11 Useful Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage
We all know that gasoline is a necessity but is also expensive. Due to this we are all always looking for ways to make that gallon, and that dollar, go a little further. So, here at Hennessy Ford we’ve done the research for you so you can get the most for your time and gallon.
Here are 11 easy and effective ways to improve your gas mileage:
1. Always use your vehicle’s recommended fuel type.
The best gas for your car depends on the vehicle. If the owner’s manual or the sticker on the fuel-filler door says that premium gas is recommended or uses similar wording, you can probably use regular. If it says premium is required, play it safe by using the correct octane.
2. Maintain the correct pressure in your tires.
Keeping your tires inflated to the correct pressure is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your gas mileage. Despite this, many motorists neglect their tire pressure. This can cause drivers to lose many miles worth of gas as it increases the rolling resistance of your tires on the ground. Rolling resistance is the amount of energy your car has to use to be able to roll along the ground’s surface and the higher the rolling resistance the more fuel you are burning. For this reason, you should make sure you are in the tire-pressure sweet spot before leaving your driveway. Luckily for you and other drivers, there are now many applications and gadgets that sync to your car’s tire pressure and can alert you when actions need to be taken.
3. Refuel as early in the day as possible.
Refueling in the morning can actually save you a couple of dollars. It may not seem like a lot but if you are one of the drivers who refuel twice every week then you are could be saving around ten dollars a month. If you buy fuel in the morning, then you are capitalizing on the chemical properties of petroleum. Gas stations keep their storage tanks buried underground and in the morning, these tanks and the fuel inside of them are still relatively cold. This causes a greater density in the fuel and as a result, there is more fuel inside of a gallon. Later in the day the temperature rises and as a result, the petroleum molecules expand and a gallon of gasoline no longer has as many molecules.
4. Never forget to replace your air filter.
This is a mistake made by a lot of drivers and replacing the air filter slips through many people’s minds. Replacing the air filter is not only easy but remarkably practical. The reason for this is quite simple; as more debris builds up and fills the filter the less efficient the vacuum and the more energy it takes for the vacuuming to have the same effect as when the filter is clean. When you replace the filter within the recommended replacement period you help your vehicle by improving its engine efficiency in its ability to draw in air from the environment. This simple DIY fix can improve your gas mileage by 15 percent!
5. Take advantage of your vehicle’s cruise control.
Using your car’s cruise control will help you maintain the speed that is safest and most fuel-efficient. While driving behind someone else we have the tendency to match their speed even if they are going above the speed limit. Not only is this illegal and unsafe but it is also not fuel-efficient. Cruise control not only helps you maintain the same speed but it reduces the need for braking and accelerating which has a major impact on fuel efficiency.
6. Mind your usage of the air conditioning.
Many know that using your air conditioning unit reduces fuel economy, but it can sometimes be more fuel-efficient than rolling down your windows. If you are driving in stop-and-go traffic or at lower speeds then using your air conditioning can cause a decrease in your gas mileage as it uses much of your vehicle’s energy. However, if you are driving at a speed of 60 mph or higher rolling up your windows and turning on the AC can help you conserve fuel. When reaching higher speeds it is more sensible to roll up your windows as the AC will cause less excess usage of fuel than making your vehicle fight the drag and air resistance that occurs from your car having the windows down. As a general rule of thumb, if you are driving slower than 60 mph then roll down your windows and if you are going faster than 60 mph then turn on your AC.
7. Avoid prolonged idling.
Running your engine while you are idling consumes half a gallon to a gallon of fuel every hour. This translates roughly to ten to twenty ounces of fuel every ten minutes. When using a modern car, it is more fuel-efficient to turn off your engine and wait and then restart it when you are ready rather than sitting there and not moving. Idling is also a source of incomplete combustion which releases carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals into the environment.
8. Keep your gas cap firmly sealed.
The gas cap works as a rubber seal to provide an airtight covering over your fuel tank to protect against air from entering. However, this seal’s effectiveness degrades over time. This allows for air to enter your car’s engine while fuel is pumping through it. This increased air in your fuel causes your engine to burn more fuel and increase its fuel consumption.
9. Minimize drag.
As previously stated, rolled-down windows increase air resistance, but they are not the only source. Roof racks and other accessories can also increase your fuel consumption. Not only does this add weight, but these awkward, uneven surfaces also reduce how aerodynamic your vehicle is. Your vehicle being less aerodynamic simply translates to it having to work harder and burn more fuel in order to accelerate and maintain its speed. As a result, if you are not using the accessories every day or even every week it is best to keep them off and put them on only when they are needed.
10. Get rid of extra weight.
Speaking of the effects of unneeded accessories, they also increase the overall weight of your vehicle. As the weight of your vehicle increases, so will the amount of fuel it uses. The engine is already working incredibly hard to keep your car running as it is. Therefore, adding even more weight for it to lug around puts a lot of strain on your vehicle’s engine. This is not only applicable for accessories, extra luggage and bags also add to your vehicle’s overall weight. If you’re looking to increase the fuel economy of your car, consider taking those golf clubs out of your trunk and keeping them in the garage.
11. Plan ahead.
Lastly, the best thing you can do to reduce your fuel consumption is to minimize the amount you need to drive. Consider keeping a list of errands on your phone so you do not forget them and use a GPS or other program to determine what order you should do them in to decrease the distance you have to drive. Not only will this save you gas and money but it will also save you the most valuable commodity: time. In conclusion, taking a minute or two to plan your day and trips will save you more fuel, money, and time.