How Do I Get Better Gas Mileage?
Although fuel prices rise and fall over the years like any other commodity, we’re guessing that you don’t instinctively change your driving habits once the price falls below $1.00 a litre. Instead, we’re here to help you maximize your car’s fuel efficiency using these 10 clever tips, all year long.
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Ways to Get 30% Better Fuel Economy
1. Slow down!
Want another reason to obey the posted speed limit aside from general safety and avoiding costly photo radar tickets? It turns out that most cars, trucks, and SUVs operate in a fuel consumption “sweet spot” between 50 and 80 km/h. How significant is this reverse bell curve? For example, traveling at 120 km/h uses 20% more to reach your destination than at 100 km/h.
2. Plan your trip
Take some time to optimize your commute so that you can accomplish your errands driving the shortest distance and by avoiding traffic. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that a better route exists, out of habit. Try using Google or Apple Maps to find alternate routes before you set out.
3. Drive smoothly
Focus on accelerating smoothly, looking ahead to stop lights, coasting and braking gradually to minimize fuel use and wear and tear. Leave drag racing to the track!
4. Don’t idle more than 30 seconds
Have you been told that you need to let your car sit and run to warm up in the winter? Idling for more than 30 seconds really isnt necessary to protect your engine, particular in relatively mild Kamloops, BC winters. Plus if it’s really cold, your car’s interior heat up much faster once you’re in motion. What about fuel use starting vs. idling your car? If you’re sitting in the drive-thru for more than a minute, turn off your car.
5. Drive with the windows up and turn off the A/C
Driving at highway speeds, using air conditioning or having the windows down can decrease fuel economy approximately 30%. Taking comfort into account, drive with your windows up and keep the A/C off whenever possible.
6. Use your cruise control
if your car came with it, might as well put it to good use! Using cruise control helps prevent wasteful speeding up and slowing down, and thus extra engine strain, on long stretches of highway.
7. Clean out your car!
Did you know that having an extra 100 pounds of gear in your vehicle can reduce fuel economy up to 2%? Lighten the load and clear out your trunk full of gear that you don’t need.
8. Use the right fuel grade
If your car takes Premium gasoline and you’re filling up with Regular, your engine has to retard its timing, causing a lower power output and worse gas mileage. Always use the octane of gas recommended in your owner’s manual or printed on your gas cap. Also, using a higher-grade gasoline than recommended does not increase fuel efficiencydespite what the TV commercials might claim.
9. Drive in a higher gear
if you’re driving a car with a manual transmission, shift into a higher gear and keep your revs around 2500 rpms for optimal fuel efficiency.
10. Drive smooth roads
Gravel country lanes and unpaved, snowy roads sap your fuel economy up to 30%. If you can, choose roads that have smooth, clear pavement.
11. Check your tire pressure once a month
Big temperature swings can create fluctuations in your tire pressure. Make sure that your tires are filled to the manufacturer’s recommended psi by checking the guide printed on the side of your door or in the owner’s manual.
12. Keep up with preventative maintenance
Follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule to make sure that you’re not losing MPGs to old, sludgy oil, a dirty ait filter, a faulty O2 sensor, or misaligned suspension.
13. Drive on less aggressive tires
Unless you regularly like to drive off road in your truck or SUV, a smaller, narrower set of tires with a less aggressive tread pattern will give you much better fuel efficiencynot to mention less road noise.