Driving

    Improving Your Car’s Miles Per Gallon

    Miles Per Gallong — True or False— Gas grows on trees?

    Answer: False. Just like money.

    So, if we have to be careful about how we spend our money because it doesn’t grow on trees, then we should do the same with gas.

    With gas prices not looking good these days, people are doing everything they can to make their gas stretch a little bit longer. You may think, well these few things won’t make that much of a difference. But what difference they do make matters, not only in your pocketbook, but gets you in a conservative state of mind.

    Other ideas and suggestions will then open up to you throughout your daily life. Aside from swapping parts on your car, a few simple things you can do are:

    1. Keep your car well maintained.

    Regular maintenance like changing your oil and air filter can affect your gas mileage significantly. Also, check your exhaust system, making sure there are no holes or leaks. Make sure your spark plugs are firing right, and are set to the right gap.

    2. Don’t carry around extra weight

    For every extra 100 pounds of weight, your car can drop your fuel economy by about 2%. That means take out all that stuff that you’ve been carrying around for the past 3 weeks in your trunk. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something of value back there.

    3. Keep the speed down

    At speeds over 55 mph, your gas mileage starts to decrease. In fact, the tests that the EPA does to determine gas mileage never exceed 60 mph. So if your car has an average highway mpg rating of 20, this is if you stay under 60. The fuel economy test car actually only averages about 48 mph. But on the flipside, avoid traffic jams, and running your car idle. Millions of gallons of gas are wasted everyday from idling cars stuck in traffic jams. A car idling for 60 seconds will use more gas then it takes to start it.

    4. Tire pressure

    Check your tire pressure next time you’re at the gas station and see if your tires are inflated to the manufacturers suggested PSI. Go get a tire pressure gauge if you don’t have one and make a habit of checking your psi. Tire pressure can affect your gas mileage if your tires are under inflated.

    5. Roll up windows or turn off the A/C

    A recent study showed that conserving gas by not using your air conditioner and rolling the windows down is only effective at speeds under 50 mph. Above 50 mph, the drag caused by having your windows down requires more power from your car then using the a/c. So in town driving, the window down is better, but on the highways, a/c is better.

    6. A lead foot is bad

    Unless you’re racing or very important and have somewhere to be, fast starts and quick stops are usually unnecessary. Not only that, but they too can cut down on your gas mileage. Easing your car along will save on gas, as well as other components of your vehicle.

    7. Engine block heaters

    If you live in a cold weather climate, the use of an engine block heater can increase fuel economy. The block heater helps the engine reach its peak operating temperature quicker, making the engine more efficient quicker.

    8. Proper planning

    By planning out where you are going first, then choosing the quickest or most direct route, you can save on the amount of miles you are putting on your car, and it will reflect directly on your mpg. Try making one trip instead of two, or choosing stores that are closer to where you will be going. This may seems tedious at first, but soon this will get you into the habit of cutting down on miles.

    Visit this website, www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drive.shtml for more insights into better fuel economy.