10 Ways You Can Improve Fuel Economy

Fuel Tank Empty

Save Gas and Money By Following These Tips

There was a time, not that long ago, when filling up your tank cost no more than 15 dollars American. But these days, when a fill-up can top out at over $50, getting the most mileage out of your gasoline has become an important priority. Here's how to do it:

1. Slow Down!

Higher speeds on the highway produce greater drag on your car. The car is literally pushing its way through a sea of air. At slower speeds, the air's resistence is not very significant. But at speeds above 60 MPH, your car has an increasingly difficult time pushing air out of the way fast enough. This causes your engine to work harder, burning more fuel. So now you have one more reason not to speed!

2. Check Your Tires

Are they properly inflated? Under-inflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency by 5%. So keep a pressure gauge handy and check your tires regularly to ensure proper inflation. Many gas stations offer an air pump for free or a nominal charge.

3. Maintain an Even Speed

Speeding up, then braking, then speeding up again wastes gas. But simply maintaining a car's momentum is requires only a minimal amount. So as you drive, leave a big gap between you and the car in front of you to give yourself a buffer zone. Riding too close to the car in front of you will cause you to brake and accellerate more frequently.

4. Consider a Hybrid Car

Hybrid cars utilize both a gas-powered engine and an electic motor to provide power. Such vehicles achieve significantly better gas mileage than their non-hybrid cousins. So if you are shopping for a new car, take a look at the hybrids. Honda and Toyota are both leaders in hybrid technology. But do note- Consumer Reports found that the city fuel economy on hybrid cars tend to be over-stated on the sticker.

5. Enjoy the Fresh Air

Roll down your windows instead of using the air conditioning, whenever possible. Air conditioners rob 5% or more from your fuel efficiency. Unless it is really hot outside, try a little fresh air instead and save gas.

6. Don't Idle Your Car

In cold months many people idle the car so that it will be nice and toasty to drive in. But resist the temptation. Idling the car just to warm it consumes a significant amount of gas without actually getting you anywhere! When shopping for a new car, consider the option of heated seats to help alleviate the cold.

7. Replace That Air Filter

Make sure your air filter is replaced regularly. A dirty air filter can slash fuel economy by as much as 10%! Next time you go in for an oil change, make sure the mechanic checks to see if the air filter needs replacing. No worries, they aren't very expensive.

8. Combine Your Trips

Making multiple stops on a single trip saves more gas than making several individual trips. Likewise, one big trip to the supermarket is more efficient than multiple smaller trips throughout the week. Plan your shopping in advance and save.

9. Avoid Rush Hour

If your employer allows it, time-shift your work day one hour earlier or later. This way, you avoid the stop-and-go traffic of rush hour, which is a truely gas-guzzling, not to mention frustrating, experience. Or do yourself one better and telecommute, if your job allows it. That way you won't have to drive at all!

10. Always Drive With the Wind, Never Against It!

Just kidding!

Clean out your trunk. Don't haul extra stuff around. The added weight in the car robs you of fuel economy, especially when accelerating. Speaking of accelerating, do so slowly. A speedy start burns more gas than a slow one.

These tips can help you save on gas. In these times of high oil prices, it makes no sense not to take some practical steps to be more fuel efficient. Please take this advice to heart and save -- possibly hundreds of dollars per year!

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