Yesterday, I stopped to fill up at a local BP station where I shelled out $3.99 a gallon to fill â€˜er up. Just down the road, the same grade was over $4.00. I drive an older model Ford Taurus, and it costs about $70.00 for a full tank. In my house, we have a full size Chevrolet Silverado which cost approximately $100.00 to fill and gets a measly 15 mpg in the city. My daughter’s car, a Chevy Malibu, probably gets the best gas mileage out of the three; she can go over 230 miles on a full tank. Not great, but better than the Silverado and the Taurus.
It seems like every day gas prices are going up with no real reason for the increase, and while there are quite a few fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, not everyone can afford to buy a new Toyota Prius or a fancy Hybrid. I did some research and found the Automotive Oil Change Association recently offered up a few recommendations to help us get the most out of our mileage. If you can’t car-pool or take mass transit, the AOCA offers the following tips and tricks:
â€¢ Regularly changing oil will help lubricate the engine, minimize friction and carry away excessive heat, all of which will lead to greater fuel efficiency.
Use the Right Grade
â€¢ Make sure that you are using the right grade of motor oil for your vehicle. This is usually printed on the oil cap or in your owner’s manual.
â€¢ Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, all are big gas wasters. These things can lower your gas mileage up to 33 percent at highway speeds and up to 5 percent around town.
Observe Speed Limits
â€¢ While every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed, gas mileage usually decreases at speeds above 60 mph. As a rule, assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas.
â€¢ Dirty air filters make it harder for the engine to breathe, therefore if the flow is restricted by a clogged air filter, the fuel economy and vehicle performance will suffer. Replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by up to 10 percent.
â€¢ As I wrote about last week, under-inflated tires affect your mileage by increasing resistance and making it more difficult for the engine to move the car along the road. For every 1-psi you are under the optimal rate, you lose about 0.4 percent of your miles per gallon. You can improve mileage by approximately 3.3 percent by inflating their tires to the proper psi for their vehicle.
Remove Excess Weight
â€¢ Avoid keeping unneeded items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your fuel economy by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Avoid Excessive Idling
â€¢ When a vehicle is idling, you are getting 0 miles to the gallon.
Use Cruise Control
â€¢ By using cruise control on the highway, you’ll be maintaining a constant speed and saving gas.
Secure Gas Cap
â€¢ Make sure your gas cap is on and not loose or damaged. 147 million gallons of gas vaporize every year due to these conditions.
If you’re doing any or all of these things – or if you’re doing something entirely different, (biking to work, you bought a scooter, you traded in your gas guzzler for a hybrid, etc.), I’d like to hear from you, so please leave a comment below and tell me how you’re fighting the hight cost of fuel.
Many of our readers have written in and recommended gas credit cards as an easy way to save money on gas. Although this won’t “improve your gas mileage” getting a credit card that gives you cash back on your fuel purchases is a good way to save some extra money at the pump. You can find some a list of good gas credit cards here.