With gas prices increasing faster than ever before, drivers are searching everywhere for ways to save money and increase gas mileage. A one-mile-per-gallon improvement will save hundreds of dollars annually based on driving distance and mileage put on the automobile.
Combining several improvements and treatments will only produce better results. Fortunately, the solutions to improve gas mileage are often straightforward and affordable, which makes you have more time and money for other, more important things.
This report provides car owners and drivers advice about the best way best to improve gas mileage with minimal time, effort and investment. Among other topics, it has information on air cleaners, fuel-injection or carburetor cleaning, AC, tire pressure, and various driving habits- all of which may affect gas mileage positively or negatively.
See also: 7 Surprising Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage
Hidden Costs That Make it Worse
It might look like trading in an old gas-guzzler like a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis for a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle is a fantastic idea, but there’s more to it than fuel economy. Even if you double your gas mileage, you might still wind up paying more over the new vehicle’s life. This should not keep you from considering newer vehicles, however. Rather, consider these factors before you sign the paperwork:
If you purchase a new vehicle and finance it, your insurance rates will most likely increase. The make and model of this new vehicle also impact your rates. Safer cars will typically cost less to insure than those more prone to accidents and severe harm. For example, several sedans will be less expensive than sport-utility vehicles. If your insurance bill will skyrocket when you change cars, you should think twice before you do it. It may be cheaper — and easier — to keep adding gas to your present gas hog.
Related: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Car Insurance
You might feel that your twenty-year-old automobile has had it, but think again. It is going to inevitably be simpler and more economical to maintain and repair than many newer cars. This is because your car has less computer-controlled components, therefore requiring less technical expertise to diagnose and fix. Also: sometimes it’s wonderful to know that you’re capable of putting a new battery into your old car, whereas a newer version might expect a good deal more effort.
Related: 7 Simple Ways to Keep an Old Car Running Forever
Personal comfort and safety
There really isn’t much point in getting a car with excellent gas mileage if you must fold yourself into the driver’s seat every morning; nor is there any benefit in purchasing a very small sardine can that begs to be crunched into something the size of your fingernail if you’re hit.
You should always take your comfort and safety into consideration prior to making any purchasing decision. If you can, check the make and model against crash-test ratings so you will feel safer behind the wheel. Otherwise, you may mistakenly think that all of the largest vehicles on the street are inherently safer than smaller ones.
Recommended: Why Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?
Keep Your Current Vehicle and Save Gas Money
Even in the event that you can not — or won’t — buy a newer car, there’s still plenty of hope for your pocketbook: a few easy things which you could do to your existing ride can save money during the next week, month, or year. The majority of these solutions are affordable and simple, so there isn’t any great reason to avoid doing them.
The first thing you could do is to perform routine maintenance on your vehicle so it will perform in its best. There are numerous fast and easy things which you can do now that will improve gas mileage, save money on repair bills, and prolong the life expectancy of your vehicle.
Check your tire pressure
All four tires should be inflated to the recommended pressure. This can be assessed with any tire-pressure gauge. Some are as cheap as one dollar and can be found everywhere from service stations to discount-department shops. If you are not certain of how much air to put to the tires, check for the recommended amounts — they are on the sides of each tire.
Over- or under-inflating the tires reduces gas mileage because your whole car is working harder to compensate for the issue. This is more serious when one tire is higher or lower than the others by more than a few pounds: you suck gas down and cause irregular tread wear, which can dramatically decrease your tire’s life expectancy.
Related: 5 Tips for Buying the Right Tires
Change your air filter
This is right under the hood, usually beneath a plastic cover. It’s often quite easy to achieve and only takes a few moments to change. The replacement, depending upon your make and model, can cost as little as ten bucks. The cleaner this filter, the greater the air quality, which contributes to better engine performance and fuel economy.
Check with your automotive parts dealer or your owner’s manual to ascertain how many miles you should go between filter changes. Based on road and driving conditions, you might have to replace it more often than recommended. Even if this is true for your car, the filters are cheaper than all of the fuel you’re wasting.
Change your fuel filter
This one can be difficult depending upon your model or make. Some filters are in the car’s gas tank; others are under the hood. Your owner’s manual should tell you when this component ought to be checked. Otherwise, consult with the dealership.
Tune up your engine
This may be done in an hour or so, or you could let an expert do it. In any event, a complete tune-up can help restore your vehicle’s engine to its optimal performance expectations. Additionally, it tends to cure erratic engine behavior or random engine stalling.
Clean your fuel-injection or carburetor system
Consult your owner’s manual for the most appropriate plan of action against the clogs and deposits which inevitably build up as you drive your automobile. The guide, or a quick phone call to the dealership, will provide you with information on which sort of cleaner to use and how many times you should repeat the procedure. Most cars use additives which can be discovered at any parts home or discount-department shop.
Change the oil
Keep up with oil changes and some other engine maintenance recommended in your owner’s manual. Taking good care of the engine will extend its life and make sure that it continues performing at its very finest, thus saving you money and the hassle of waiting for it to come from the shop.
These might seem overwhelming, but do not believe that you have to do all of them straight away. They can be staggered into different days or even weeks, especially in case you don’t have plenty of free time or money. Nevertheless, you should attempt to cover all these things as fast as possible. Stretching it out over the course of, say, a year won’t help your vehicle.
Read next: 8 Shrewd Ways to Save on Car Expenses
The next thing which you ought to work on is the way you drive. Believe it or not, driving habits can affect gas mileage in large ways.
Avoid start-and-stop driving if possible
Idling at traffic lights, pulling away at green lights, and other frequent changes in speed just increase the quantity of work your vehicle must do. If you are able to take highways or freeways, consider using them. Otherwise, try alternative routes which don’t include stop signs or traffic lights. At the same time, you should not attempt to go eighty miles an hour in an effort to save fuel. When you raise your speed, your car should work harder — as much as four times harder a mile.
Use cruise control
Maintaining your rate of speed helps regulate fuel consumption. Also: when you are tempted to floor the gas pedal to pass a driver moving just a couple of mph slower than you’re traveling, try to resist that impulse. It requires a bit more patience, but this can save money.
Drop your tailgate or install webbing. This makes the truck more aerodynamic, which means less resistance. If you have to drive with the tailgate up, think about replacing the good, factory version with open bars or another design that allows more air flow.
Drive with your windows up
This may require using air conditioning, but many newer cars are a lot more fuel efficient in AC mode than their old counterparts.
Taking great care of your vehicle through routine maintenance and decent driving habits will offer you years of reliable service. This in itself is rewarding enough, but include greater gas mileage into the list of advantages and you’ll find that there’s nothing to do but put that little bit of extra time and effort in your vehicle.