How to Improve Gas Mileage in 5 Steps
Are trips to the gas station costing you more than normal? It’s not just you. Gas prices have hit a national all-time high, and it’s clear that many Americans are hurting at the pump.
Fortunately, there are habits and practices that can help you go further on a gallon of gas. A common misconception is that fuel economy is a fixed number. The truth, however, is that certain habits can be costing you precious fuel. The good news is that understanding and implementing these tips will save on not only fuel costs but also any costly repairs down the road.
To get the most out of your vehicle, we recommended these 5 steps to improve your gas mileage:
1) Stay current on routine maintenance
Taking your car into a dealership for routine maintenance can identify any areas where your vehicle is not running optimally. On average, drivers can improve their fuel economy by roughly 10 percent by keeping their vehicles properly tuned. When you factor in that Americans are spending nearly $5,000 a year on fuel now, that can be up to $500 in savings!
For instance, dirty air filters, spark plugs, and sensors can all affect your gas consumption. Following the recommended maintenance for your car will ensure it runs more efficiently and produces fewer emissions. It may be tempting to delay a trip to the service department, but the money you’ll save in the long run is well worth the visit.
2) Make sure your tires are properly inflated
Underinflated tires burn through fuel quicker, and they’re dangerous, too. This is because they increase your car’s drag, thus creating more fuel consumption. In fact, one National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study revealed every 1% decrease in tire pressure correlated to a 0.3% reduction in fuel economy.
Furthermore, when Edmunds.com conducted a tire pressure study of their own, they found that on average, their own employees (all automotive enthusiasts to begin with) had underinflated tires. Typically, a tire’s inflation pressure will go down by about 1 “pound per square inch” or PSI every month. This means that if air isn’t added for two to three months, the tire will likely be 2 to 3 PSI low.
All that’s to say, you likely need to check your tire pressure if it’s been a while. It’s important not only for fuel efficiency but also for improved safety and the prevention of tire wear, which could save you even more money. Fortunately, this is a simple fix and can be done at nearly any gas station. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or tire manufacturer’s website for your vehicle’s specific PSI ratings.
3) Change your air filter often
Reduced airflow can make your car’s performance suffer. Dirty air filters can clog and prevent airflow to the engine, changing your vehicle’s air-fuel balance. When this balance is thrown off, it can pollute spark plugs, cause damage to internal engine parts, and reduce your fuel economy.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 22 cents per gallon by replacing a dirty air filter. Time to replace yours? Stop in by our Express Service Lane for speedy expert service with no appointment needed.
4) Avoid excessive idling
If you own or have test-driven a newer vehicle, you may have noticed that most have a feature that turns off the engine when you idle the car. The reason for this is to save fuel! Waiting at a red light can take upwards of 2 to 3 minutes while starting your car only requires 10 seconds of gas. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of gas per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use, according to the Department of Energy.
If you have to stay in your car for longer than a minute and you are parked safely, it is highly recommended to stop your car. Newer cars are equipped with heavy-duty starters that can handle dozens of starts a day, but it should be noted that turning your engine on and off excessively can increase starter wear in older models.
5) Adopt good driving habits
Kindness on the road pays off. That’s because aggressive driving habits like speeding and gunning the engine are major fuel wasters.
Practicing good driving habits isn’t just the safe thing to do, but it can also save you money. The Department of Energy states that for every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph, “you are paying an additional $0.18 per gallon.”
In real-world testing by Edmunds.com, they found that aggressive driving, such as rapid acceleration and sharp braking, was the biggest culprit for reduced fuel economy. Furthermore, they found that drivers who adopted good driving habits could save 33 percent to 38 percent on gas.
Tired of your gas-guzzling vehicle? Trade it in for a newer model! We have dozens of options available now at United Toyota Imperial, from award-winning, fuel-efficient models to gas-saving hybrids. Value your trade using our online tool.
Or, if you’re tired of gas altogether – go electric. United Toyota Imperial in Imperial, CA has various fuel-efficient options for drivers. Shop our new Toyota models and used car lot online or visit us in-store at 2351 CA-86.