Whether you’re planning some summer road trips or just looking to save some money in general, here are seven (plus) ways to improve your gas mileage… and it doesn’t require buying a new car! (There are actually more than seven, but we like the number seven, so we’ll just say seven.)
7 Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage
1. Slow down.
Drive below 65 miles per hour whenever possible… or below 45 mph if you’re brave and don’t mind having people hate you. Avoid rapid accelerations and hard brakes — moderate your speed and coast to red lights or stop signs when you can. Also, use cruise control to help moderate your speed on the freeways.
Don’t rev the engine and don’t idle for more than a minute or two. According to The Globe and Mail, “Idling consumes half-a-gallon to one gallon of gas per hour and pumps needless CO2 into the atmosphere. The modern engine will consume less fuel turning off and restarting than idling for extended periods.”
2. Use regular gas.
Premium/high octane gas is really only recommended for about 6% of cars sold (source). Check your owner’s manual for the type of fuel recommended for your car. Shop around for gas stations with lower prices to help save money, too! Also, Money Crashers recommends replacing your gas cap every few years to ensure a tight seal and prevent oxygen from entering your gas tank (which causes your engine to burn more gas).
3. Properly inflate tires.
Tire pressure is not only important for safety while driving, but also for fuel economy. Underinflated tires cause your engine to burn more gas in order to move the car.
4. Reduce weight.
Extra/unnecessary stuff in your car, trunk, or roof rack box can cause your car to drag, requiring your engine to burn more fuel to keep your car moving efficiently.
5. Change air filter.
Changing your air filter at least once a year will improve your car’s fuel economy. (Or more, if your owner’s manual recommends it, or if you live in a particularly dusty area.) Your air filter protects the engine from ingesting dust and dirt, so if it’s not changed regularly, it will clog up and put undue pressure on your engine, causing it to burn more fuel.
6. Use recommended motor oil.
Your engine is designed to work best with a certain type of motor oil. Using a heavier weight oil than recommended can create too much friction, causing your engine to burn more fuel. Check your owner’s manual to see what type of motor oil is recommended. On that note, be sure to have your oil changed and oil filter changed as regularly as recommended for your car.
7. Change spark plugs.
If your car has over 30,000 miles, you might consider having your spark plugs changed. Carbon deposits can accumulate on spark plugs and cause the engine to work harder and less efficiently.
Other ways to improve your gas mileage:
- Be sure your car is in proper alignment
- Avoid rough roads
- Manual shift — drive in the highest gear possible without laboring the engine
- Make sure your battery cables aren’t corroded
- Never rest your left foot on the brake pedal
Schedule your next maintenance with JL Motorworks today and we’ll check your air filter, tire pressure, spark plugs, and more to improve your car’s fuel economy!