When gas prices rise, there isn’t much you can do except cough up the extra cash at the gas pump and hope you can afford to buy a hybrid car when its time to replace your current gas guzzler. Don’t lose hope. There are a few ways to squeeze a little extra gas mileage out of your existing automobile.
The first is to change your driving habits. Driving aggressively — namely doing things like speeding or engaging in rapid starts and stops wastes gasoline and will lower your gas mileage.
Driving the proper speed also saves fuel. You can increase your gas mileage by about a third at highway driving speeds and around five percent driving at city speeds by following the posted speed signs. At speeds greater than 60 mph, gas economy drops for every five miles per hour you add. Think of every five extra mph over the speed limit you drive as an additional quarter added to the price per gallon you are paying for gas.
You can also empty out the trunk and backseat of unnecessary items. It may seem like a good idea to keep your golf clubs in the trunk just in case you get a spontaneous opportunity to play a round, but that extra weight in the trunk affects your gas mileage. For example, carrying an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your gas mileage by up to 2 percent.
Leaving your car idling can eat up gas too. Turn off your car when you don’t need to have the engine running, like when you’re waiting to pick the kids up from school. Remember that an idling car gets 0 miles per gallon.
Using cruise control can also help you to preserve fuel and increase your gas mileage by maintaining a constant speed. Taking advantage of your car’s overdrive gear will slow your engine speed down and conserve gas as well. Consult your owner’s manual for advice on when to properly use the overdrive function on your automobile.
There are a number of mechanical issues that can affect fuel economy, so it’s best to keep your car tuned up and up to date on its regular repair and maintenance schedule. Just being out of tune could affect your fuel economy by an average of four percent. If left unchecked, other engine issues could affect your gas mileage by higher rates, sometimes as much as 40 percent.
Simple things like maintaining the proper air pressure increases gas mileage as well. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil will also add to your miles per gallon. Much of this information is included in the owner’s manual and is worth a read to find the best way to maintain your car for peak efficiency.
None of these suggestions is all that costly or difficult. By simply changing your driving habits and keeping your vehicle in top shape, you’ll be able to stretch your existing car’s gas mileage and save money along the way.