There are a lot of reasons to improve your automobile gas mileage. It starts with the costs that you pay at the pump, with fluctuating gas prices reminding consumers that spending time on the road isn’t always cheap. Then there is dependence on foreign oil (which affects countries with higher use or without vast reserves), not to mention peak oil projections that lead to a lot of people wanting to cut back, in order to benefit the community at large and for the future of the planet. If any of this resonates with you, you can use some of these handy tips to get the best mpg (miles per gallon) possible out of your vehicle.
Improve MPG with Easy Changes
Here are some of the top ways that drivers improve the mpg of their cars, SUVs, trucks and other vehicles.
- Unload Vehicles: Driving around with extra weight requires your engine to burn a lot more gas. Take out heavy extras when they’re not needed for a trip, and you’ll be cutting down your overall fuel consumption.
- Keep Tires Properly Inflated: Well inflated tires can help you avoid some kinds of road accidents, and save you gas money at the same time. Studies have shown that vehicles get significantly better mpg when all four tires are inflated to capacity. Seasonal changes and other factors mean that your tire inflation can change over a month or two, so keep monitoring your inflation levels for the best results.
- Use the Right Motor Oil: Other research has shown that using the correct grade of motor oil can also help with fuel economy. This is as easy as spending that few extra seconds looking for the right grade of oil, or requesting it for your ‘instant oil change.’
- Maintain Your Fuel Economy System: Many newer vehicles have sophisticated electronic systems that are made to ensure good mpg by optimizing the fuel mix and other engine performance factors. Letting this system fall into disrepair will cause your vehicle to burn more fuel on every trip. Don’t just ignore your broken O2 sensor or clogged catalytic converter. When the check engine light comes on, get the issue fixed even if it doesn’t impair your use of the car, and you’ll be contributing to better long-term maintenance and fuel economy.
- Drive Slower: Charts of fuel consumption by speed show that your fuel economy maxes out around 50 mph and then gradually goes down until at 70 to 80 mph. At the average speed on some highways, you may be getting pretty poor mpg. Some drivers who have decided to use the slow lane on long trips have found that they save quite a bit of gas this way.
- Drive Consistently: Some environmental advocacy groups recommend using the cruise control on your vehicle to maintain a constant speed, which lowers the amount of fuel use and improves mpg. To drive efficiently, avoid those quick acceleration moves that make your engine work a lot harder.
These are just some of the ways you can improve the fuel economy of a vehicle without swapping it in for a more expensive high-mpg model. Eventually, newer cars will have better fuel economy built into them, but for now, lots of conscientious drivers are choosing some of these popular fuel-saving approaches.