10 Tips To Encourage Better Gas Mileage
Gas prices are currently soaring all across America. It’s really getting to the point where many pumps display a number uncomfortably close to some people’s High School GPAs… and we mean those at the top of their class. We’re all waiting for those prices to drop closer to “Academic suspension” territory, but it’s probably going to be a while. Summer is right around the corner, too, which means road trips and travel. If you’re thinking that you won’t be able to afford as much driving this season then this blog is the light at the end of the tunnel. While we remain at the mercy of the “Gas Gods”, there are a few things that can be done in these trying times. Gas mileage isn’t just dependent on the manufacturer- you play a huge role in it!
When we say gas mileage we, of course, are referring to how many miles you’re getting for each gallon of gasoline. This might seem pretty straightforward but there are actually some interesting factors at play. You might think that putting five gallons in your car means you’re getting exactly the amount of miles you’re promised. You would be thinking wrong, unfortunately. Making gas go further is a top concern among drivers because of those climbing numbers at the pump. It’s not as simple as it seems, either.
There is a laundry list of ways in which you both increase, and decrease your gas mileage. Some of them you might not even have thought of prior! These little pointers can be sneaky and small, but they’ll add up in the long run. But, back to the main point: the amount of miles you’re expecting is almost never what you get. This is due to a number of activities you take part in. Idling, sitting in traffic, pressing the gas pedal too much, and more can all contribute to you getting less bang for your buck.
In this article we’ll go over the reasons for poor gas mileage, and what you can do to improve it. We know our readers want to save money where they can just like everybody else. After all, more money in your pocket means more money to sink back into your car! This could mean new rims, a trip to the detailer, or better parts you’ve been wanting to install. Take a few simple steps to save money? Sounds great to us! We hope it sounds great to you, too. Keep reading to find out how all of this is possible, and what you can do to help yourself!
The Problems At Play
You’ve got to be wondering what causes this problem by now. Don’t worry- that’s enough anticipation for now! As we have mentioned there are a ton of different causes and they all have a different role to play. While one or two of these might not seem important you have to remember that when they’re all combined it can be a serious money drain. Because of this we are not only going to explain the causes but how to solve them, as well. Some things you just can’t control, like sitting in traffic, but you can control how you handle the situation. Other gas mileage problems can be solved absolutely by you, however, and will stay that way if you stay on top of them. Without further adieu, let’s get to the good part!
Pump It Up: With so many problems associated with improperly inflated tires it’s a wonder people even let it be a problem! Truly, this is probably the easiest item on this list to check off. If you don’t have a tire inflator or a pressure gauge, you should invest in both. Throw in a tire repair kit while you’re at it for good measure, too. This holy trinity is what you need on you at all times for a variety of reasons. Today we’re talking about how they relate to gas mileage, however. As it turns out if your tire pressure is low you can increase the rolling resistance against the ground. In layman’s terms, this essentially means they have a harder time going, which means your car works harder to make it happen. To lessen this in general there are low rolling resistance tires on the market. They can absolutely give you a push in the right direction, and help your car keep on keeping on. If you want a truly accurate reading and updates on tire pressure there are a ton of wonderful products on the market. Some of them even connect to your smartphone for a seamless, stress-free experience
Don’t Be A Sitting Duck: This is, very arguably, the biggest problem people run into. Anybody who has to deal with a commute around a city, or any busy area, understands all too well the amount of time spent sitting in traffic. Does it always seem like that light takes forever to turn green, and only stays green for approximately negative one seconds? Yeah, your car feels it, too. If you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic that isn’t going anywhere there isn’t much you can do. The little you can, however, is just turning your car off. That’s right- turn it off. Some people believe that turning it on/off consumes more gas than idling, but this actually isn’t true at all. In fact, leaving your car idling for about ten seconds already takes more fuel than turning that key over. Don’t leave your car idling while you wait, either. When in doubt, take the key out!
Shed Some Weight: Extra drag on a vehicle can absolutely cause undue strain on the engine, wheels, and more. This, in turn, means your car work harder to move, and so it burns more gas to do so. It’s great to have emergency supplies in your vehicle but you should take into consideration the size of it and how much you can actually fit. Keep the essentials, but lose the rest. You might be able to get up to a mile or two more a gallon just by doing this! Obviously a larger car, SUV, or truck can handle a larger load than a compact sedan can. Just use your best judgment, and maybe look into what the manufacturer says about weight limits. Remember: just because you can fit it in your trunk, or in the bed of your truck, doesn’t mean that your vehicle has the necessary capabilities to haul it!
From The Outside, In: This tip is a follow-up to the previous tip. Now that you’ve made sure the inside of your car is clean and free of extra weight it’s time to look at the outside. If you like to hike, bike, kayak, or otherwise, then pay attention. Most of the carrying systems you can install on your car will affect the shape of it. This lessens the aerodynamic qualities of your vehicle. Most cars are created with air resistance in mind, and anything hanging off of them will cause more. If you aren’t planning on using your rack anytime soon then take it off. You can always install it the night before you head out. This will also ensure it’s secured properly each time! Of course, this may not seem worth doing since it can be such a hassle. It’s really up to you!
Put A Cap On It: So, we finally got to an interesting, lesser known one. We’re all aware of gas caps, and especially aware of how easy it is to accidentally leave them off. We’ve all been there! What most don’t realize is that over time the seal of the cap can corrode. This means oxygen is free to get into your gas tank, which is definitely not a good thing. In fact, you can expect to lose up to 20% of your fuel economy just because of this.. Even if it’s just loose, and not corroded! The oversaturation of air in the engine means that more gasoline is burned to compensate. Luckily gas caps are pretty cheap, and you shouldn’t need to replace it all that often. While it may be tempting to skip out on the dealership, this is one of those rare times where we recommend you to go there. Many cars have sensors which sense their gas cap. A non-dealer certified part may not work with your car because of this.
Switch To Autopilot: Cruise control is great for saving money at the pump. It ensures that your car is only using the exact amount of fuel it needs to stay at a certain speed. Of course, cruise control has ups and downs like everything else. It’s generally only useful in situations where you aren’t constantly starting and stopping. Like, the highway, or other high-speed areas without lights. You also need to make sure you’re paying attention since accidents can easily happen otherwise. On the other hand, cruise control is great for staying at the speed limit while on the interstate. It’s also great for saving you money! Whether you want to utilize this feature is up to you, but we highly suggest giving it some thought.
Don’t Fear The Reaper: Alright, so that’s a little dramatic. Here we’re talking about the dreaded “check engine” light. It flicks on, and you freeze in fear. What to do, what to do! Here’s the thing: it might be a super simple, easy fix. Sometimes it’s as silly as tightening your gas cap! Remember those sensors we talked about earlier in your car? If your car doesn’t sense your gas cap it will send you what is effectively a distress signal. To be more specific, the check engine light. Be sure to always answer this call to action! If you need some help you can invest in a code reader. These useful devices will help you figure out the problem in a snap. Some of them even hook up with your phone for easier usage and other handy information. Engine problems can lead to a lot of mileage problems in general, so get it fixed as soon as you can.
Play It Cool: When you use your AC your car is using more fuel. Also, when you have your windows down you’re messing with the aerodynamics your car was built with. This isn’t the best advice on a super hot day, but you’ll find if you just use the AC in small blasts you can still stay pretty cool. If you really need one or the other, you should go with having your windows down. The AC puts an extra load on the engine which means more gas usage. It actually saves a significant amount! AC is, at the end of the day, the worst option you have. If you’re able to keep your windows up and the AC off then even better. Sure, there’s a pretty big difference in fuel usage between the windows and AC… but having both the windows up and the AC off is astounding!
Steady As She Goes: Guess where your car gets power. That’s right, fuel! And what requires more power to be supplied by the engine? Acceleration. We’re sure you see in what direction we’re going with this. A money-saving direction, of course! You should aim for a steady speed, and try to coast your way through most situations. Use the gas pedal sparingly, and only when you need it, to avoid the extra power pull from your engine. When you can’t use cruise control because of your location just keep this tip in mind instead.
Understand Your Surroundings: Finally, at the end of the day, the biggest thing to keep in mind is your own environment. How much gas mileage you’re able to get is highly dependent on where you live. Most vehicles come with two MPG estimates, as a matter of fact: city, and highway. This is because these two different places present entirely different challenges. The highway is better because there’s less stopping and going, and you’re generally going at a steady speed. If you live in the city you will always be getting worse mileage. There’s no way around that! That’s why taking care of your car and using these tips is so important.
Hopefully, you now have some money-saving ideas in your back pocket. Getting better mileage not only puts more in your wallet, but it can also extend the life of your car overall. When you pay attention to the little things that aid in better gas usage you will inevitably take better care of your vehicle in general. Putting less strain on the engine, keeping it free of excess weight, taking proper care of your wheels… these are all important ingredients in a long, full life! Between the high gas prices, climbing tuition fees, stagnant wages, and overall cost of living, there’s never been a better time to give these tips a try. When you use all of them in tandem you’ll find that the savings are significant and well worth the effort you’re putting in.
- Money Crashes – 9 Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage
- YouTube – Can tires improve fuel economy?
- Napa Online – How the Check Engine Light Can Affect Your Fuel Economy
- Money Talks News – How to Increase Your Gas Mileage by 70 Percent
- Business Insider – It’s More Efficient to Drive With Your Windows Open Than Air Conditioner On