How to Get Better Gas Mileage

Worried about the ever rising price of gas at the pump?
by Updated January 29, 2009

You might be surprised to learn that there are a number of simple things you can do to help increase the gas mileage of your car, truck or SUV. The high prices of gasoline and the environmental impact that its use can have on the world should make us all want to use less of it. By using less gas you will not only help conserve natural resources, but you will also help to conserve more of your hard-earned cash and keep it in your wallet. Follow these straightforward tips to start improving your vehicles gas mileage.

  1. Proper maintenance and regular service of your vehicle is essential. By simply maintaining proper tire inflation, and changing your vehicles oil filter and air filter on a regular basis you may be able to save as much as $700 on an annual basis according to the EPA.
  2. Keeping proper tire inflation is key to improving gas mileage. Filling your tires with nitrogen can also help increase your miles-per-gallon, however nitrogen isn't free. Dealers will typically charge a few dollars per tire for a nitrogen tire fill up, but will often offer free lifetime refills.
  3. Avoid excessive idling and turn off your vehicle when you can. In other words, get out of the drive-thru lane. You get zero miles to the gallon idling for that Big Mac.
  4. Cut down on fast starts and screeching stops. This will not only save you gas, but it may also help make the streets a little bit safer as well.
  5. Use cruise control on the highway if you have it and take the time to plan your routes.
  6. Observe the speed limit. On average optimal fuel economy is reached at speeds of 50-55 mph. However, once you get over 60 mph gas mileage tends to drop off rapidly. According to the EPA, every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents a gallon. 
  7. Whenever possible, place items inside the trunk or install a bed cover on your truck to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve your vehicles fuel economy. While a roof rack can provide additional cargo space, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent.
  8. During the summer, clean out anything in your cars trunk that you don’t need. Every 100 lbs you get rid of can help improve your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent depending on your vehicle.
  9. Use your air conditioner less and open the windows instead. Park in the shade to avoid a sun baked car.
  10. If possible, take advantage of carpools or use public transportation if convenient for you. This will not only cut fuel costs dramatically, but it will also save your vehicle from everyday wear and tear.
  11. When practical avoid driving on city streets where you will be starting and stopping more often and instead opt for the highway. It’s also good to avoid hilly routes when possible so your car doesn’t have to work as hard and will use less gas.
  12. Try to combine driving errands so that you can complete everything in one trip.
  13. Use the right type of gas for your vehicle. Read your vehicles owner’s manual to find out what type of gas the manufacturer recommends.
  14. When buying a new vehicle, be sure to select a vehicle with very good fuel economy. By selecting a car that gets 40 MPG as opposed to a car that gets 20 MPG you could literally save $500-$1000 in fuel costs annually.

Hopefully, these tips will allow you to get better gas mileage for your car, and help keep it on the road little bit longer too!




anonymous by Christopher H. on 4/24/2008
regular guy. I believe that the aerodynamic drag caused by open windows out weighs the airconditioning costs - I forget the cut-off speed - I'm guessing ~40km/h Below that - use the open windows.
Keeping your car in ship shape also adds to this answer. Regular maintenance and periodic fluid replacements also improve on gas mileage.

Surely you do not have to rush to the mechanic every time a nut or bolt have to be tightened, you can carry out extensive work on your won using these DIYs -

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