The Best Ways to Improve Gas Mileage

Wed, 3/14/2018 - 5:05 pm by Kirsten Rincon

fuel efficiencyUsing energy-efficient driving techniques and proper vehicle maintenance is key for reducing fuel consumption. Changes in driving habits and making sure your car is properly and regularly serviced can go a long way towards improving your car’s fuel economy.

Defensive Driving Helps a Lot

When it comes to driving style, the most important advice that can be given to drivers is that they should avoid speeding, as well as rapid acceleration and hard braking. Driving below 65 mph can help reduce fuel consumption by as much as 15% compared to driving above the 65-mph mark. This is because the higher the speed, the higher the wind resistance, which can be overcome with more engine power, and the more engine power is used, the more fuel is consumed.

Also, gradually accelerating the car, along with smooth braking, helps reduce fuel consumption significantly. When possible, drivers are advised to brake less around turns, steadily reducing their speed as they approach each turn, instead, which helps save some extra fuel.

Reduce Idling

Furthermore, drivers should turn the engine off and avoid idling whenever they can. Many people believe that restarting the engine burns a lot of fuel, so they often leave it idling thinking that they will save fuel that way. But, idling is actually less energy-efficient than turning the engine on and off frequently, so drivers are recommended to turn off the engine whenever they are waiting for more than 10-15 seconds.

Check Tire Pressure

As far as vehicle maintenance is concerned, drivers should pay attention to tire pressure, the air filter, spark plugs, and try to eliminate extra weight.

Damaged or worn out spark plugs can have a major impact on fuel economy. As a general rule, spark plugs should be replaced every 30,000 miles, with slight variations between different models. Worn out spark plugs reduce the ignition system’s efficiency, by preventing it from burning the fuel efficiently. That’s why making sure the spark plugs are in the best possible shape at all times is essential for ensuring good fuel economy.

Tire pressure should also be checked on a regular basis. Under inflated tires reduce fuel economy greatly. The U.S. Department of Energy says that under inflated tires are responsible for about 1% of total fuel consumption. Drivers should follow the instructions in their car’s manual in regards with tire pressure and make sure they are always inflated at the recommended pressure.

Oil and air filters also play a large role in a car’s fuel consumption. Clogged or dirty air filters prevent air from getting to the engine, which it needs so that it can run more efficiently. The less air flows into the engine, the more fuel the engine burns in order to run the way it is supposed to run. Drivers should replace air filters once a year to ensure proper flow of air into the engine and improve the car’s fuel economy.