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Fuel Economy: Tips To Improve
Your Gas Mileage
With gas prices so high, your bank account just might find it worthwhile enough to take a few steps to increase your fuel economy. Some of these tips may be considered a bit of a nuisance. But try to think of it this way: You'll be paid nicely if you follow the guidelines below.
How To Get Better Gas Mileage:
Let's get the hardest tip for getting better gas mileage out of the way first. Slow Down! Yep ...driving 55 mph as opposed to 75 will save you up to 25%. Mpg performance decreases rapidly over 60 miles per hour. So, it's your choice. Over those long highway trips, every 5th fill-up could be free.
When you're finished at the gas pump, turn the handle 180 degrees so that it's upside down. This will force out about 1/2 cup of gas into your tank. Otherwise, this gas will just dribble out of the hose when you remove it or will be pumped into the next customer's vehicle ... on your tab.
Don't "top off" your tank when filling up. Sure, we all like to get it to that nice round number. But gas pumps don't calibrate well on short bursts and it's likely you'll be overcharged. Also, this could cause overflowing when the gas expands in the sun or if you park on a hill.
Check gas prices on the internet at sites like Gas Buddy and Gas Price Watch. Just put in your zipcode and compare.
I just did this for my area and got a 19 cent difference from highest to lowest. That can be a difference of $3 or $4 per fill-up.
Make sure your gas cap fits properly and has been tightly closed. Yes, gas evaporates ... to the turn of about 150 million gallons a year.
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Park in the shade whenever possible. Again, the sun causes evaporation. Also, in the summertime, your air conditioning has to work a lot harder to cool down your sun heated interior.
Your "around town" gas mileage can be increased up to 5% by avoiding those quick starts and stops. Take it easy at the lights and start off smoothly and evenly. And anticipate your stops and gently slow down. "Easy driving" is alot easier to take at the pump.
Use your air conditioning as sparingly as possible. It's no mystery that the A/C compressor requires extra gas. But don't drive with your windows open either. The loss in aerodynamics from wind rushing into the car uses more gas than the A/C. On those marginally hot days, or in the evening, try to drive with the windows up and the outside air vents open.
Keep your engine tuned up. Bad spark plugs, or incorrect spark timing or fuel ratios can be real gas guzzlers. A well-tuned vehicle will improve gas mileage an average of 4%.
Change your oil regularly. Heavy, dirty oil causes your engine to work harder. Use your manufacturer's recommended grade of oil, and one treated with a friction reducing additive is preferable. You can increase mileage up to 12% with the right oil, changed regularly.
Clogged, dirty air filters are another gas killer. A clean air filter can increase gas mileage up to 10%.
Remember to keep your trunk as empty as possible. You'll lose approximately 2% in fuel economy for every 100 extra pounds. So, get all that unnecessary old junk out of the trunk ... it gets expensive to lug around.
Avoid idling longer than a minute. It takes less gas to restart the vehicle than to sit and consume gas while idling.
Properly inflate and align your tires. Check them out approximately every other fill-up and watch for uneven or excessive tire wear as well. It's recommended that you rotate your tires every 7,500 miles. Proper tire maintenance can improve your gas mileage up to 3%.
Don't forget to use overdrive and cruise control when you can on the highway. It's really simple and will keep still more dollars in your wallet.
Don't bother with the higher octane gas. Using higher than the manufacturer's recommended octane gasoline has no benefit at all, other than temporarily if your engine is knocking.
Avoid packing things on top of your vehicle. Again, anything that creates wind resistance can decrease your fuel economy up to 5%.
A car engine that's running too hot or too cold also takes a bite out of fuel economy. Keep your engine coolant fresh and make sure it's been mixed properly.
Drive defensively. Being a less aggressive, more laid-back kind of driver is always a good idea. But with gas prices so high, in effect you'll be paid for "keeping your cool" on the roads.
Think about carpooling. Try Googling "carpool your area" (withought the quotes). Or, go to a site like CarPool Connect to locate rides in your area.
Hope these tips help.
All the best - Josh