Gas Saving Best Practices
With the price of gas constantly remaining over $3 per gallon in most parts of the country, it seems like most people are tired of spending more and more of their paycheck on gas. While hybrid and electric cars continue to increase in popularity, there are still millions of Americans that require a gas-powered car for a plethora of reasons. Additionally, many people cannot afford to buy a new car and have to make due with a car that is paid off or that they are still paying off. If you can’t drive electric for whatever the reason may be, here are a couple of ways to squeeze the most out of every drop of gas you put into your car.
One of the best ways to increase miles per gallon is through ensuring that your car’s engine is functioning as efficiently as possible. This is done through routine oil changes, as engine oils become thicker with age, building up over time and making it more difficult for the engine to output power. This requires the car to use more fuel to put out the necessary power, killing MPG averages. Other lubricants, like transmission fluid, transfer case fluid, and differential fluid, should all be changed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, as all of these fluids can create engine buildup, making it more difficult for the engine to do it’s job.
Air filters are probably something that you do not think about too frequently but can put quite a ding in your MPG average. Engines require a great amount of air to remain efficient and avoid overheating, and, over time, the air filter gets clogged from road debris, bugs, dust and dirt, among other things. Again, making the engine’s job easier is going to pay off, as it isn’t going to waste as much gas just to get the job done.
Be sure that you are putting the correct fuel grade in your car, as this is less of a suggestion by the manufacturer and more of a best practice. While you may not want to pay and extra ten or twenty cents per gallon on gas, the payoff is well worth it. Not only will you usually achieve more miles per gallon because the gasoline is being optimized by the engine, but it is also better for the engine long term. The extra cents per gallon are worth saving more gasoline and treating the engine overall, saving on future repairs and maintenance in the long run.
In addition to engine conditions, carrying unnecessary weight also places unneeded burden your car that is adversely affecting its performance. Begin by taking all of the nonessential items out of your car, the heavier the better. While it may take a couple extra minutes a week, unloaded and loading heavy items that are used relatively infrequently like golf clubs, heavy cargo, bicycles, etc., can take extra strain off the engine in getting from point A to B and can noticeably affect your average MPG.
Tire pressure, while seemingly insignificant, also can affect the mileage per gallon that your car achieves. Make sure that the tires are properly filled to the PSI designated by the manufacturer, usually found in the owner’s manual, on the inside sill of the driver door, or on the inside of the gas tank door. If your car’s tires are deflated, more of the surface area of the tire is making contact with the road, making it more difficult for the car to coast. Conversely, if the tires are too inflated, less of the tire is touching the road, saving you some MPGs as the car can coast farther, but costing you more in tires, as this method causes premature wear and tear.
Changing driving habits is perhaps the best way to see your car’s MPG average increase dramatically. This means going easy on the throttle and avoiding sudden launches and unnecessary revving. Going the speed limit also helps achieve better mileage. If the car is going faster, it takes more gasoline to accelerate the car at higher speeds, so going the recommended speed limit can often save you gas. By the same token, avoiding stop and go driving will help boost your average MPG, as this sort of braking and accelerating absolutely kills any sort of efficiency.
Overall, there are tons of ways to increase our mileage without putting in much thought. Maybe we have become complacent with how much gasoline our cars use without looking for any sort of solution. Of course the best way to save is to convert to a hybrid vehicle if you’re totally opposed to electric cars, or to an electric car as the cost of electricity is pennies on the dollar when compared to the average cost of driving a gas powered car.
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