How to Increase Fuel Efficiency and Save Money

Gas Pump

Keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance to increase your fuel efficiency.

With the national average for a gallon of gas at about $3.80, fuel efficiency is an increasingly important part of everyone’s driving habits. If you’re among the majority of Americans who haven’t switched over to a hybrid or electric vehicle, you can still increase your fuel efficiency by following some maintenance and driving style tips.

Get your car into tip-top shape and start changing your driving habits now to increase your fuel efficiency before summer and high gas prices hit.

Maintenance

Your car is a lot like your body; you have to keep it in shape to get the best results. Stay up to date with routine maintenance issues to keep your vehicle safe and running efficiently.

The best way to see an immediate change in your gas mileage is to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Poorly inflated tires increase friction, which means your car has to work harder to maintain speed. Look for the recommended tire pressure in the owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the driver’s door.

Things like luggage and bike racks also increase drag on your vehicle, especially if you do highway driving on a regular basis. These handy add-ons become wind catchers slowing you down and forcing your car to work harder.

Keeping your car tuned up on a regular basis can help you hit your car’s advertised gas mileage. Items like faulty oxygen sensors that go unnoticed may be decreasing your fuel efficiency by 25 percent or more. It’s important to note that recent studies have shown replacing dirty air filters doesn’t affect fuel efficiency in modern vehicles, although it does contribute to faster acceleration times. 

High Gas Prices

Drive smarter to stop at the gas station less.

Drive Smart

Good fuel economy isn’t all about having the most fuel-efficient vehicle. A lot of it has to do with your driving style.

Unnecessary weight, especially in the trunk, increases drag on your tires and can really hurt your fuel efficiency.

Driving style can change how your car consumes gasoline more than anything else. Follow these driving tips to spend more time on the road and less time at the gas station.

  • Avoid jack rabbit starts and fast braking
  • Many vehicles have peak fuel efficiency around 60 mph so pay attention to speed limits
  • Turn the engine off; excessive idling can drain your tank
  • Cruise control helps you maintain a constant speed so you don’t burn excessive gas on the highway
  • Use the air conditioning only when you have to, especially if you drive a 4-cylinder

There are also lifestyle changes you can make to save money on gas. For example, make fewer trips, carpool and search for the lowest price near you. Combine these with proper maintenance and an efficient driving style to make sure your wallet stays full no matter how high gas prices climb.

Photos courtesy of katerha and Ecstatic Mark.