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How to Improve Your Fuel Economy:
Top Tips for Better Gas Mileage


Purchase a fuel-efficient car
The best way to save money on gas is to drive a fuel-efficient car. It might be impractical to replace your current car for something that costs less to run, but if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, keep fuel economy in mind.

Keep your vehicle well maintained
A car in poor running condition will use more gas than one that has been tuned up. A dirty air filter can reduce gas mileage up to 20%, and spark plugs in poor condition can reduce gas mileage up to 12%.

Be wary of gas-saving products
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission warns that most gas-saving products are bogus: "Be wary of any gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives. Even for the few gas-saving products that have been found to work, the savings have been small." Consumer Reports says, "Don’t waste your money."

Keep tires properly inflated
Underinflated tires aren’t just dangerous — they devour fuel economy by as much as 25%! Overinflated tires aren’t efficient, either. Also keep your tires balanced and in alignment.

• Save Money by Thinking Ahead •


Find the best prices
Use the web to research the lowest prices in your neighborhood. For example, is "a network of more than 179+ gas price information web sites that helps you find low gasoline prices."

Alter your commute time
If possible, schedule your trips and errands for times when traffic is lighter. In an insanely detailed article, Omninerd found that commute times varied widely depending on the time the author left the house. If your company allows it, try coming in earlier or later in order to avoid rush hour.

Optimize your travel
Consolidate trips; combine your errands and appointment, multiple trips into one.

Lighten your load
Carry only the bare neccessities — don’t keep things in your trunk. "For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy." [via Bankrate]

Reduce drag
About half of your vehicle’s energy is expended overcoming air resistance. (The other half is expended in acceleration.) Reduce your car’s workload: remove anything that might cause drag: luggage racks, bike racks, ski racks, etc,

• Save Money at the Pump •


Buy gas on Wednesdays
"Gas prices are statistically the cheapest on Wednesdays, but this is only true over a large number of days. It won’t be true every week." Gas prices often jump before holidays, too. [via WikiHow]

Don’t go out of your way to save a few pennies on gas
If it’s convenient to shop at a cheaper place, do so. If not, don’t. On a ten-gallon fill-up, saving five cents a gallon only nets you fifty cents.

Buy gas during the coolest times of the day
"During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind: gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to 'volume of measurement'." [via]

Use the right octane level for your car
Using premium gasoline in an engine designed to run on regular doesn’t improve performance. Even some vehicles that call for higher octane fuels can run on regular unleaded, though with some loss of performance. (Check your owner’s manual.) You can save money by using the lowest octane rated gasoline that your car will tolerate.

Don’t top off your tank
Trust the auto-shutoff. Overfilling can lead to wasted gas and sometimes even harm your car.

Be sure your gas cap is tight
"Improperly seated gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S." [via Advance Auto Parts]

• Drive Wise •


Drive at a constant, moderate speed found that the best way to improve fuel efficiency was to accelerate slowly and to brake over a longer distance. Aside from purchasing a new vehicle, this is the single most effective step you can take to reduce your costs. According to "As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas."

Use cruise control
For most of us, our driving speed tends to fluctuate. Cruise control takes the human element out of the equation, and keeps driving speeds steady. It’s the easy way to drive at a constant moderate pace.

Don’t idle
Turn off your engine if you’ll be idling for more than thirty seconds. Starting your vehicle does use a burst of fuel, but not as much as allowing the engine to idle too long.

Anticipate stop signs and lights
Plan ahead. The less you have to stop, the better your gas mileage. Make it a game to catch all of the green lights.

Keep your cool
Most people claim that it makes more sense to use air conditioning on the highway, and to roll down the windows in city traffic. “The rule of thumb is to keep the windows down while on city streets, then resort to air conditioning when you hit the highway,” says Slate writer Brendan Koerner.

Do what works for you. (But please: don’t run your air conditioner with the windows open.)


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