In this day and age gas isn't cheap, and we are all making a pit stop at the gas station too frequently. Learn how you can improve your gas mileage and spend more time on the road and less at the pump.
All drivers know that gas is not cheap these days, and even though gas prices are down from where they were a year ago, they are still around $3.30 per gallon. Luckily, there are some easy ways to save a pretty penny at the pumps that don't involve running out and buying an expensive hybrid vehicle or electric car.
For starters, Americans have a reputation that we are always 'on the go' and in a hurry, and it's probably true. We talk fast, walk fast, and drive even faster, but maybe we should slow down. Why? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving is the leading cause for poor gas mileage. In fact, when we drive aggressively we use about 33 percent more gas on the highway and about 5 percent more in city driving. Aggressive driving includes:
- Rapid acceleration
- Braking hard
Driving with more sensibility and thought can help save us precious gas money, but that isn't all it could help with. Decreasing acceleration, driving the speed limit, and braking gently are also safe driving tips and could help save your life or the life of an innocent by-stander.
Remove Excess Weight from the Vehicle
The more stuff you have in your car the heavier it is on the road. Just as big, heavy, full-sized trucks and SUVs get worse gas mileage than a family sedan, a weighed-down vehicle is the same. Having an extra 100lbs in your vehicle – which is easily done if you have toddlers or babies you tote around often – can reduce your MPG (miles per gallon) rating by up to 2 percent.
Two percent? You're probably thinking that's nothing, but it adds up to about $0.04-$0.07 per gallon – that's a lot of money per fill-up. If you already drive a large truck or SUV having excess weight in the back won't affect your gas mileage as much as it will your friend's coupe or sedan, but it is still helpful to only carry around your essentials.
When Your Car is in Park
Have you heard the rumor that turning your car off and starting it back up uses more gas than it does to leave your car idling? Well, we're here to tell you – that's a myth! If you leave your car idling in the driveway for one hour with your air conditioning running you could use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy calculated that to be about $0.02-$0.04 per gallon with your air conditioning running, and about $0.01-$0.03 with it off.
How to Save Gas While Driving
Two big components that people rarely take advantage of that could help you save gas are:
- Cruise Control
- Overdrive Gears
When you're cruising down the highway, keeping a constant speed is imperative to fuel cost savings. You can flip your cruise control on so you coast at the same speed (hopefully, the speed limit) until you need to exit; which will not only save you gas, but prevent you from getting a speeding ticket, or getting a cramp in your foot – we've all gotten those, ouch!
The overdrive gears are one thing that is overlooked by many drivers, but they are a key tool to use in keeping your engine in good shape while helping you save money. When you put your car into "O" the engine speed decreases requiring less RPMs (revs per minute), reduces engine wear, and uses less fuel.
Keep Your Car in Good Shape
People often put off car repairs and maintenance because they don't have the extra money at the time, but what they don't know is that when you do these repairs you get better gas mileage. In turn, you see your savings account grow. Some simple things you can do to keep your car in good running condition include:
- Keep your engine tuned – if your car has gone through a recent emissions test, and failed, fixing these issues will help improve your MPG rating by about 4% - depending on which make/model you drive and how you drive it.
- Keep tires inflated – having the proper amount of air pressure in your tires can improve your gas mileage up to 3 percent. If you have under or over inflated tires you can lower your gas mileage by about .3%, plus it makes for unsafe driving conditions.
- Use the recommended oil grade – if the manufacturer recommends using 5W-30 and you use 10W-30 you are lowering your gas mileage, and could potentially harm the engine. Always follow what the manual calls for.
Everyone wants two things when they are behind the wheel of their car – good gas mileage and to get to and from their destination safely. Keeping your car in tip-top shape can help you achieve both of these goals. Don't put off your routine check-up any longer.
Choose a More Fuel Efficient Car
If you do all of the above mentioned things to help improve your gas mileage, but you're still spending too much at the pump each week it may be time to look into a more fuel efficient car. Most car makers are making their vehicles with better MPG ratings, but it's common knowledge that hybrid cars can save you large amounts of money when it comes to fuel costs. If you think this might fit your fancy you should research and learn more about hybrid cars, and decide if they are the best decision for you.
Going green isn't for everyone, so if you're someone who wants to get better gas mileage without buying hybrid, you still have options. For example, if you drive a Ford F-150 and it's time for you to get a new vehicle, look into a smaller vehicle with better MPG ratings. This doesn't mean you have to opt for a compact car, but you can get a small crossover vehicle that gets upwards of 20 combined MPG, which is better than you are getting with a full-size truck.
As We See It
It's been reported that we could see gas drop below $3 by December, but until that happens we are all looking for ways to get better gas mileage. This isn't too far out of reach for anyone, and if you follow the simple steps outlined above, even those people driving gas-guzzlers will see better MPG ratings.
If you wish to proceed with the last point of just buying a more fuel efficient car, Auto Credit Express can help you. All you need to do is submit our free, easy, and secure online car loan application, and we do the rest for you. We will find the nearest dealership to your home town that can get you approved, set up an appointment with their finance manager, and you could be driving home in your new car tomorrow – even if you have terrible credit. Get started today and start seeing that gas mileage increase!