Do gas prices have you looking at your fuel gauge more often?
As the cost to fuel your car can fluctuate, you might be hoping to increase its fuel efficiency. While you probably can’t double your miles per gallon, there are things you can do to reduce wasting gas. The less gas you waste, the more gas your car can use to keep you on the road and away from the gas pump.
Check out these six tips to help save gas and get the most miles out of a tank.
1. Lighten the Load
Car design incorporates a lot of technology to decrease the overall weight. Lighter cars take less work to carry down the road, so they use less gas than heavier vehicles. Try taking out excess weight to instantly increase gas mileage.
The trunk or back cargo area of vehicles tend to accumulate the most extra weight. Golf clubs, strollers and even boxes of old clothes for donation often pile up in the back of vehicles. Every extra item you have in your car increases its weight. A couple of medium-weight items may not seem like a lot, but the weight can quickly add up.Clean out your car, including the trunk, and only haul heavy items when you need them.
2. Slow Down and Drive Smarter
Slowing down is a common gas-saving tip. Driving slowly decreases the resistance on your vehicle and leads to better gas mileage. Most drivers like to drive just above the speed limit, but dropping down to the limit could improve the range of your gas tank. Driving a little slower is also a good defensive driving tactic and can help decrease your risk of an accident.
Physically going slower isn’t the only way that helps conserve gas. When you’re driving fast and must stop, you apply the brakes heavily. Using the brakes more than you need could cause for waste of gas, not to mention it wears down your brake pads. It’s important to remember to leisurely accelerate or decelerate. The less you are on the gas pedal, the less of a chance you are wasting gas. Instead of braking hard, take your time and coast to a slower speed before applying the brakes. By thinking ahead, this can save your fuel.
Another way to drive smart is to keep a steady pace. Most modern vehicles have a cruise control feature. Setting the cruise control when you’re on the highway or other open road can help you drive steadily without excess acceleration. However, be sure that the driving conditions are safe to turn on cruise control.
3. Check Your Tire Pressure
Tires with the right amount of pressure cause less friction against the road. Less friction leads to less resistance on your car, ultimately using less fuel. A tire with low pressure creates more friction and wastes gas.
Cars have been required to have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) since 2008. This is the system that lights up the low tire pressure warning light on your dashboard. The TPMS, however, doesn’t usually come on until your tires are 25% below the recommended pounds per square inch (psi) or pressure. Check your tire pressure regularly to catch low pressure before you hit the 25% threshold so you’re not wasting fuel.
4. Keep Up with Basic Maintenance
In addition to properly inflated tires, getting routine maintenance for your car helps save gas. Oil changes, new air filters and regular engine tune-ups keep your car in good condition and reduce the amount of gas it uses. You might want to change your filters more often if you live in a particularly dusty area.
Make sure you use the right motor oil if you plan to change the oil and filter yourself. The wrong type of motor oil makes your engine work harder, which leads to lower gas mileage.
5. Fill the Tank
Are you the type of driver who tops off the tank every few days? This could be causing you to waste gas and money. Rather than adding a couple of gallons at a time, wait till you’re at a quarter of a tank to fill up. When you reach a quarter tank, check which station has the lowest gas prices. You can then plan to stop and fill up the next time you’re out and about.
You should also fill the tank to full each time you need gas. You might think you’re saving money and gas by only putting in a few gallons at a time. Frequent fill-ups, however, could be costing you more over time. Each trip to the gas station takes the gas to get there, which leads to using more fuel and spending more money.
6. Run Your Car Less Often
Simply driving less often helps you save gas. If you’re in an area with good public transportation, such as a light rail or bus system, try taking advantage of those options on your commute. You could also carpool to work or to drop off kids at school. These options save gas in your tank while also being good for the environment.
If you can’t take advantage of public transportation or carpooling, you can still save gas by driving less. Plan any trips in advance so you know the most direct route with the fewest number of stops. You can even plan your errands, such as grocery shopping or going to the post office. Instead of going to each place one at a time, plan a day of errands so you drive to and from your house one time.