Tips For Improving Fuel Economy

By bsozak | January 12, 2018

Throughout this blog post, we’ll aim to provide you with a mix of well known, practical tips as well as some more off the wall options for you folks that are a little more adventurous in your quest to wring every last penny out of your car’s fuel economy.




So let’s start with some well-known options, like your driving habits.

  • Drive with fuel economy in mind. You may love to drive fast, but when you’re doing 80mph on the freeway your fuel economy suffers. Typically, when a vehicle goes over 50mph fuel economy begins to reduce. The general heuristic here is that each mile per hour over 50mph will cost you about $0.25 extra per gallon of gas. So stick to the speed limit, particularly on the highway to save yourself the cost of a ticket, and the additional fuel expense.
  • Lighten the load. There can be a lot of reasons your car can begin guzzling gas over time, but don’t let excessive junk be the cause. If your trunk is full of heavy stuff that you don’t need or use regularly, find it a new home. Every 100 pounds of stuff can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 2 percent. Your car can’t control what’s in it, but you can!
  • Turn it off. A while back I was reading in my local paper that they were limiting the number of miles local police could drive each week to save on gas cost. That same day I saw an officer go in for a coffee while he left his car idling for ten minutes in front of the building. What this officer apparently didn’t understand is that leaving your car idling still uses gas, particularly if you have the air conditioning on. If you’re going to be out of the car for an extended period of time, just turn it off.

Car care can improve your fuel economy, too

Everyone likes to talk about “maintaining your car” but if you’re not a gearhead you may not know exactly what that means. In terms of your fuel economy, there are definitely some things you’ll want to keep an eye on:

  • Regular maintenance and inspections. Your car’s owners manual should have a specified time frame for regular maintenance. Most modern cars can be diagnosed electronically for a lot of minor issues. Once you hit your milestones (time or mileage), take your vehicle to your local dealer or a trusted repair shop for a diagnostic check. Proactive trips will help you avoid potentially costly repairs and keep your engine running efficiently, saving you at the pump. Additionally, whether your state requires emissions testing or not, you’ll likely want to have an emissions test. If your vehicle doesn’t pass, it’s likely not running very efficiently.
  • Check your tire pressure. This is an issue many people ignore. In cold climates, in particular, tire pressure has a tendency to drop off in the winter. The tire pressure specifications are usually found on the inside of your door or in the glove compartment. If it’s not in either area, grab the specs directly off your tire and either look up the specs on Google or the manufacturer’s website. Proper tire pressure can save you as much as 3 percent in fuel costs.
  • New air filters for older vehicles. This is one your grandpa will remind you about, but most modern cars don’t have a direct tie between fuel economy and the air filter. You’ll notice an acceleration improvement when you change out a raggedy old filter for a new one, but it won’t improve your mileage. For classic cars (pre-1980s), most of the older engines will see both a boost in acceleration and fuel economy with a new filter.

Travel tips for improved fuel economy

Changing how you drive is usually simply seen as your driving techniques like steering, monitoring your speed, etc. But there are driving habits that you can institute into your routine that will help your personal efficiency and also greatly reduce your gas expenses.

  • If possible, adjust your work schedule to times that work best for driving. If heading into the office a half an hour early and leaving a half an hour early to avoid rush hour is a possibility, do it. Sitting in standstill traffic for an extra 25 minutes every day can wear on your sanity and it definitely burns through fuel needlessly. Alternately, if working from home is an option, try to fit that into your schedule once a week or bi-weekly. Depending on the length of your commute, this can add up to substantial savings over time.
  • Use your car efficiently. Pay attention to your schedule. If you’re making multiple trips each week to the bank, to get groceries or run errands, start doing these tasks in one trip rather than multiple separate trips. You’ll not only save time, you’ll also save yourself extra trips to the gas station.
  • Pick the right vehicle for the job. If you’re traveling with the family and you need to bring a lot of items with you, take the minivan and leave the sedan with the roof rack at home. While it may be more fun to drive once you reach your destination, the drag from a roof rack will kill the fuel economy on an otherwise fuel efficient car.

Some off the wall ideas for fuel economy

The above tips are all practical, and many are well known. Here are some outside the box ideas for claiming even better efficiency with your fuel usage.

  • Buy gas on Wednesday. Okay, this doesn’t actually improve your fuel economy, but it will save you money. Statistics show Wednesday has the lowest gas prices. So rather than running yourself down to E on Thursday or Friday, make the stop on Wednesday.
  • Don’t top off your vehicle. When the pump stops, so should you. Overfilling your tank can actually hurt your car’s fuel efficiency.
  • Use a fuel additive. Yes, there are a ton of fuel additives out there that don’t really do anything. However, there are some that really can improve your fuel efficiency pretty drastically. One we’ve used with excellent results is the Fuel MD injector system cleaner. This additive just adds some cleaning agents into your gas and helps clean things up as it passes through your fuel system and your combustion chamber. It cleans up deposits and helps your engine run more efficiently, thereby improving your gas mileage.

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