With gas prices expected to rise all throughout the year, drivers will have to be mindful of their gas mileage. Here are a few ways to spend less money on gas by increasing your car’s efficiency in using it.
1. Make sure you have properly inflated tires.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%. On average, your tires lose about 1 PSI per month, and when the tires are cold (e.g., in the winter), their pressure will decrease due to the thermal contraction of the air. For this reason, it’s proactive to check tires at least once a month.
Recommended inflation pressures are for cold tires; it is best to inflate first thing in the morning or you’ve driven less than two miles so your reading will be accurate. If you have been driving around for a while or it is hot outside, add 3 PSI. Inflate to the pressure recommended by your car’s manual or the sticker on your driver-side doorpost. Be aware that the reading stamped on the tire is the maximum tire pressure, not the recommended.
2. Keep your engine properly tuned.
A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency. Beware, though, that many tuners will disable efficiency measures when tuning for power.
- Be sure you are keeping good spark plugs in the engine, changing the oil on time, making sure the air filter is clean, etc.
3. Use the proper grade of motor oil.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve your gas mileage by 1%–2% by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Also, you can look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Above all, keeping a MPG log can help track your fuel economy by noting the odometer reading and the number of gallons purchased each time you fill up. To calculate your gas mileage, divide the number of miles traveled between fill-ups by the number of gallons purchased.
Most hybrid cars and even some conventional gas vehicles have special gauges that make it even easier to keep track of your fuel economy in real-time, so you can see how your driving habits are impacting your fuel efficiency.