12 Steps to Getting Better Gas Mileage!
by Amy Mattinat, Author of "How To Buy A Great Used Car," available at www.usedcarexperts.com
There are a number of things you can do to ease the money coming out of your wallet to pay for gasoline to power your car. The easiest and most effective way to save money on gas is to park it. Hide the keys from yourself and walk or ride a bike. If you need to go a greater distance try carpooling. This will cut your fuel costs in half and you don’t have the expense of maintaining a car. If you live in a larger city, public transportation can replace your car plus it eliminates the hassle of finding a parking spot.
But let’s get real. For most of us owning and driving an automobile is a necessity. For others, it’s our freedom to come and go as we please and we have no intention of giving that up.
Before you can start getting better mileage, you need to find out what kind of gas mileage your car is getting. Put a pen and small notebook in the glove box of your car. The next time you fill up the tank, record the odometer reading and reset your trip gauge to zero. From then on, every time you fill the tank subtract the new mileage from the old mileage. Take this number (the miles you traveled between filling-up) and divide by the quantity of gas you bought. This is your car’s miles per gallon or mpg.
Example: You traveled 300 miles and put in 10 gallons of gas. 300 divided by 10 = 30 mpg. If you don’t like what you’re getting or just want to do even better, take some of these fuel saving tips:
1. Slow Down! According to the Car Care Council, there is an aerodynamic drag on your car that at 70 mph is double the drag then at 50 mph. slowing down can increase your mileage. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon down the fuel tank.
2. Drive kindly! Don’t be a tailgater or an impatient person that passes everyone. All that rapid acceleration and hard braking not only wastes gas, but is annoying and can be dangerous. This bad habit can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% in the city driving, which can result in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.
3. Avoid excessive idling! You get zero miles per gallon when the car it just sitting there idling away, and it also burns more gas than restarting the engine, puts wear and tear on the engine and adds to toxic emissions.
4. Minimize air conditioning! In city driving using the air conditioner in hot weather can increase your fuel consumption more than 20%. An efficient way to utilize the A/C is to use it to cool off the car, then turn it off and use the air vents to circulate the air. You can do this repeatedly if it gets stuffy and hot in the car. Sunroofs and tinted glass also help to keep the car cool.
5. Travel Smart. Using a roof rack or a carrier gives you additional cargo space with smaller cars, however a loaded rack decreases fue l efficiency by 5%. If objects will fit in the trunk this will reduce wind resistance and increase fuel efficiency. But, make sure you empty out the trunk afterwards because carrying around unnecessary items that weigh over 100 pounds also reduces an automobile’s fuel efficiency by 1 to 2%.
6.Remember to check your tires for proper inflation! If your tires are under inflated then it can cost a mile or two per gallon. By keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, they will wear longer and can improve your gas mileage by about 3.3%. You should check your tire inflation pressure (including the spare) at least once a month and definitely before every long trip.
7.Are you in alignment? When your car’s wheel are aligned this will reduce tire wear, give you better gas mileage, and improve the handling.
8.One-stop shopping! Plan your shopping so you can do all your errands in one day. Park the car in a central location and walk between destinations. Several short stop and go errands can use twice as much fuel than a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance.
9.Check out your gas cap. According to the Car Care Council, about 17% of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
10.Is your air filter dirty? The air filter is easily accessible and simple to change. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10%, which is a savings of about 15 cents per gallon.
11.Give your car a day at the “car spa” approximately every 30,000 miles (depending on the model). Vehicles have 4, 6 or 8 sparkplugs that every 1,000 miles fire as many as 3 million times. This creates a lot of heat, electrical and chemical erosion. The worn out and dirty plugs need to be replaced on a regular basis. A well maintained, tuned-up car may improve gas mileage by about 4 %, which saves you fuel, and money and reduces long-term maintenance costs. There are also many sensors that help keep the engine running smoothly and efficiently. Replacing a failed oxygen sensor could improve your gas mileage as much as 40%.
12.Know how to handle the gas pumps. When the gas pump turns off, stop the pump! Don’t try to add a couple more splashes to even up the dollar amount. A lot of newer cars don’t have room for any more gas and anything else those extra splashes will end up on the ground. plus In the warmer weather those extra splashes can expand and cause an overflow.
These are simple things you can do that will make a big difference to the overall cost of keeping your automobile’s insatiable hunger filled. Following these steps you can add miles to every gallon with your coupe, sedan, wagon, SUV, minivan and pickup truck!
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