American drivers spend an increasing amount of time on the road every year. Along with the demand for more fuel, the price of gas is on the rise as well. No matter what vehicle you drive, there are ways to help keep the gas consumption to a minimum and put some of that gas money back in your pocket.
Maintain the Engine for Best Fuel Mileage
Check the owner’s manual for recommended service times and follow it where possible. Keeping the car at optimum running efficiency reduces the need for excess fuel usage. In addition to better fuel economy, the motor will last longer, too.
- Car components need attention at specific intervals. Have the recommended services performed at the proper mileage recommendations according to the manufacturer.
- Fuel systems should receive particular attention. A dirty fuel delivery system causes the car to burn more fuel than necessary as it is operating inefficiently. A clean fuel system uses just what it needs to make the motor run.
- Change the oil and filter at proper intervals. Older vehicles may need it every 3,000 miles, but newer vehicles can go much further between oil changes. Check the owner’s service manual or the manufacturer’s website for the correct mileage.
- Change the air filter regularly. If you drive on dirt roads or live in a dusty environment, this should be done more often as fine dust particles hamper the air flow needed for the engine to run. This is an easy and inexpensive way to keep the air flow clear and provides for most efficient fuel usage.
The inflation factor for tires is much more important than it may seem. Properly inflated tires use exactly the amount of rubber on the road as is necessary. When tires lose air, more rubber surface covers the road and causes more friction, resulting in added fuel necessary to keep the car at the desired speed. Keeping them at the factory recommended levels can do more than save fuel money. The tires will actually last longer, too. At over a thousand dollars for a good set of tires, it pays to keep them properly inflated.
Make Changes to Driving Habits
Changing the way you drive may be the hardest change to make, but these small steps can save significant amounts of fuel. Making just one or two small changes will help.
- Slow down. The optimum fuel economy occurs at 55 mph. Just driving 5 mph faster at 60 mph increases fuel consumption by a gallon per mile!
- Drive using smoother motions. Avoid quick starts and stops. You’ll save more time by visiting the gas station less often.
- Combine trips and errands.
- Use the least crowded routes and the least busy traffic times whenever possible. Less traffic means fewer moments spent sitting in traffic at idle speed, using up fuel to go nowhere.
Gas Mileage Economy Steps Have Additional Advantages
Keeping the car in top running order not only increases the miles per gallon. When a car is properly maintained and driven, there are other advantages that naturally occur. When the fuel delivery system is working properly the spark plugs and fuel injection systems will also run well. Debris built up in a dirty delivery system causes blockage in fuel injectors and they must be cleaned or replaced more often. Spark plugs operate most efficiently when clean and provide a smooth running engine with fewer sputters and burps. The catalytic convertor found on all late model vehicles will become clogged if the engine is not well maintained. When this part fails, it can cause numerous problems with fuel economy and exhaust. They can be quite expensive to replace.