Have gas prices got you down? It’s pretty easy to get sticker shock filling up your tank today, particularly if you drive a vehicle with a sizeable gas tank. There’s no reason to let those prices ruin your day, though. You’ll find some surprisingly simple ways to increase gas mileage and help make each dollar stretch a little further. Here are nine great ways you can be more bang for your buck.
1. Let Up
Perhaps the most important tip is to let up on the gas pedal. If your foot hits the accelerator like a ton of bricks, you’re wasting gas every time you try to speed up. Remember – it takes more gas to accelerate than it does to maintain your speed. Moreover, dumping fuel into the engine is wasteful. The engine can only burn so much at one time, and there is always an element of waste. The harder you hit the accelerator, the more you waste.
2. Slow Down
How often have you heard the advice to slow down in order to save fuel? You might have thought those people were mistaken, but there’s a lot of wisdom in this advice. Speeds over 60 mph actually tend to decrease fuel mileage. If you find that you have to speed in order to get where you’re going on time, it might be wise to try leaving a few minutes earlier if you really want to see any financial savings at the pump.
3. Cut the Weight
How much extra weight are you carrying around in your car, truck or van? If you’re like most people, there’s probably the equivalent of another passenger’s body weight rattling around in your vehicle. Remember – the more weight your vehicle has to haul, the harder the engine has to work. Get rid of nonessential items. Every extra pound inside your car equates to wasted money at the fuel pump. Take a good, hard look at what you’re carrying around with you, clean out anything that’s not vital and you might be surprised at how much less fuel you use.
4. Use the Cruise
If your car is equipped with cruise control, you have a valuable tool for saving gas and improving mileage you might not even be aware of. While it runs counter to the way most of us think, your car’s computer is actually better at using fuel correctly. Turning on your cruise control when on the Interstate or in other areas where you can travel at speed without having to worry about hitting your brakes can help you slash your fuel costs.
5. Idle Hands
How often do you leave your car running when you’re not in motion? Maybe you had to run into the store for something and it was just easier to let your car idle while you did so. Stop – idling is one of the most significant sources of gas waste. Your car is using gas for no reason. Shut it off.
6. Check Your Tires
Checking your tires and making sure they have the right amount of air pressure is important. If your tires are low, then your engine is having to work extra hard to turn them – set your tire pressure by the rating on your driver side door placard.
7. Tune Up
When was the last time you had your spark plugs and wires replaced? If it’s been a while, chances are good that you’re not getting the optimum spark needed to burn fuel vapor. Replace old, worn out spark plugs and wires.
If you haven’t had your wheels aligned lately, chances are good that you’re wasting gas. When your wheels are out of alignment, the engine has to work harder to move your car down the road. Poor alignment will also cause uneven tire wear, which affects tire life as well as fuel consumption.
9. Time of Day
The time of day that you fill your tank will also have an effect on how much you pay for gas. Ideally, you’ll fill your tank in the morning or late evening – when the temperature is lower. As the outside temperature increases, so does the volume of gas. Since gas is sold by volume, filling up when it’s cooler will get you more for your money.
Don Elfrink is the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of an automotive production site. AutoMatStore floor mats consist of logo, molded, carpet and all weather mats.