7 Practical Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage

Improve gas mileageThe price of gas continues to be a huge topic of conversation, especially during summer travels. And while, thankfully, the economy is not the same as it was in 2008, you may have noticed  that gas prices this summer are the highest since 2008, and are about 17 cents more than last year, per gallon.

This means that good gas mileage is still an important issue. Even if you have a vehicle that gets wonderful gas mileage, you can always work to improve, and here are some tips and tricks to make sure your getting the best gas mileage out of your vehicle.

1. Maintenance is Key

Make sure everything is functioning properly in your vehicle. If you are following your vehicle’s suggested maintenance schedule, you have already done half the work when it comes to getting better fuel economy. Things like replacing air and fuel filters, as well as checking the individual parts of your fuel system when insure that your vehicle is in tip-top performance shape. And this will ultimately translate into better gas mileage.

2. Check Those Tires

Your maintenance schedules also covers checking your tires. Proper tire inflation can improve your gas mileage up to 3%. If your tires have low pressure, it can be like driving with the parking brake on constantly, and that is not going to be good on either your gas mileage, or your vehicle in the long run!

Another tip is to make sure you have the best tires for good gas mileage. The narrower the tires, the less frontal area you will have, which will reduce aerodynamic drag.

Safety Tip: Understand that the narrower the tire, the less traction it will have, so be sure to select tires that are compatible with not only your vehicle, but also your driving style.

This brings us to:

3. The Actual Act of Driving

Some of us may tend to think of themselves as more of a NASCAR driver than a city driver. If this is the case, it can have some really negative effects on gas mileage (not to mention to driving tickets you may incur). This means that it is probably time for you to change your driving style to save you some extra change.

When driving make sure you are not accelerating too quickly, as this can burn gas unnecessarily. And instead of getting overly aggressive and sticking too close to the car in front of you, allow for a safe distance between you and the surrounding cars. If you are too close to them, you will find yourself tapping the brakes more than necessary, which will result in worse gas mileage.

4. Avoid Braking

I know, I know, I just told you to NOT drive like a race car driver, but using the brakes excessively will decrease your gas mileage. Instead of braking often and dramatically, instead ease off of the gas and allow your car to slow down naturally whenever possible.

Another way to avoid braking is to pay attention to the traffic schedules on your regular driving routes (to work, school, or anywhere else you go with frequency). Traffic lights are typically on a consistent schedule, and with practice and close attention, you may find that if you go 40, instead of 45 between two lights you won’t have to brake, but will instead find a green light waiting for you.

Safety Tip: If you need to use your brakes aggressively, do so! If they have been properly maintained they will work quickly and effectively, and it is always better to avoid an accident than to save your gas mileage.

5. Choose Your Gas Wisely

Premium gas may seem better in theory, but it is more expensive, and may actually be an unnecessary cost. Not every vehicle performs well on premium, instead use the type of gas recommended by the car manufacturer.

6. Stop Weighing Yourself Down

Sometimes, on trips you will find that everything is literally packed until bursting in the back of your vehicle. And that can be unavoidable, but when driving around town make sure you have unpacked all that unnecessary, dead weight. Otherwise you are only adding more drag to your vehicle.

This also applies to how much gas you put in your vehicle. It is recommended to only fill your tank up half way, as this will decrease the load weighing down your vehicle. But keep in mind you don’t want it too low. Make sure to keep your tank above one quarter full, as less fuel can put a strain on your fuel pump.

7. Use Common Sense

Don’t leave your car idling for no reason, this just creates another reason for your vehicle to drink up as much gas as possible.

By following these simple tips and tricks you should have no problem saving on gas this summer. And remember to always schedule your vehicle for a maintenance check up as the benefits far outweigh the cost, and can even save you money on gas and expensive repairs down the line!