5 Ways to Get Better Mileage
Even when gasoline prices aren't at record highs, it's just plain silly to pay more than you have to at the pump. Even with an older vehicle, it's possible to get better gas mileage by doing a few simple things and creating some new habits.
Change Your Driving Habits
Changing the way you drive is the most effective way to get better mileage. Start by planning out your trips so that you're not backtracking or idling. Idling Park away from the store rather than driving around looking for a “good” spot. Accelerate gently and coast instead of breaking where possible. Aggressive driving can cause your gas mileage to decrease by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% around town. Slowing by 5 miles per hour can add around 7% to your fuel economy and observing the speed limit is always safer than speeding. Using cruise control helps your car run more efficiently by maintaining a steady speed. If equipped, use overdrive unless you're towing a heavy load. This will maximize your engine's output for minimum fuel intake. Leave early if you need to, but slow down and drive patiently and responsibly. You'll be amazed at how much longer that tank of gas lasts.
Change Your Filters
Replacing your air filter lets your car use gas more efficiently, just as a clean furnace filter allows a furnace to run more effectively. Replacing your fuel filter can also help you get better mileage. While you're at it, change your oil and oil filter. Switching to synthetic oil can increase fuel efficiency by 5%.
Check Your Tires
Keeping tires inflated to the proper PSI is essential to getting better mileage. Too little air costs around 7% in wasted fuel and causes excessive wear on your tires. There is a number on the wall of your tire, which will indicate the maximum PSI for your tires. This number is for cold tires, so if you've been driving for a while, you may need less. Remember that the PSI can change drastically if the weather changes – less pressure in cold temperatures – and should be checked once a month at minimum and once a week ideally.
Watch The Weight
100 pounds of weight increases fuel consumption by 1-2%. If you frequently drive around using your trunk as a storage locker, clear it out. By the same token, 10 gallons of fuel adds 60 pounds of weight. Try to keep your gas tank between ¼ and ½ full to achieve maximum fuel efficiency without wearing out your fuel pump.
Adjust Your Windows
During the summer, you may feel the need to crank up the AC, but try to avoid it in city traffic. Using your AC in stop-and-go traffic causes the engine to work extra hard and consume more fuel. At highway speeds, however, it is more effective to run the AC rather than create wind resistance by rolling down your windows.