“How Can You Get the Best
Fuel Economy Out of Your Car?”
These days, one of the most valued aspects of a car is its fuel economy. Gas can be expensive, and alternatives to our limited supply are still even more expensive. Car companies continue to focus more on saving as much fuel as possible – but still we wonder, “How can I get the very best of my car’s fuel capabilities?” The answer may be simpler than you thought. Here’s ten tips to increase your car’s fuel economy.
Depending on the Vehicle
Every vehicle is different – they all drive differently, they all handle differently, they all use fuel differently. Older cars tend to use more fuel than newer cars. Bigger vehicles – such as trucks and SUVs – use more fuel than smaller vehicles – such as sedans and motorcycles. Get to know your vehicle and how much fuel it uses.
1. Calculate Your Mileage
Before you can be sure that you’re saving fuel or not in the first place, you need to know how much fuel you’re using. Fill your tank to full, and check how many miles are on your car. Reset your trip meter and drive until you use up a quarter tank. Divide the miles over the gallons used – for example, my car has a 20-gallon tank, so one-quarter of the tank is five gallons. It takes me about 85 miles to use up 5 gallons, so I get about 17 miles per gallon (around town). Once you’re sure of how much gas your vehicle uses up, you’re ready to start saving.
2. Drive Conservatively
One of the easiest ways to save fuel – so easy that you may not have realized you’re already doing it – is to drive conservatively. Don’t start up quickly or slam your brakes; don’t rev your engine; don’t drive erratically. All of these help you save gas by putting less strain on your engine. The laws of the road not only exist to prevent accidents and ensure people drive safely, but they also inadvertently save you gas.
3. Lighten the Load
It’s as simple as it sounds: lighten the load on your car. If you’re constantly lugging around heavy baggage in your trunk that you don’t need, then your car weighs more than normal, and is using more gas than normal. More weight = more strain on your engine. When there’s more strain on your engine, it has to work harder to pull the vehicle – which, in turn, uses up more gas. Chances are, you probably don’t need that camping equipment when you’re driving around in the city.
4. Follow the Speed Limit
Yes, speedsters, this does still apply to you. Speed limits exist for a reason. It’s a proven fact that driving at higher speeds results in a lower gas mileage. The U.S. Dep. of Energy states that “mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.” So, as much as you may want to speed on an empty road, just remember that it’s costing you more fuel.
5. Check Your Tire Pressure
If your tires are underinflated, your gas mileage will decrease. The tires will cause more drag, making your engine pull harder. The difference in mileage isn’t much at first – about 0.3% per one PSI in all four tires – but even a marginal increase in your fuel economy is better than nothing at all. Plus, keeping your tires properly-inflated in Phoenix increases their lifespan and makes driving safer for everybody involved.
6. Use Cruise Control (When it’s Smart)
Maybe you don’t use cruise control on shorter commutes, because your foot doesn’t get tired within 30 minutes. Maybe you don’t use cruise control in short commutes because there’s more stoppage involved than an hours-long trip on the highway. But, Phoenix cruise control really does help your gas mileage. When your cruise is on, it keeps your car at a steady speed. Duh – but when your car is at a steady speed, it’s using the same amount of throttle the whole time, instead of constantly shifting in throttle. However, using cruise control when you’re going up or down hill may not be the best choice, because you’re using an unnecessary amount of gas that way.
7. Uphill and Downhill Driving
You probably earned early on that driving uphill uses more gas than driving on a flat surface; but, there’s still ways to save som gas when you’re making that climb up the mountain. In fact, some of the earlier tips will help out a lot here. The effectiveness of these tips will also vary, depending on the grade of the hill you’re driving on. Driving slowly – taking the climb slower instead of gunning it will obviously take longer, but your car doesn’t have to work as hard on the mountain and will use less fuel that way. Shed weight – a lighter car = an easier climb. Think of rolling an shopping cart uphill vs. rolling a full shopping cart uphill – you don’t have to push as hard to get the empty cart uphill. On top of all that, the drive downhill can actually make up for the lost gas.
Done the right way, you can use hardly any gas when going downhill. Once you get your car up to speed, you can let of the gas and control as needed with brakes – the car’s weight will pull it down hill. The coasting will save you tons of gas, and in some cases might even trick your gas meter into going up instead of down. Chances are that your car’s best mileage ever will come out of a downhill coast.
8. Try Not to Idle
I get it, traffic happens. You pull up to an intersection, and right before you get there, the light turns red. You’re stuck, waiting for the other side to get through. But, even when your car is sitting, the engine is still running. When the engine is running – regardless of whether or not you’re moving – you’re using up gas. If you know you’re going to be waiting for more than a minute, you might want to turn off your engine. Your traffic neighbors may not be happy at you for having to restart your car once the light turns green, but starting up your car again takes up less gas than having it idle.
9. Use the Right Fuel
Using your car’s recommended fuel keeps your engine in better shape. If you’re using lower-octane fuel, such as 85, your engine can become damaged and run worse. An engine that doesn’t run well causes more problems, which can result in damaged parts and a lower gas mileage.
10. Check for and Replace Worn Parts
It may sound expensive, but making sure your car is in good shape can – and will – keep it running smoothly. If your car is falling into disrepair, it will run worse and can effectively ruin your fuel efficiency. Better to replace your faulty parts now than to end up spending more – both in repairs and gas – later on.
Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.