 100 pounds, your car loses 2 percent fuel economy, reports How Stuff Works in an online consumer quiz about green driving. Clear out the golf clubs — they weigh about 25 pounds — and other sports equipment, plus any other items that are simply living in your car because you have not found time to put them away.

Maintain your vehicle. Cars that are serviced regularly, including oil changes as per manufacturer’s recommendations, will generally get better gas mileage than cars that are not maintained. It is important to keep your tires at the correct pressure as well. Low tire pressure increases rolling resistance, which can equal lower gas mileage.

Forum and groups. Ecomodder.com suggests joining a fuel economy online forum and/or attending a hybrid owners group. Even if you do not own a hybrid, you will be welcome and can learn tips and tricks for fuel economy.

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