5 Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage

In today’s unpredictable economy, the importance of fuel efficiency extends beyond just cost-saving. While fluctuating fuel prices continue to strain family budgets, the environmental impact and reliance on fossil fuels add another layer of urgency to optimizing how far each gallon can take you.

It’s not just about avoiding those annoyingly frequent trips to the gas station; it’s also about being mindful of your driving behavior and vehicle condition, which can impact your fuel efficiency by as much as 40% according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In this guide, we’ll explore a multitude of strategies to help you save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and make your daily commute more efficient.

Understanding Gas Mileage Basics

Gas mileage in the United States refers to the average number of miles you can travel on a gallon of gas and is rated in miles per gallon (mpg). The average household in the U.S. spends $250 per month on gas, making it one of the largest expenses. 

Mileage can differ significantly in the same vehicle. It depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The kind of car you have, its weight, and the size of the engine. A small economy car gets higher mpg than a large SUV.
  • Driving practices such as speed and smoothness of driving and braking
  • How often you use air conditioning
  • Condition of the vehicle and parts. Parts such as the air filter, spark plugs, quality of the motor oil, tire tread, and the engine itself all affect fuel mileage.
  • Traffic conditions
  • Road quality and elevation. Rougher roads or a steep incline will require more gas than a smooth, level road. City driving tends to be harder on your vehicle and give you lower mpg than highway driving.
  • Quality of the gas in the car

These are some of the factors that affect gas mileage. Because the mpg you get depends on so many things, it’s important to pay attention to every aspect of your vehicle and driving behavior to get better gas mileage.

Why Fuel Efficiency Is Important

Fuel efficiency is an important consideration for several reasons. It:

  • Helps you save money. Saving even a few dollars each month adds up over time.
  • Means your cars are more efficient. When you practice fuel efficiency, you don’t need to make as many trips to the gas station.
  • Is better for the environment. Using less gas saves fuel and resources.
  • Makes you more conscious of your driving habits. This keeps you safer and prolongs the life of your vehicle.

Better fuel economy is important to save you money and help you plan more efficient trips. When you focus on getting better gas mileage mileage, you also tend to pay closer attention to keeping your vehicle in good condition.

How to Get Better Gas Mileage

Here are some of the most effective practices for getting better gas mileage

1. Avoid Traffic

better gas mileage

Idling in traffic is a common way to waste gas.

  • Research the best routes to work and other destinations to minimize traffic.
  • Make trips to the grocery store at off-peak hours.
  • Get an app to tell you the most efficient route.

The less time spent sitting in traffic, the more efficient your gas consumption will be.

2. Reduce Weight in Your Car

The more your vehicle weighs, the more gas it consumes. You can reduce its weight by removing unnecessary items. 

Aside from tools and parts needed for an emergency kit, don’t use your vehicle for storage. Don’t forget any excess weight you may be carrying in the trunk or on roof racks.

3. Combine Trips

car pooling

A simple way to save fuel is to make fewer trips. There are a few ways to accomplish this.

  • Combine errands when possible rather than making separate trips for everything. For example, go to the gym, go grocery shopping, and pick up your child from school in a single trip.
  • Carpool as much as possible. If you work with people who live close by, take turns driving.
  • If your family has more than one vehicle, arrange your schedule so that you travel together as often as possible rather than using a second car.

Lower your amount of travel, increase your efficiency.

4. Avoid Braking or Accelerating Too Fast

Did you know that the way you drive has an impact on your gas mileage? 

In particular, what is called harsh driving, in which you brake and accelerate quickly and more often than necessary, uses up more gas than smoother driving. Harsh braking not only wastes gas, but it can wear out your brakes more quickly.

Likewise, accelerating too fast is harder on your engine and a waste of fuel. Speeding not only increases the risk of getting a ticket but also uses more gas. 

Recent research has found that increasing speed from 55 to 65 miles per hour reduced fuel efficiency by up to 8%. The bottom line is that steady driving and staying within the speed limit are good for fuel economy and getting better gas mileage.

5. Maintain Your Car

car tire inspection for better gas mileage

Taking good care of your car and its major parts helps you improve fuel economy. Here are a few car maintenance tips to consider before setting off on any road trips.

  • Change your oil regularly.

Follow your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for the frequency and type of motor oil. When you do this, inspect the fuel filter and air filter and replace them as needed. If you get this done at an oil change service center, they usually do these things automatically.

  • Check your tires.

Make sure your tires are in good condition, in proper alignment, and have the right amount of tire pressure.

  • Check your engine.

If the Check Engine light is on, find out why and get the problem fixed. Maintain all fluid levels such as brake, transmission, and coolant.

  • Do regular inspections.

Inspect the exhaust and overall car regularly, and replace any worn parts.

  • Get regular tune-ups.

This includes replacing spark plugs and checking parts such as the PCP valve, oxygen sensor, and spark plug wires. If you notice any problems or issues, have them looked at by a mechanic.

In addition to helping you enjoy better fuel economy, these practices will prolong the life of your vehicle and give you better performance. With modern technology, it’s quite easy for a good garage to diagnose any issues that could be affecting your mileage.

6. Check the Tire Pressure

Neglecting your tire pressure isn’t just unsafe; it’s also a drain on your fuel efficiency. According to some estimates, underinflated tires can sap your fuel efficiency by as much as 3%. So, grab a tire pressure gauge and make this check a regular part of your monthly maintenance.

Always refer to your owner’s manual for the optimal tire pressure for your specific vehicle, rather than going by the maximum PSI printed on the tire.

7. Turn Off the Car

If you find yourself stuck in a long line at the drive-thru or waiting for someone for an extended period, it’s more fuel-efficient to turn off your car’s engine than to leave it idling.

Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car doesn’t consume more fuel than leaving it running. If you’ll be idling for more than 10 seconds, go ahead and switch off the engine.

8. Check the Alignment

Ever notice your car pulling to one side as you drive? That could be a sign of misalignment, and it’s costing you more than just tire wear. A car that’s out of alignment has to work harder, which means you’ll burn through more fuel.

An occasional alignment check can keep your ride smooth and your fuel efficiency optimal.

9. Replace the Air Filter

Your car needs to breathe freely to perform efficiently. A clogged air filter restricts airflow into the engine, which can negatively affect your fuel economy.

Many experts recommend changing the air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, but consult your owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your vehicle.

10. Be Smart About Filling Your Tank

Believe it or not, the time of day you fill up your tank can affect how much fuel you get. Gasoline expands and contracts with temperature.

Filling up your tank during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, can get you a bit more fuel for your money. While the difference might not be huge, every little bit helps.

11. Avoid Rush Hour

Stop-and-go traffic is a fuel efficiency killer. If your work schedule is flexible, try commuting during off-peak hours. You’ll spend less time idling in traffic and more time cruising at more fuel-efficient speeds. It’s not just good for your car; it’s good for your peace of mind.

Gas Mileage Depends on Many Factors

While minimizing your driving is the most effective strategy for reducing fuel consumption, we understand that it’s not always feasible. That’s why we’ve provided 11 actionable tips to help you maximize your fuel efficiency.

It’s crucial to remember that improving gas mileage is not just about cutting costs; it’s a commitment to being a responsible driver and reducing your environmental impact.

If you find yourself struggling with poor fuel economy and can’t pinpoint the reason, consider scheduling an appointment with a reputable garage.

Geyers Towing is here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about improving your gas mileage.

FAQs On Getting Better Gas Mileage

Gas mileage refers to the average number of miles a vehicle can travel on a gallon of gas. It’s important because it affects the amount of money you spend on fuel, your vehicle’s efficiency, the environment, and your driving habits.

Several factors affect gas mileage, including the type of car, its weight, engine size, driving practices (speed, braking), air conditioning usage, vehicle condition, traffic conditions, road quality, and the quality of gas in the car.

To save money on gas, you can adopt various practices such as improving your driving habits, reducing weight in your car, combining trips, and avoiding harsh braking and acceleration.

Better fuel efficiency means using less gas, which reduces carbon emissions and conserves natural resources, making it environmentally friendly.

Practicing fuel efficiency through proper maintenance helps extend your vehicle’s lifespan and ensures better overall performance.

If you notice low gas mileage, check for potential issues such as poor tire pressure, a dirty air filter, or mechanical problems. A trustworthy garage can help diagnose and address these issues.

To calculate gas mileage, divide the number of miles driven by the number of gallons of gas used during that period.

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