With the volatility of the global oil market and a recession creeping up on us, we're all looking for ways to pinch pennies. Getting better gas mileage from our vehicles not only saves us money, but will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to less fossil fuel use. It's a step in the right direction for greening up our economy, and it doesn't have to cost a whole lot to improve your mileage.
10 Tips for Better Gas Mileage:
- Drive smarter: Keeping your speed under the limit (specifically 60 MPH) can save you up to 10 cents a gallon, according to the EPA. Avoid jackrabbit starts, where you speed up quickly only to hit the brakes at the next light.
- Get pumped up: Proper tire inflation can improve your gas mileage by over 3%.
- Choose the right fuel: Most cars don't need high-octane gasoline, so check your car's recommended fuel type and only fill up with that. Leave the high-octane for high performance and luxury cars.
- Keep up the maintenance: A clean air filter can increase mileage by as much as 10% according to the Car Care Council. A tune-up and oil change helps your engine run more efficiently and use less gas.
- Lose weight: Do you need all that junk in your trunk? Unloading all of the extra weight will save you up to 2% in gas usage. Clean off snow and ice on your car, so you aren't hauling that weight all over town.
- Take a little off the top: Remove your car-top carrier and decrease the wind resistance of your vehicle, especially when moving at highway speeds.
- Tighten up: A loose gas cap lets fuel vapors escape into the environment, up to 147 million gallons per year in the US (from Advance Auto Parts). That's your hard earned money, so keep it in the tank.
- Don't be idle: Warming up your vehicle for over a minute is unnecessary, and just wastes gas. 30 to 45 seconds is sufficient to warm up most cars. Park in a garage in the winter if you have one, and you'll save on the warm-up time. If you hit a traffic jam or are waiting for a train to pass, shut off the engine and restart when all's clear.
- Make a plan: Mapping out all of your errands in advance is a smart way to drive less and burn less fuel. Driving during slow traffic times will also keep your idling to a minimum.
- Are you really that cool? A car's air conditioner uses lots of power, so if you don't need it, keep it off. Use your vents for air flow inside the vehicle, and park in the shade to keep it cool during the day.
Got any good gas mileage tips to share?