15 Tips For Maxing Out Your MPG
Fuel Saving Tips To Deal With Record Breaking Area Gas Prices
ChicagoGasPrices.com has the average price of regular unleaded gasoline at $4.56 per gallon, 4 cents above the previous record set last year.
While AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report has city prices 2 cents higher than last year’s record at $4.67 per gallon and Chicago area prices (including the suburbs) are at a record $4.50 per gallon.
So, with local gas prices ranked as the most expensive in the nation, and more pain at the pump on the horizon with some experts expecting $5 a gallon gas soon as gas stations start selling the more expensive summer blend, The Expired Meter has some tips to maximize your mileage.
Drive Like Grandma
Grandma had it right according to the AAA and the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and excessive braking are all wasteful driving behaviors. Break out your blue haired wig and do your best Granny impersonation while behind the wheel and you can save you up to 33% on your gas usage.
Hey Leadfoot! Obey The Speed Limit!
According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, gas mileage decreases rapidly when vehicles exceed 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, it costs an additional 25 cents gallon for every 5 mph over the limit. In other words “follow the speed limit!”
Remove Excessive Weight From Your Vehicle
No, we’re not talking about kicking your mother-in-law to the curb. But if you have heavy tools, equipment, a bag of golf clubs, a dead body and/or a half-full keg of beer in your trunk from last weekend’s party, transporting this extra weight will cost you extra cash. Remove the junk from the trunk and get better mileage.
An idling engine is a wasteful engine. If you’re burning gas standing still, you’re getting 0 mpg.
Turn Off The A/C, Turn On The A/C
Running your air conditioning eats up gas quickly. Only run it if you have to. But driving with the windows open also increases gas consumption and in fact, is even worse than running the A/C. In other words, damned if you do, hot if you don’t.
Invest In A Tire Pressure Gauge
Sure, it may set you back 4 or 5 bucks, but a decent tire pressure gauge is necessary to keeping your tires properly inflated with the correct pressure. Under inflated tires increase your resistance and costs you more in gas. Plus properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
You can usually find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle on a decal in the driver’s side door jamb and/or listed in the owner’s manual in the glove box.
Buy The Good Motor Oil Ya’ Cheapskate!
Better, more expensive engine oils like synthetics or a standard motor oil with a friction reducing additive can improve fuel efficiency. At the very least use the grade of oil the manufacturer recommends for your engine. Don’t use 5W-30 when the owner’s manual ask for 10W-30.
Keep Your Engine In Tip Top Shape
Getting periodic engine tune ups can be expensive. But wasting gas because of an out of tune engine can be even more costly. Get your car in to a mechanic once a year for a proper tune up. And don’t hire your buddy’s cousin’s friend with the glazed expression on his face to do the job–hire a professional.
Get Organized, Plan Your Travel
Try to plan your driving so you’re not wasting gas and money traveling back and forth covering the same route a few times a day.
Blow Off Rush Hour
Come in or leave the office before or after rush hour. Less time in your car means less gas burned. What about tele-commuting some days? What’s better than working at home in your pajamas while watching those chicks from The View scream at each other?
Green Light, Red Light
Try to anticipate red lights. The less you stop, the better your gas mileage. Ease off the accelerator when the light ahead is red, safely speed up to catch the green when you can.
Avoid sprinting from red light to red light. In other words don’t drive like a dick.
Say NO To Topping Off The Tank
There’s a reason gas pumps have auto-shutoff valves–because overfilling can spill and waste gas.
Keep Your Gas Cap On Tight
Believe it or don’t, but allegedly according to Advance Auto Parts, “Improperly seated gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S.”
Highway Driving Tips
Don’t forget to use your cruise control and your overdrive gears when driving at higher speeds. Cruise control will even out your driving speed and when you use your car’s overdrive gears the engine slows down and wastes less gasoline. Consider removing unused luggage or bike racks to reduce drag on your vehicle.
Walking. Riding a bike. Take public transportation. Combine errands when possible and consider carpooling. Less driving = less spent on gas. Duh!
Editors Note: This column is a mild revision of a previous advice piece The Expired Meter posted when gas prices hit record territory in 2011.