Today, owning a car is not such a privilege, it has become almost mandatory. You need a car to move from one place to the other running errands, going to work, dropping kids to school, and so on so forth. Even entire families rely on cars to travel together conveniently. Now, while most car owners worry about maintenance and ensuring that their car is well serviced, it is the issue of gas that affects absolutely everyone. The price of gas is ever fluctuating and drivers often have no alternative than to pay up. While you may have little control over the price of petrol, did you know that you can stretch the number of miles you cover with the gas you have? In other words, you can improve your gas mileage by utilizing some simple tried and tested tricks. Well, some are really simple and obvious; for others, you’ll need to purpose and dedicate yourself to achieving them. It’s all about extending the utility and usefulness of the little gas you have in your tank. Have a look below.
1. Easy on the pedal:
Most people have this tendency to push their vehicles to the limit the moment they’ve filled up their tank. While you may be thrilled that your car is able to accelerate from 0 to 70 Miles per hour in less than 6 seconds, you also need to know that doing so burns more gas than you can ever imagine. The faster you’re driving, the more work the engine is doing in battling drag, and the more the gas it’ll consume. You can still arrive at your destination without having to step on your pedal so hard.
2. The maximum weight:
There’s a reason why most vehicles have the recommended maximum weight. But so often, we end up overloading cars so much it ends up overworking the engine. From carrying excess passengers, overloading the trunk and carrier with luggage. It’s just like you’d pant and puff when carrying a heavy load; overloading your car makes the engine strain and work harder. So, it’s not just about the wear and tear of your vehicle parts, you also consume more gas when you overload your vehicle. Be sure to check your vehicle’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating); avoid pushing your vehicle to the limit if you’re to improve your gas mileage.
3. Reducing drag:
Vehicles with roof racks for carrying luggage or back racks for hanging bikes and ski equipment really look cool, don’t they? Indeed they do, but at a cost. These additional features will add more weight to your car, and more importantly, increase the aerodynamic drag. The drag means that your engine will need to work harder and consequently, consume more gas. If you haul items and luggage quite often, it’s okay installing the racks. But if you’re doing it merely for the aesthetics, you’d be best advised to leave them.
4. Correct Tire Pressure:
This is another important aspect that most car owners neglect or conveniently forget. Inflating your car tires to the recommended pressure enhances your own safety on the road as well as helps improve your gas mileage. When the pressure is low on your tires, there’s more rolling resistance that makes the engine guzzle up more fuel. Less rolling resistance means an easier workload for the engine, better gas mileage.
5. Prolonged idling not recommended:
How many times have we parked aside and left the engine running for minutes we waited for someone or packed luggage in the trunk? A running engine consumes around one gallon of fuel per hour when idle. This is about 21.33 Ounces (oz) of fuel every 10 minutes! You can burn less fuel by simply turning off the engine and restarting it when you’re ready to move.
6. Warming the Engine:
Most drivers have this tendency of revving up the car all in the name of warming the engine, before driving off. But really, this is unnecessary; revving the car actually consumes more fuel than driving. It would be enough starting your engine and letting it run for about 20 seconds before driving off.
7. Recommended motor fuel:
Every engine is different and meant to work best with a certain type of fuel. If the automaker recommends that you use unleaded fue, or fuel with low octane rating, then you better do that. Higher octane fuels are more ideal for high performance vehicles with big high compression engines. Confirm with your auto dealer or mechanic on the ideal oil for your vehicle.
8. Observing the speed limit:
It’s always prudent to observe the recommended seed limit, or even drive below it where possible. You not only stay safe from being booked with speeding tickets, it also improves your gas mileage. Observing the recommended 60 miles an hour limit is a sure way of improving your gas mileage. But again, don’t drive too slowly as this may endanger you and other drivers on major highways. The trick is to keep it at the minimum recommended limit at all times.
Double Your Gas Mileage
9. Gas cap seal:
Your gas cap has a rubber seal and with time, this seal gets worn out, starts breaking down. Oxygen leaks into the gas tank and as the engine pulls gasoline, it burns more, faster, thanks to the presence of the oxygen. Replacing your gas cap seal every once in a while goes a long way in improving your gas mileage. Most modern cars have automatic sensors that alert you when the seal needs replacement. You can get a new cap with $20 to $30 from your local dealership.
10. Try Cruise Control:
It is very easy to match the speed of the car in front of you when driving on the highway, even when it’s being driven past the speed limit. But the recommendable thing is for you to use cruise control when driving on the highway; helps you maintain a safe and legal distance, as well as a speed that’s gas efficient. With cruise control, there’s reduced need for accelerating and braking.
11. Replacing Air Filters and Spark Plugs:
When your air filters and spark plugs are in good condition, the engine runs and burns fuel more efficiently. When taking your car at the service station, make a habit of having these two checked. At times, all that’s needed is for the mechanic to scratch and clean the plugs and the engine is able to run smoothly, start instantly.
12. Turning off your A/C:
Necessary as it is may be, running your A/C adds extra strain to the engine. The engine does the additional job of powering the A/C compressor. True, there are times using the A/C is inevitable; but always turn it off when not in use. The same applies to turning on your wipers; no need to turn them on fully simply because it’s drizzling. Rather, you can turn them on for a few seconds, then turn them off and continue driving.
13. The right car oil:
We have two main types of oils today in the market; conventional oils and synthetic oils. The choice you pick determines how efficiently your engine functions; good oil should improve the overall performance. Most automakers give detailed recommendations on the ideal kind of oil to use with certain cars; usually, after numerous tests are done. Desist from trying new oils that have not been used before in your car as this may cause friction and overheating on your engine. This doesn’t just mean more mileage costs, it’s just a matter of time before you find yourself in need of worn out engine spare parts.
14. Driving on high gear:
This is especially applicable when you’re driving a manual car. Driving on the highest possible gear for average speed means that you can cover the desired distance without subjecting the engine to additional load. For instance, rather than using the 3rd gear to sustain a speed of 40Mph, you can shift to the 5th gear and cover the same distance at the same speed; doing so helps you save up to 25% fuel. This isn’t rocket science; it’s all about driving on a high gear whereby the gear’s lower limit covers the distance you want effortlessly.
15. Refueling in the morning:
This is an interesting point, but worth your attention nonetheless. Fuelling your car in the morning has its own benefits; petrol stations bury their storage tanks deep underground. In the morning, petrol is dense but as the temp rises over the daytime it expands. Thus, whatever you fuel in the day the petrol already has expanded molecules; what you call 1 gallon in the morning may be slightly more than a gallon once the temps have gone up. Some studies show that you get 2.5% more petrol when fueling in the morning in temps of 59 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to someone fueling in the afternoon at temperatures of 95 Degrees Fahrenheit. You both pay the same price, but the one fueling in the morning has a slight advantage.