Gas prices go up and gas prices go down, but one way you can guarantee you get the most miles for your mile is to make sure you are driving your car for maximum fuel efficiency. Follow these tips to improve your Miles Per Gallon.
Step 1: Measure Your Current Gas Mileage
While it seems obvious, many people don’t know how to measure their average gas mileage and fuel economy is a complete mystery. If you’re driving a recent model car, you probably have a display of your car’s gas mileage and while these are useful guides, they also tend to be inaccurate. To get a true measure of your vehicle’s gas mileage, you need to fill your tank until the pump cutoff and set your trip counter to zero. The next time you fill up, again fill the tank to the pump cutoff and importantly, make a note of how many gallons you put in as well as the trip counter reading. Divide one by the other to get miles per gallon (mpg). Zero the trip counter again and keep a note of the mpg calculation.
Each time you fill up, fill it to the pump cutoff, and make a note of the amount that went in and the trip counter reading, calculating your mpg each time. After a few fill ups, you should have enough calculations to determine your running average.
What Are You Driving?
A lot of people suffering from poor gas mileage think getting a new – or more fuel efficient – car is the answer. That may be the answer – but do your homework first. Determine how much you could get for your existing car versus what you’ll pay. If fuel efficiency is the only reason to go this route, you may lose money unless you keep the new car for 5 years or more. Better fuel economy will mean that the day-to-day running expenses will be less once you’ve got the new car. But think about it – the initial outlay is huge in comparison.
Lighten Your Foot
So simple anyone can do it and yet so few of us do. Did you know your gas mileage can drop off as much as 15% between driving at or below 65mph and driving above 65? Yep. We all love speed, but would you rather enjoy good fuel economy or get to your destination marginally faster? Driving slower will improve your mpg.
Lower Your Octane
Far too many drivers use the wrong gas for their vehicle. Unless your owner’s manual specifies premium or mid-grade gasoline, you’re throwing money away. If you have a high-compression engine, then you may need higher-octane gas to assist with the ignition process. But if you don’t higher octane gasoline won’t help and may harm your engine. Use the lowest grade gasoline for most engines to save at the pump and give your car the best opportunity for efficiency.
Check Your Pressure
You should do this anyway. Low tire pressure will increase the rolling resistance of the tire on the road and that will be robbing your fuel efficiency. Verify your tires are at the correct PSI to ensure your maximizing their efficiency.
Get Rid of The Roof Rack
Unless you’re headed away for a weekend getaway with your family, take the roof rack off your car. It will increase the aerodynamic drag of your vehicle and more drag means more power is required to overcome it. If you’re not using it, take it off.
Change Your Air Filter
The air filter keeps the dust, dirt and other debris in the air from getting into your engine. And if it’s doing its job right then it is getting clogged up itself. As it does its job, it makes it harder for clean air to get to your engine. This reduced airflow means the engine management system has to increase the ignition mixture, adding more fuel to keep the engine running. A lot of us overlook this filter but it is easy to replace. Go out to your local auto parts store and get the right replacement filter.
Change Your Oil And Filter
It won’t make a dramatic improvement in your mileage performance, but it will help and it will ensure your engine is running smooth and clean.
Get New Sparkplugs
Spark plugs work in a very unfriendly environment. If it’s been more than 30,000 miles since you changed yours, it’s high time. Fresh plugs with no carbon deposits will help your vehicle run efficiently.
Clean Your Fuel Injectors
To clean your fuel injectors, you need to have them removed and put through an ultrasonic bath. This will remove any carbon deposits that are stuck on the injectors and allow them to deliver a more fuel-air mix to your engine. If your injectors have never been cleaned or you have more than 60,000 miles on them, you should consider getting them cleaned professionally.
Pro Tip: Remap Your ECU
This one isn’t cheap but may be worth checking out. Remapping your engine management computer would normally be done to improve performance but you can also go the other way and downgrade performance to improve gas mileage.
If you follow the above consistently, you can see an improvement up to 15% in overall fuel efficiency. Over an average year of travel, that can mean as much as $400 in savings or more.