Car Ownership Basics- 7 Awesome Tips for Better Fuel Efficiency

With gas prices ever spiraling upwards, finding ways to ensure fuel efficiency has become an integral part of car ownership. If you’re worried about the price of gas, there are measures that you can take to ensure you spend minimally on fuel costs. For instance, do you follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule? Every car owner knows the importance of regular maintenance, but for some reason, people can’t seem to adhere to theirs. If you are one of the few who stick to a vehicle maintenance schedule religiously, then good for you.

Internet car forums are rife with questions about fuel consumption such as:

And the biggest question in many car owners minds:

  • “What are the ways to improve gas mileage?”

If you’ve been scouring the Internet for the answer to this age-old question, these tips will help you ensure you use every last drop of fuel in your tank efficiently:

1. Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Under-inflated tires burn more fuel because they increase your vehicle’s rolling resistance. According to studies, keeping your tires inflated properly can improve your gas mileage by 0.6 to 3.0 percent. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle can be found in your owner’s manual, glove box, or driver’s side door jamb. Though your tires display maximum allowable pressure, it’s best not to let the pressure reach that high.

2. Use Cruise Control

Most cars today are equipped with a cruise control function.  Using cruise control can improve fuel economy by helping you maintain a constant speed. That said, it’s best to limit your use of cruise control on flat roads. If you are driving on rough terrain, cruise control can make your vehicle speed up faster to achieve the preset speed, which can push the engine and make it consume more fuel.

3. Clean Air Filter Regularly

Air filter cleaning and replacement is a part of your vehicle maintenance schedule, but it’s a simple task that you can do yourself. Simply locate your car’s air filter, remove it from its container, and clean with a brush before putting it back in place. Clean your air filter once or twice a month depending on how heavy you use your car. By doing so, you can improve not only your vehicle’s fuel economy, but its acceleration as well.

4. Avoid Idling

Idling burns up to one gallon of gas per hour and increases the amount of harmful carbon dioxide gases you release into the air. If you own a fairly modern car, then you likely have an engine start/stop button. Turning it off when you’re stuck in traffic will help you consume less fuel than if you let your vehicle idle for extended periods.

5. Lighten Your Load

In stop-and-go traffic, weight can play a huge role in your fuel efficiency. Don’t lug around items you don’t need. If you don’t use your rear seats, remove them and store them somewhere in your garage. That way, aside from making your car lighter, you’ll also have more place for storage. You can also reduce drag by placing bulky items in the trunk instead of on a roof rack.

6. Pay Attention to Your Right Foot

Do you drive manual? Listen to your engine when you’re accelerating. If it sounds labored, then you’re stepping on the gas too much. For fuel economy, it’s generally best to remain between 1,500 and 3,000 rpms most of the time. Before the engine gets over its optimum rpm level, shift up to the next gear.

With regards to braking, consider doing it as less forceful as you possibly can. If you can see red lights on the car ahead of you, don’t speed up to them then hit the brakes hard to come to a full stop. Instead, start decelerating as soon as you see the car before you braking. Remember that it takes more work to brake abruptly than to slow down and stop.

7. Use the Recommended Motor Oil Grade

When it comes to the right oil to use for your car, trust its manufacturer. You can improve your gas mileage by as much as 2 percent by following your manufacturer’s grade recommendation. Also look for the “Energy Conserving” label on the API performance symbol. This tells you that the oil contains additives that reduce friction and prevent heat accumulation in your engine.

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