Although gasoline prices aren’t nearly as high as they were a few years ago, the fact is that many drivers are still focused on fuel efficiency and looking for any possible ways they can lower their gas costs. For some, this ultimately leads them to the decision to purchase a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. However, the truth is that you don’t need to buy a new vehicle to experience some major savings at the gas station. In fact, you could potentially be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs simply by following these basic tips.
October 24th, 2017
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The harder you are on your gas and brake pedals, the more gas your car will use. Speeding, hard braking and rapid acceleration all waste fuel, whereas driving more cautiously at or below the speed limit is an easy way to cut down on your gasoline usage. If you’re the type that likes to slam on the gas when the light turns green or regularly speed down the highway, you need to know that your driving habits are costing you money in terms of wasted fuel. Depending on the type of car you drive, these types of poor driving habits could potentially lower your miles per gallon by anywhere from 5 to 35%. Therefore, the first thing that people looking to lower their gas mileage should do is focus on their own driving habits.
2. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Keeping your vehicle well-maintained is key to achieving good fuel economy. Statistics show that a tire that is underinflated by only 10 pounds-per-square-inch (psi) can lower fuel economy by more than 3%, which means that you could be looking at more than a 12% decrease in fuel efficiency if all four tires are underinflated. Unfortunately, tires tend to lose around 2 psi per month, which is why you need to be diligent about checking the pressure and inflating your tires as necessary. When inflating your tires, make sure to follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual and not those stamped on the side of the tire.
3. Consider Switching to a Different Tire Tread
Although most people are unaware of the fact, most tire manufacturers make tires designed with a lower rolling resistance. These tires feature different tread patterns that allow them to roll along the road surface with less effort, which equates to less work for your engine and thus lower fuel consumption. Switching to these lower-rolling resistance tires is a quick and easy way to further improve your gas mileage. Although these tires probably won’t gain you more than an additional mile or two per gallon, the fact is that every little bit helps.
4. Change Your Air Filter
The air filter is an extremely important part of the engine, which helps to trap dirt, dust, debris and other particles so that they don’t enter your engine and potentially cause damage. Unfortunately, the air filter will eventually become clogged up over time. This results in reduced air flow to the engine, and as a result, the engine will then try to compensate by adjusting the fuel mixture and using more gasoline to keep the car running smoothly. If the filter is extremely dirty, it could easily result in you losing as much as two to three miles per gallon. Making sure to replace your air filter at least once a year is one of the simplest ways to keep your miles-per-gallon lower.
5. Replace Your Spark Plugs
Dirty, bad or old spark plugs can wreak havoc on your car’s fuel efficiency. In fact, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence notes that bad spark plugs can lower your fuel economy by as much as 30%. For this reason, it is recommended that you have your spark plugs changed every 30,000 miles or so to ensure your engine is performing optimally.
6. Take Off Your Roof Rack
Luggage racks, ski racks and other roof racks are great for increasing cargo capacity. Unfortunately, they also increase the amount of drag on your car and make it much less aerodynamic. Even the so-called aerodynamic roof boxes will still increase the amount of drag and, as a result, will lower your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. For this reason, it is recommended to only put the roof rack on your car when you’re actually going to use it, as you will get far better gas mileage without it.
7. Check Your Wheel Alignment
Improperly aligned tires can also contribute to worse fuel economy. When tires are misaligned, they tend to drag instead of rolling along the road smoothly, and this can worsen fuel efficiency by 10% or more. Similarly, your tires can also wear unevenly if they are out of balance, which can also lower your fuel economy. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you follow the tire balance and rotation schedule set out in your owner’s manual to prevent these problems from lowering your fuel efficiency.As you can see, there are a wide number of ways that you can improve your car’s fuel economy. Even if you have a much older vehicle, most of these tips should still result in at least some fuel savings. Although some of these things may not seem like a big deal, the fact is that everything you can do to improve your fuel efficiency will benefit you and your pocketbook in the long run.