Just because gas is incredibly cheap right now, doesn’t mean you have to waste it. Here are 10 helpful tips that can help stretch your gas money and make a guaranteed difference in your car’s gas mileage.
1. CHECK YOUR AIR FILTER – Studies have found that nearly one in every four cars on the road needs an air filter replaced. Dirty air filters can easily reduce your car’s gas mileage by 10%.
2. KEEP YOUR CAR TUNED UP – When was your last tune up? If you can’t remember or have never had one, it’s time right now. You may not realize it, but a bad spark plug can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by up to 30%. Having your engine properly maintained engine to the car manufacturer’s specifications can improve mileage by up to 8%.
3. CHECK YOUR TIRE ALIGNMENT – Poor alignment not only causes tires to wear quickly or unevenly, but it also forces your engine to work harder than normal. This step can save up to 10%.
4. TIGHTEN YOUR GAS CAP – Believe it or not, this is true. A loose cap can cost you money due to evaporation of gasoline from your tank. Studies have shown that this can rob you of 30 gallons of gas per year.
5. KEEP YOUR TIRES PROPERLY INFLATED – Shockingly, more than 25% of the vehicles on the road right now are driving on deflated tires (most of which are New England Patriot fans – sorry couldn’t resist). The average under-inflation of 7.5 lbs of air causes an estimated loss of 3% in fuel efficiency. Also keep in mind that over-inflated tires aren’t efficient, either.
6. SLOW DOWN – Sure, it’s hard to do, but for every 5 MPH you slow down, you can reduce fuel consumption by roughly 7%. This is especially true for large frontal surface vehicles such as trucks, vans or RVs. According to fueleconomy.gov: “As a general rule, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.” Ouch!
7. DRIVE SMOOTHLY – Avoid jack-rabbit starts or rapid accelerations and you can improve fuel economy by up to 10%.
8. DON’T LET THE CAR IDLE – Besides adding to our nation’s air pollution problems, idling your car for long periods of time is a huge waste of gas. Starting your vehicle does use a burst of fuel, but not as much as allowing the engine to idle too long. Unless, it’s extremely cold outside, don’t bother “warming up” the car before driving. You are just throwing money away.
9. USE LOW OCTANE GAS – Don’t use a higher octane gas than your car requires. Higher octane fuel is only required for higher compression engines. For most cars, it simply isn’t necessary.
10. COMBINE ERRANDS INTO ONE TRIP – It’s amazing to see how much money you can save by simply combining errands into a small number of trips. It’s obvious, but easy to forget: the less you drive, the less you’ll spend on gas. Try it and watch the savings pile up!