As I was driving into work this morning I heard a lady on NPR giving tips on how to improve gas mileage. The three tips she gave were to keep your cars tire pressure at the recommended level, change your air filter and remove things from your trunk that may be weighing your car down. This got me thinking, with the summer driving season coming up quickly, what are some gas saving tips you wouldn’t normally think of. It also made me think about what recommendations are just not true.
After some research I found these quick and easy tips:
- Drive more smoothly. Speeding up, hitting the brakes, only to speed up again uses a lot more gas than keeping a smooth ride. Getting up to speed is where you use the most gas; maintaining that speed uses significantly less gas.
- Reduce drag: Remove the ski/luggage rack and drop the tailgate on those pickup trucks. If you’re willing to do it yourself, wash and wax your car! Every little bit helps, right?
- Replace your spark plugs. Older spark plugs misfire more frequently wasting gas.
- Don’t fill up until you are empty! It goes along with reducing drag.
- Park in the shade to reduce fuel evaporation.
- Keep it at or under 65 MPH. Speeding increases drag.
- Avoid idling for long periods. According to consumerreports.org, if you plan on idling for more than 30 seconds, turn off your car.
- Keep you tire pressure at recommended levels BUT do not over-inflate! Over inflation may cause less friction by having less of the tire on the road but this can be very dangerous. Consider filling your tires with nitrogen. Nitrogen is less likely to migrate through the rubber of the tire and it does not change pressure with temperature changes. This creates a more stable tire pressure over the long run.
ConsumerReports.org offered the following myths:
- A common tip is to buy gasoline in the morning, when the air is cool, rather than in the heat of the day. The theory is that the cooler gasoline will be denser, so you will get more for your money. But the temperature of the gasoline coming out of the fuel nozzle changes very little, if at all, during any 24-hour stretch. Any extra gas you get will be negligible.
- Some people advise you not to run the air conditioner because it puts more of a load on the engine, which can decrease fuel economy. But others say that opening the windows at highway speeds can affect gas mileage even more by disrupting the vehicle's aerodynamics. In our tests in a Honda Accord, using air conditioning while driving at 65 mph reduced the vehicle's gas mileage by over 3 mpg. The effect of opening the windows at 65 mph was not measurable.
- Our tests show that driving with a dirty air filter no longer has any impact on fuel economy, as it did with older engines. That's because modern engines use computers to precisely control the air/fuel ratio, depending on the amount of air coming in through the filter. Reducing airflow causes the engine to automatically reduce the amount of fuel being used. Fuel economy didn't change, but the Camry accelerated much more slowly with a dirty filter.
Employing some of these tips may help you improve your gas mileage by up to 30%. Are there other tips you use?