Who doesn’t like saving money? The fact is that gas costs money, and wasting this resource is the same as wasting money. It’s in your best interest to take reasonable steps to improve your gas mileage. The first step to getting better gas mileage is to understand what causes bad gas mileage in the first place. Once you get those points, you’ll know how to improve gas mileage and start saving money.
Check Mechanical Issues
If your car is getting bad gas mileage, the problem might be the car itself. Rather than trading it in and potentially taking on a bigger monthly payment, realize that some mechanical problems can negatively impact fuel mileage.
- Check the mass air flow sensor, which can get dirty over time. This device measures exactly how much air is flowing into the engine. The car’s computer then uses that information to decide how much gasoline to use. Replacing a bad sensor will provide more accurate airflow data, which in turn means that your car will run more efficiently.
- The spark plugs can also get dirty with regular use. A spark plug which is covered with carbon deposits and other gunk won’t combust gas nearly as well. This is harmful to efficiency. Replacing your spark plugs corrects the problem.
- Replace the air filter regularly. A dirty air filter literally chokes the engine, which ultimately means it consumes more gas. You should be swapping out the air intake filter periodically. Check your owner’s manual, or contact your dealer to learn the recommended schedule for your vehicle.
If you replace some parts and do these maintenance items, you’ll see improvements at the pump.
Is Your Driving Style Eating Gas?
Mechanical issues are one of the problems that can affect low gas mileage. How you drive will also play a part in how quickly you’ll need to get another fill up.
Aggressive driving is one of the causes of low gas mileage. This includes speeding, accelerating rapidly, weaving through traffic, and racing to red traffic signals. Basically, having a lead foot means your car drinks down the gas faster.
Fortunately, you can change your driving style to increase gas mileage.
- First off, stop speeding. Going the speed limit or below actually optimizes fuel consumption. If you speed because you’re always late, make some lifestyle changes so you leave earlier.
- Cruise more by keeping your foot off the accelerator and brake pedal as much as possible. It consumes more gas if you’re always pressing on one of those pedals, so break the habit.
- Get a driver feedback device. These plug right into the OBD II port in your car, and let you know if you’re doing anything that’s killing fuel economy. Some studies have shown these devices can boost fuel mileage by up to 10 percent.
How to Improve Gas Mileage By Removing Extra Burdens
Carrying too much weight also leads to bad gas mileage. The more weight in your car, the harder the engine must work all the time, which means that it burns more fuel. The solution is actually pretty simple: shed that extra weight and reap the savings.
Clean out your vehicle regularly. We often accumulate stuff in the trunk, cargo area, under the seats, in the glovebox, and sometimes even on the passenger seats. Books, clothes, workout equipment, garbage, and many other items can add up to a considerable amount of weight.
You can also improve your gas mileage when travelling outside of the city. When you go on trips, try packing lighter. You don’t need to take along everything but the kitchen sink, so don’t. Consider washing clothes if you’re going on a longer trip instead of packing enough for each day you’ll be gone. Some things you need can be purchased at your destination, which also cuts down on the weight you take along for the journey.
Remove bike racks, ski racks, roof pods, etc. when they’re not actively being used. Your vehicle might have roof rails you can’t remove, but the other stuff weighs a fair amount. If you don’t need to use them right then, store this stuff in your garage. These items also create quite a bit of wind resistance, which also hurts fuel mileage.
Follow these tips for better mileage, and see how much less often you must stop at the gas station to fill up.