The price of gas is going up again which means getting the most out of your gas mileage is becoming more important. You could go out and buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, but that’s not realistic for most people. There are several simple ways you can increase your MPG with the car you currently own.
Here are some of the best tips we’ve found so far:
1. Remove weight
If you’re like us, you probably have some things rolling around in your trunk from months or even years ago. Take it out if you don’t need it!
Additional weight means the car needs more power to get to and maintain highway speeds. If you can lighten your load by even a hundred or so pounds, you’ll notice a difference in your wallet almost immediately.
2. Reduce braking and accelerating
This is one of those times where it’s helpful to understand a little physics. It takes far less energy to keep something rolling than it does to start it or stop it. When you apply that to your car, it makes sense why maintaining a steady speed saves you a lot of gas over braking and accelerating.
Constant braking and accelerating is a hard habit to break for many drivers. This is especially true for those with any amount of road anxiety. Do your best to allow your car to maintain a steady speed. Consider using the cruise control when you’re on the highway.
3. Cut down on wind resistance
It sure is nice to cruise around with the windows down or sunroof open and enjoy a beautiful day, but it can seriously eat into your fuel economy.
Cars are engineered to be aerodynamic. This means they create as little wind resistance as possible to decrease the amount of power needed to keep moving forward. When you open the windows or sunroof, it “breaks the seal” of the car and allows air to flow into the car and provide resistance.
By all means, enjoy that sunny afternoon drive in the fresh air, but know that there is a tradeoff between that and optimal gas mileage.
4. Take a look at your tires
Believe it or not, your tires can be one of the biggest contributors to your fuel efficiency. Underinflated tires, especially, can severely reduce your gas mileage. Just think about when you were a kid and got a flat tire on your bike how much more effort it took to get it rolling. That’s how your engine feels when your tires are low.
Tires that are not balanced also reduce gas mileage, among other things. As we’ve mentioned before, tire maintenance is one of the simplest ways to ensure the longevity and performance of your vehicle. Pay close attention.
5. Plan your route
If you live outside an urban area, chances are you’re flogging all over town on one of those errand days. While this isn’t necessarily the fuel efficiency of your car we’re dealing with, driving fewer miles will certainly save on your fuel costs.
If you have multiple stops to make while you’re out, take a few minutes to plan your journey before heading out. There are now many apps for both iOS and Android phones that can help. They allow you to plug in a series of addresses and get an optimized route with directions.
You’d be surprised how quickly saving that 5-10 miles a week adds up in fuel savings.
Being efficient with your gas not only saves you money, it benefits everyone around you. None of these tips will cause any dramatic changes to your lifestyle or driving habits. In fact, most of them are just plain common sense and will improve your overall experience in addition to saving you money.
For more money-saving car care tips and practical guides, stay tuned to the Strutmasters blog.